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Setting: Military historic site, coastal views.
Facilities: Parking, washrooms, picnic tables.
Signage: Interpretive panels.
Open June 25 – Labour Day (September). Hours: 8am-8pm daily.
200-year-old fortifications in one of the region’s best #historic sites.
Coastal bluff overlooking Halifax Harbour entrance.
York Redoubt National Historic Site
York Redoubt is one of Halifax’s less busy but no less impressive pieces of history. The park is great for a family-friendly getaway with spectacular views of Halifax Harbour, McNabs Island, and the Atlantic ocean.
Like Point Pleasant Park, it was a key part of Halifax’s Harbour defence network built by the British to contest the French in 1793 through to its use as a German submarine defence station in World War 2. York Redoubt has been built, rebuilt and retrofitted for centuries, with the original stone being quarried from nearby King’s Quarry in the Purcell’s Cove Backlands.
A Crumbling Past
The walking trails go from the parking lot up to a lookout tower where you will have the best vantage point of the entire area. A claustrophobia-inducing tunnel connects the main upper part of the fort to the lower waterfront installations. The waterfront installations have been left in disrepair and are now closed, but the walking trail is still worth a stroll for some coastal scenery.
Everywhere you wander on this site of only a few hectares, you will see extensive military earthworks, buildings and huge cannons, all rooted in different eras of naval history. Most of the buildings are in poor repair and not open to the public, so most of your exploring will be from the outside. You get a good feel for the layout of the redoubt despite its crumbling state, and its huge naval guns are still a sight to behold. Today the same aspects that made it a valuable military outpost, make for great views of McNab’s Island and Halifax Harbour.
Aside from being a great spot to find the extensive information available about the site’s rich history, it also happens to be a fantastic place to enjoy the outdoors and take in some great views of the mouth of Halifax Harbour. There are plenty of great places to sit and watch the shipping traffic as it comes and goes from the vast Atlantic Ocean.
There are picnic tables and many benches to watch the shipping and boating traffic while the kids play in what I always viewed as the city’s greatest imagination adventure park when I was a child growing up in Halifax.
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