Vancouver Island

Albert Head Battery | Amphitrite Point Radar Station | Cape Scott Radar Station
Christopher Point Battery | Coal Harbour Battery | Fort Defiance | Esquimalt Post
Ferrer Point Radar Station | Jordan River Radar Station | Jordan River WWII Defences
Kiix'in Indian Fort | Mary Hill Battery | Macaulay Point Battery | Nanaimo Bastion
Patricia Bay WWII Defences | Port Hardy Battery | Fort Rodd Hill | Fort Rupert
Fort San Miguel | Santa Cruz de Nutka | Signal Hill Battery | Songhees Indian Fort | Sooke
Tofino WWII Defences | Ucluelet WWII Defences | Fort Victoria
Victoria-Esquimalt Defences | Work Point Barracks | Yorke Island Battery

Southern British Columbia - page 1 | Northern British Columbia - page 3

Last Update: 08/JUNE/2010
Compiled by Pete Payette - ©2010 American Forts Network

NOTE: Vancouver Island was a separate British colony from 1851 until 1866 when it merged with British Columbia.

§ COAST ARTILLERY DEFENCES, VICTORIA - ESQUIMALT HARBOURS
Fifth Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery Museum
Defending the Coast from CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum
Harbour Defence of Victoria - FORT WIKI

§ Christopher Point Battery
(1941 - 1944), Christopher Point, south of William Head
Two American-made 8-inch M1888 railway guns dismounted on M1918 barbette carriages were located here, as well as an AA battery. American crews provided technical support only. Battery site still exists, but no public access. Located at the Rocky Point Naval Establishment. The battery employed an independent U.S. system of range finding, using its own plotting room with base-end stations at Church Hill (still extant) and Beechey Head.

To the west at Church Hill was also the Naval Port War signal station (still extant).

§ Mary Hill Battery
(1939 - 1956), Mary Hill, near William Head
Three 6-inch MK24 guns on MK5 mounts, an observation post, and a searchlight were located here, as well as an AA battery. Two additional searchlights were located on William Head itself. In 1942 new mounts were installed which allowed for greater firing range. Site still exists, but no public access (DND property, CFB Esquimalt).

§ Albert Head Battery
(1939 - 1956), Albert Head, near Metchosin
Three 9.2-inch MK10 guns on MK6A mounts, and two searchlights, were located here. Two of the guns were transferred from Signal Hill Battery, and the third gun was added in 1944. An AA battery was also here. This site was also used as a lookout post since 1878 for Macaulay Point and other batteries. Site still exists, no public access. Located at the Albert Head Naval Training Centre, CFB Esquimalt.

In 1942 the Victoria-Esquimalt Fortress Command Post was moved from Mary Hill to Triangle Mountain, just north of Albert Head, and was also used as a battery observation post for Albert Head Battery. It was demolished in 2011 when the hill was leveled for a new housing development.

§ Fort Rodd Hill (National Historic Site)
(1893 - 1956), Fisgard Point, near Esquimalt FORT WIKI
This fortress features underground magazines, a command post, barracks, artillery stores, and three gun batteries: Upper Battery, Lower Battery, and Belmont Battery. The Lower Battery (1895 - 1942) had two 6-inch MK6 guns on MK4 disappearing carriages. Also here is a 6-inch quick-firing naval gun (1923 - 1940). A 40mm AA gun was on the #1 gun position in WWII. The Upper Battery (1895 - 1941) had one 6-inch MK6 gun (still here) on a MK4 disappearing carriage (no longer exists). Belmont Battery (1900 - 1956) is an Anti-Motor Torpedo Boat battery that had two 12-pounder MK1 quick-firing guns. In 1944 both guns were replaced with one twin-barrelled 6-pounder MK1 gun that had a higher rate of fire. It was removed after the war. The 12-pounder gun now on site came from the Royal Canadian School of Artillery, CFB Shilo, Manitoba, on loan to Parks Canada since 1975. The twin 6-pounder gun now on site originally came from South Bar Battery (1943 - 1954) in Sydney, Nova Scotia. A rangefinder tower is also located at Belmont Battery. Another 40mm AA gun was also located in the fort in WWII. The WWII Fortress plotting room and two searchlight positions (#1 and #7) are here. The Fortress Observation Posts associated with the plotting room were located at Church Hill (Smythe Head), Mary Hill (William Head), Albert Head, Triangle Mountain, Signal Hill, Gonzales Hill (Walbran Park in Oak Bay), and at Mount Tolmie. Only the FOP at Gonzales Hill is still extant. A unique feature of Fort Rodd Hill is evident with the rear-facing concrete walls with rifle-slits at both the Upper and Lower Batteries. A harbour boom defence and an anti-submarine net were located here between Fisgard Point and Duntze Head in WWII. Admission fee. The Fisgard Lighthouse was built in 1859, making it the first permanent lighthouse on the Canadian Pacific coast.

§ Duntze Head Battery
(1893 - 1945), Duntze Head, Esquimalt
Two 12-pounder quick-firing guns and two searchlights were located here from 1893 - 1938. In 1939 they were replaced with one 6-pounder twin quick-firing gun and one searchlight. A 75mm gun was temporarily here before the 6-pounder was emplaced. The harbor mine command was here 1900 - 1905. No public access except by guided tour of base.

