Cape Breton Island

Barrack Park | Bras d'Or Post | Chapel Point Battery (1) | Coal Mine Battery | Fort Dauphin
Denys' Fort | Fort Dorchester | Fort Dundas | Fort Edward (2) | Edward Point Battery (2)
French Mine Blockhouse | Fort Gow | Fort Guillaume | Fort Guion | Kilkenny Barracks
Fort Lingan | Low Point Battery | Louisbourg Fortress | North Bar Battery | Fort Ogilvie (1)
Oxford Battery | Fort Oxford | Fort Petrie | Point Edward Battery (1) | Port Toulouse Fort
Fort Prince Edward | Fort Rosmar | Fort Ste. Anne | São João | St. Paul Island Radar Station
São Pedro | Fort St. Pierre | Sydney Battery | Sydney Defences | Sydney Mines Battery
Table Head Battery | Fort Toulouse | Fort William | Battery Wolfe

Nova Scotia Mainland - page 1 | Halifax Harbour - page 2

Last Update: 12/FEBRUARY/2017
Compiled by Pete Payette - ©2017 American Forts Network

NOTE: Cape Breton Island was formerly known by the French as Île Royale. Taken over and renamed by the British in 1763 (de facto 1758). Became a separate British colony from 1784 - 1820 when it was then consolidated with Nova Scotia.

St. Paul Island Radar Station
(1944 - 1945), St. Paul Island
The RCAF operated an experimental microwave early warning surface radar for anti-submarine defence. German U-boat tactics in 1944 had rendered the system useless. Located about 27km off the coast of Cape North. The peak of the island is about 145 meters (483 feet) elevation.

São João
(1521 - 1525), Ingonish
A Portuguese settlement or fishing village established by João Alvares Fagundas, with an undetermined number of colonists from northern Portugal and the Azores. Unknown if fortified. Said to have been abandoned after hostilities with native Amerindians and French/Basque fishermen.

Port Dauphin Forts
(1629 - 1745, intermittent), Englishtown
Once located here were the French Fort Ste. Anne (1629 - 1641) built by Nicolas Denys, later Simon Denys' Fort (1650 - 1659 ?), and Fort Dauphin (1713 - 1745). This was briefly the capital of Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) from 1713 to 1719. A new fort was planned in 1744, but it was never built. The town was renamed by the British upon capture in 1745. This was the first permanent European settlement on Cape Breton Island.
(thanks to Terry Deveau for providing info)

Bras d'Or Post
(1747 - 1748), Bras d'Or
A small British garrison was posted at Point Aconi to protect the local fishery and nearby coal mines. Attacked by the French in July 1748. A small fort or battery may have been built here, as cannonballs were discovered during a 1995 excavation.

¤ Colonial Defenses of Sydney Harbour

¤ Chapel Point Battery (1)
(1862 - 1870), near Sydney Mines
A six-gun (32-pounders) earthwork battery with two stone magazines and a one-story 25-foot square timber blockhouse on a masonry foundation, with loopholes and iron-sheathed doors. Practically abandoned after 1865, all stone and masonry from the site was later used for the foundation of a church in Sydney Mines. By 1930 the site was heavily eroded, the parapet ruins then being at the edge of the cliff. The site was leveled in 1940 for the WWII battery built nearby.

¤ Coal Mine Battery
(1759 - 1854), Sydney Mines
A British blockhouse and three earthwork batteries were built on the Spanish (Sydney) River near Indian Cove and Peck's Head to protect the coal mines from the local Micmac Indians and the French. Also known as the Sydney Mines Battery. The blockhouse was rebuilt in 1778 with a four-gun battery. A six-gun battery was built in 1784 on Peck's Head. The blockhouse and exterior battery was rebuilt again in 1795 and renamed Fort Dundas, although that name vanishes from the records after 1804. Repaired in 1808. The blockhouse had four 4-pounder guns, and the exterior battery had four 12-pounder guns, which remained until at least 1815, with a garrison of 50 men. Reported in ruins after 1820, but the site was not officially abandoned by the military until 1854. The blockhouse still stood until 1863.

¤ Fort Edward (2)
(1793 - 1854), Edwardsville
A four-bastioned earthwork fort, located southeast of the tip of the point, originally known as Point Edward Battery (1) until rebuilt in 1813.

¤ Sydney Battery
(1783 - 1789), Sydney
A small earthwork at Battery Point, the first defended position guarding the newly founded city by American Loyalists.

