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Halifax’s Citadel

Stephen-R-Header(HALIFAX, NS) – The Halifax Citadel is hard to miss as it is perched atop the city, offering spectacular views in all directions. It is also a national symbol of Halifax’s role as a principal naval station in the British Empire.

It was completed in 1856 and is an excellent example of a 19th century bastioned fort, complete with defensive ditches, musketry gallery, powder magazines, and signal masts. The British occupied the Citadel until 1906 and Canadian forces occupied the fort in the two World Wars.

The fort was never attacked and, given the steep hill needed to be climbed to get to it, the carnage involved would be enormous. Not only that, even if the walls were successfully ascended the attackers are surrounded by musket galleries.

A real killing field.

Aerial view of Halifax Citadel.<br>Photo courtesy of Halifax Tourism/S. Robb.
Aerial view of Halifax Citadel.
Photo courtesy of Halifax Tourism/S. Robb.

When WW2 erupted in 1939, it was used as temporary barracks for soldiers being shipped off to Europe and as an anti-aircraft station.

The Citadel is operated by Parks Canada and is recognized as one of Canada’s most historic sites. Costumed guides lend authenticity to a visit.

From mid-May until the end of October staff are dressed in 1869 costumes helping interpret this historic site.

Also present during the summer are the 78th Highlanders, which are portrayed by highly trained historical re-enactment group, composed mainly of students, who put on various demonstrations and drills. There is also a museum covering WW1 to the present day.

For more information about the Citadel check online.

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