§ Black Rock Battery
(1893 - 1956), Esquimalt
Two 12-pounder quick-firing MK1 AMTB guns were located here. One searchlight was located here in WWII. The guns were transferred to Golf Hill Battery in 1940 but were later replaced. In 1956 the battery became a Naval training battery with two 3-inch gun turrets. Site still exists, but no public access except by guided tour of base.

§ Brother's Island Battery
(1878 - 1893), Esquimalt
Located here were three rifled muzzle-loading guns, providing part of the first defence for Esquimalt Harbour. No public access. Nearby was a British sailors cemetery prior to 1889.

§ Signal Hill Battery
(1899 - 1938), Esquimalt
Two 9.2-inch MK10 guns on MK5 mounts and a Fire Command observation post were located here. The guns were transferred to Albert Head Battery. In 1939 - 1945 this was the headquarters of the 5th B.C. Coast Brigade. The battery still exists, but no public access.

§ Macaulay Point Battery
(Macaulay Point Park)
(1878 - 1956), Esquimalt
Three rifled muzzle-loading guns were located here in 1878 - 1893. They were replaced with three 6-inch MK6 guns on MK4 disappearing carriages, two of which were removed in 1924 and replaced with two 6-inch quick-firing MK2 naval barbette guns. In 1938 the third DC gun and the two naval guns were replaced with two 6-inch MK7 guns on MK2 mounts until 1948. Two AA guns were here in 1942. The battery is still extant, and is now a city park. Two WWII searchlight positions were nearby at Saxe Point and Harrison Point. At Saxe Point, now a public park, the base of the concrete searchlight structure forms the end of a railed lookout at the west side of the park and the interior of the concrete foundation of its small generator building (located to the east of the lookout) is used as a flower bed.

§ Golf Hill Battery
(1940 - 1944), Esquimalt
Two 12-pounder quick-firing AMTB guns were located here, transferred from Black Rock Battery. A searchlight position (two lights in separate concrete emplacements) was located nearby at McLoughlin Point. The battery still exists, but no public access. The two searchlight emplacements still exist (no public access, but can be viewed at close range from adjacent public land).

§ Work Point Barracks
(1878 - 1956/present), Esquimalt
The Garrison and Fortress Command Headquarters for the entire harbour defence was located here at Work Point. The site is now the Naval Officer Training Centre for CFB Esquimalt. On display on the grounds of the Barracks area is a WWII-era British MkIII QF 3-inch 20 cwt anti-aircraft gun, once used in the defence of the Victoria - Esquimalt area.

§ Ogden Point Battery
(1939 - 1943), Victoria
Also known as Ogden Pier Battery. One 6-pounder twin quick-firing AMTB gun was located here, which had replaced an earlier 12-pounder AMTB gun in 1944. This battery was previously emplaced as the Breakwater Battery in 1939.

§ Victoria Point Battery
(1878 - 1893), Beacon Hill Park, Victoria
Two naval rifled muzzle-loading guns were located here, providing part of the first defence of Victoria Harbour. Two searchlights were located nearby at Holland Point during WWII.

§ Finlayson Point Battery
(1878 - 1893), Beacon Hill Park, Victoria
Two naval rifled muzzle-loading guns were located here. During WWII two searchlight positions were located at nearby Clover Point.

§ NOTES: The Esquimalt Naval Base and Dockyard (established in 1855) and its defences were under British control until 1906. A submarine mine field was planted in Esquimalt Harbour from 1900 - 1905. Trial Island was to have a three-gun 7.5-inch battery in WWII, but it was never built. Several batteries of the C.A. Defences of Victoria - Esquimalt were considered part of the joint US - Canadian Harbor Defenses of Juan de Fuca Strait. They were as follows: Christopher Point Battery, Mary Hill Battery, Albert Head Battery, and Macaulay Point Battery.

Special thanks to David Morgan and Robert Zink of the Coast Defense Study Group for providing info on the Coast Artillery Defences of British Columbia.
Also thanks to John Eckersley (CDSG) and Vic Stevenson for updates and corrections.


Esquimalt Post
(1843 - 1862, 1868 - 1876), Esquimalt
Originally the location of the Hudson's Bay Co. docks for Fort Victoria. The HBC docks were first opened for servicing the Royal Navy in 1843 and were expanded during the Crimean War in 1855. The Canadian Navy's HMCS Naden was originally the site of four wooden huts built by the HBC to house the Royal Engineers sent to Canada from 1858 to 1862 to survey the international boundary between the colony of B.C. and the United States. After completion of the survey, the huts were handed over to the Royal Navy, along with 10 acres of land (for use as a hospital). The Puget Sound Agricultural Company, an HBC subsidiary, began a farm operation in 1868. The British Royal Navy bought one acre for use as a cemetery in 1868, known as "God's Acre". Now the Veterans Cemetery maintained by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Songhees Indian Fort
(unknown dates), Victoria
A palisaded Indian village was once located here. No remains.
(info courtesy of Mike Clevan)

There are traces of earthworks located at Weirs (Taylor's) Beach, of First Nations origins, possibly connected with the Songhees fort.