¤ Barrack Park
(1785 - 1946/present), Sydney
A five-acre reserve at Battery Point (near present-day George and DesBarres Streets) established as the garrison headquarters of the colony. In 1793 two earthwork batteries were built for a total of 10 guns (Upper and Lower Batteries, named Fort Ogilvie (1)), but only two and four 4-pounders, respectively, were ever mounted. A powder magazine and gun shed were completed by 1808. The barracks burned down in 1816, rebuilt in 1817 for 80 men. New barracks were built in 1833. The various buildings were leased out in 1854 after the British Regulars left, and the grounds became a public park. The provincial militia retained use of a small parcel afterwards. About one acre fronting Charlotte Street was taken for the county courthouse in the 1870's. A new courthouse was built in 1913 on Charlotte Street near Dorchester Street. Barrack Park was renamed Victoria Park in 1897. In 1938 a 6-inch naval gun was emplaced inside the militia armoury for training purposes. It was relocated to Fort Petrie in 1939. The Fortress Headquarters was located here in 1940, with new construction of Officers' quarters, barracks, hospital, and mess hall. The Fortress Headquarters relocated to Kilkenny Barracks in 1946 (see below). The Canadian Forces Reserves still maintain a presence here at the armoury, renamed Fort Ogilvie (3) in 1999.

¤ Fort Prince Edward
(1794 - 1854), South Bar
Initially only a guardhouse and magazine. Known locally as Fort Gow or Fort Guion. A blockhouse was built in 1813, demolished in 1862. The actual spot of the post has since been eroded away.

Sydney Harbour in WWII Memorial Photos from Nova Scotia's Electric Scrapbook
Harbor Defence of Sydney - FORT WIKI

¤¤ Oxford Battery
(1944 - 1953), Alder Point
Originally to be built at Oxford Point, but moved to a more defensible location before construction began. Also referred to as Fort Oxford in some documents. Armed with three 9.2-inch MK15 guns on MK9 carriages, in three dispersed batteries, however the third gun was never emplaced before worked stopped in 1948. An AA battery (one 20mm Hispano gun) was also located here. A CDX fire-control radar tower was built in 1944. A fire-control observation post was located at Point Aconi. All gun emplacements have been filled in.

¤¤ Cranberry Point Battery
(1917 - 1919), near Sydney Mines
A WWI-era battery consisting of two 4.7-inch quick-firing guns on concrete mounts, with a concrete magazine and a wooden battery commander's post. One 4.7-inch field gun was moved here from Chapel Point (see below) in May 1917, with a third concrete mount built in August 1918. During WWII a fire-control observation post and two searchlights were located here, located within the WWI battery site. To the west was located the over-water Naval Anti-Aircraft Firing Range (1942 - 1943) for training naval gun crews.

¤¤ Chapel Point Battery (2)
(1914 - 1917, 1940 - 1948), near Sydney Mines
Located on the southern side of Lloyd's Cove, near Church Street and Amber Drive. In August 1914 two 4.7-inch field guns were emplaced in a temporary earthwork battery on the 120-foot ridge about 700 yards behind the point. They were removed in November 1915. In October 1916 one 4.7-inch field gun was re-emplaced on the 160-foot ridge behind the point. It was relocated to Cranberry Head (see above) in May 1917. In 1940 two 4.7-inch MK7 quick-firing guns were emplaced here, later replaced in 1944 with two 4-inch twin barrelled MK16 guns. This was the examination battery for the harbour defence. A four-story concrete fire-control observation post was also located here, disguised as a church. Three searchlight positions were also located here in WWII. Extensive concrete remnants still remain, including the FC tower. The site is now town property.

¤¤ Stubbert's Point Battery
(1939 - 1946), North Sydney
Located just east of the ferry terminal. Originally located on North Bar (North Bar Battery) one mile south until relocated in April 1941. Two 6-pounder Hotchkiss guns, later replaced by one 6-pounder duplex quick-firing gun in 1944, were located here. Three searchlights positions were here guarding the anti-submarine net and boom across to South Bar/Daly Point. In WWI this was also the location of the anti-submarine net and boom defence. Nearby was the Kelly Beach RCAF Station seaplane base (1940 - 1944), formerly the U.S. Naval Air Station, North Sydney (1918).

¤¤ Edward Point Battery (2)
(1939 - 1943), Edwardsville
A temporary position for two 4.7-inch quick-firing MK4 guns, located on the point. Two searchlight positions were here. Operated only in the summer months.

The Point Edward Naval Base was established in 1940, closed in 1960.

¤¤ South Bar Battery
(1939 - 1954), South Bar
Two 6-pounder Hotchkiss guns were located here, replaced by one 6-pounder duplex quick-firing gun in 1943. Three searchlights were located here near the eastern end of the harbour net and boom defence, located on Daly Point. The barracks burned down in 1944. No remains. A four-gun 3.7-inch AA battery was also here, south of the battery. In WWI this was also the location of the anti-submarine net and boom defence. NOTE: the 6-pounder duplex QF gun was later transferred to Fort Rodd Hill, British Columbia, where it is currently displayed.

¤¤ Kilkenny Barracks
(1939 - 1948 ?), near Victoria Mines
Initially known as the Fortress Fire Command Post, located on the high ground along Kilkenny Lake Road between Fort Petrie and South Bar. The provincial coast artillery brigade headquarters moved here from Victoria Park in 1940. The concrete bunker and observation post was built in 1942. The barracks here burned down in September 1943. The Fortress Command Headquarters relocated here in 1946 from Victoria Park, and the site was renamed.