Fort Victoria (National Historic Site)
(1843 - 1920), Victoria FORT WIKI
A Hudson's Bay Co. post, the site of which is at Bastion Square. Originally named Fort Albert during the post's first three months. See also History of the City of Victoria || PHOTO LINK

Patricia Bay WWII Defences
(1942 - 1945), North Saanich
Anti-aircraft batteries were located here to protect the military and civilian airfield (Victoria International Airport).

Sooke
(1790 - 1793), Sooke
A Spanish settlement that was abandoned to the British by treaty. It may have been fortified.

Jordan River WWII Defences
(1940's), Jordan River
Two 25-pounder guns were located here in field emplacements. Two additional 25-pounder guns were located to the east at Otter Point.

An RCAF Chain Home Low early warning air defence radar was also located in the vicinity in 1942.

Kiix'in Indian Fort (National Historic Site)
(1800 - 1890), near Bamfield
A palisaded Huu-ay-aht Indian village and stronghold was once located here.

Ucluelet WWII Defences
(1940's), Ucluelet
A two-gun 75mm AMTB battery and an AA battery were located here to protect the military seaplane base.

An RCAF Chain Home Low early warning air defence radar was located nearby at Amphitrite Point in 1942.

Fort Defiance
(1791 - 1792), Tofino
An American fur trade post. Some ruins possibly remain.

Tofino WWII Defences
(1942 - 1945), Tofino
Anti-aircraft batteries were located here to protect the military air base (present Tofino Airport).

Nearby on Radar Hill, south of town and west of the Tofino Airport, was the site of a WWII RCAF microwave early warning / ground control intercept radar station. Site is accessible by public trail.

Fort San Miguel
(Yuquot National Historic Site)
(1789 - 1795), Friendly Cove, Yuquot
A Spanish six-gun fort and trade post (Santa Cruz de Nutka) located on Hog Island in Nootka Sound built to defend their claim on the Northwest Coast against the Russians and British. British trader John Meares earlier had established a trading post here in 1788. The Spanish arrived in May 1789 and evicted Meares, then captured two British merchant ships in July 1789 (the "Nootka Incident"). After the construction of defences and barracks in April 1790, the 80-man garrison (mostly Mexicans) slowly declined over the few years due to the cold climate and illness. The post was abandoned in March 1795.
See also History of Friendly Cove from Vancouver Island.com

Ferrer Point Radar Station
(1942 - 1945), Nuchatlitz Inlet
An RCAF Chain Home Low early warning air defence radar was located here, on the western edge of Nootka Island at the southern entrance to the inlet.

Nanaimo Bastion
(1853 - 1862), Nanaimo
A Hudson's Bay Co. stockaded post built to serve as a company office, arsenal and storage facility, and in the event of enemy insurgency, a safe haven for English and Scottish coal miners and their families. It is the only known Hudsonís Bay Company fort that focused primarily on coal mining rather then fur trading. The post was sold to the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company in 1862. The blockhouse is well preserved, operated by the Nanaimo District Museum. The town was originally called Colvilletown until 1860. See also HBC Heritage || Canadian Register of Historic Places

Yorke Island Battery
(1914, 1938 - 1945), Yorke Island FORT WIKI
Two 4-inch naval guns were temporarily emplaced at Seymour Narrows in 1914. In WWII this was the examination battery for Johnstone Strait, armed with two 6-inch MK7 guns on MK2 mounts (originally from Stanley Park Battery, Vancouver), which had replaced two 4.7-inch quick-firing guns in 1942. The examination gun was a 6-pounder Hotchkiss gun. Two 40mm Bofors AA guns were here 1942 - 1945. Three searchlights were emplaced here. The gun emplacements and searchlight positions still remain. This battery protected the "backdoor" northern approach to Vancouver and Victoria. Located off of the northern shore of Hardwicke Island.
See also Yorke Island Revisited from the Campbell River Museum
May 2010 Blog entry by Catherine Gilbert on Kasha's Corner

Fort Rupert
(1849 - 1852/1867), near Port Hardy FORT WIKI
A Hudson's Bay Co. post built to exploit a local coal seam. Abandoned for Nanaimo in 1852. Operated as a private trade post thereafter until 1867.


§§ COAST ARTILLERY DEFENCES, PORT HARDY

§§ Port Hardy Battery
(1940's), Port Hardy
An anti-aircraft battery was located here to protect the military air base.

§§ Coal Harbour Battery
(1940's), Coal Harbour
A one-gun 75mm AMTB battery and an AA battery were located here to protect the military seaplane base and the "backdoor" to Port Hardy.


Cape Scott Radar Station
(Cape Scott Provincial Park)
(1942 - 1945), Cape Scott
An RCAF Chain Home Low early warning air defence radar was located here. The Cape Scott Lighthouse was built in 1960 (DND property, no public access).


Southern British Columbia - page 1 | Northern British Columbia - page 3

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