¤¤ Fort Petrie (National Historic Site)
(1914 - 1919, 1939 - 1956), Victoria Mines
Two 4.7-inch quick-firing guns on concrete mounts were here in WWI. In May 1917 a 4.7-inch field gun was relocated here from Canso, and a third concrete mount was built in August 1918. During WWII two 6-inch MK2 quick-firing naval guns were here (permanent concrete mounts built in April 1940), replaced by two 4-inch twin barrelled quick-firing MK14 guns in 1944. A 6-pounder Hotchkiss gun was added in 1943. Two searchlights and the Naval Signal Station were here. A three-story concrete observation tower still stands, disguised as a steepled church. A CDX fire-control radar tower was built in 1944. The barracks burned down in April 1943. This was the WWII examination battery after 1943. This was the last active defence post for the harbour. The radar tower was knocked down in 1968. Site became a museum in 1991, owned by the Sydney Harbour Fortification Society. See also Canadian Register of Historic Places - entry #2

¤¤ Low Point Battery
(1918 - 1919), near New Waterford
Located east of the point. One 6-inch gun was located here in June 1918, removed in summer of 1919. Originally planned for two guns, the second was instead emplaced at Table Head (see below). During WWII this area was the site of the RDF fire-control radar for Fort Lingan. The Port War Signal Station was located at the Flat Point Lighthouse during WWI (1917 - 1918) and WWII.

¤¤ Fort Lingan
(1940 - 1948 ?), Lingan
The site is located about 1/2 mile north of the modern power plant along the shore. Three 6-inch MK7 quick-firing guns were emplaced in three dispersed batteries in 1941, along with one 20mm Hispano AA gun, with another 3.7-inch AA gun added in 1945. All gun emplacements have been filled in. A two-story fire-control concrete observation post still exists. The battery commander's observation post and plotting room was located in a one-story concrete structure. Wooden fire-control observation posts were also located in New Waterford and at North Head. A secondary Naval signal station was located in Scotchtown.

¤¤ Table Head Battery
(1918 - 1919), Glace Bay
A WWI location for one 6-inch gun, emplaced in August 1918, removed in summer of 1919. A concrete fire-control observation post for Fort Lingan was built here in 1942. The site is located near Marconi National Historic Site.

In August 1914 to November 1915, there was a timber blockhouse (infantry lookout post) built at the nearby cable station (aka Marconi Towers).

¤¤ ALSO: Two 4-inch (heavy) anti-aircraft guns were located in Westmount South in emergency concrete mounts from 1939 - 1942. Replaced by four 3.7-inch (heavy) AA guns in 1942, located at a new site about three miles southeast of the Point Edward battery. Also in 1943 four 3.7-inch AA guns were located on the west side of Cossit Lake, four 3.7-inch AA guns were located on Wireless Hill in North Sydney, four 3.7-inch AA guns were located in Jacksonville covering the North West Arm, and four-gun 40mm Bofors (light) batteries were located at the Sydney waterfront, the Sydney Airport, the steel plant area, and in Westmount South. The AA Command Post (1940 - 1945) was located at the original 1939 Westmount South heavy battery site. A large concrete reserve ammunition magazine (still extant) for the major batteries in Sydney Harbour and Canso Strait was built at Johnstown in 1942.

Fort William
(1747 - 1752), New Aberdeen / Glace Bay
A British fort built at Burnt Head to guard the nearby coal mines. Actually two blockhouses within a 100-foot square stockade with several other buildings (barracks and/or storehouses), with a 65-man contingent. The garrison was increased to 148 men upon completion. The French attacked a nearby mining settlement at Indian Bay (mostly Acadian workers who had sworn allegiance to Britain) in July 1748, but did not attack the fort. Renamed Fort Guillaume when Cape Breton reverted to French control in 1748. Destroyed by fire in 1752, part of a massive coal seam fire that did not burn out completely until 1764. The fort was never rebuilt. Site located near the New Aberdeen area of the municipality of Glace Bay.

French Mine Blockhouse
(1725 - 1745, 1758 - 1768 ?), near Port Morien
The French built a blockhouse on the north shore of Morien (Cow) Bay to protect coal diggings that were in operation since 1720. Abandoned when Louisbourg fell to the British in 1745. The British are not known to have posted any troops at the site after 1745, and French military presence at the site before 1758 is also unclear, but the mines were actively worked during this time. The British returned and built a blockhouse in 1758, with a 100-foot square stockade with barracks and storehouses. The post was apparently abandoned before 1770, as coal was now supplied from the new mines at Sydney. Local smugglers (including some from Massachusetts) continued to illegally dig for coal, and troops were sent in May 1770 to evict the trespassers and seize what coal had already been dug and prepared for shipment. Provincial monument (erected 1930) north of town marks the location of the "French Mine", now a provincial protected site since 2006. The town (settled in 1786) was originally named Cow Bay until 1895.

Fort Rosmar
(1629), Baleine
An early Scots fort that was destroyed by the French out of Fort Ste. Anne at present-day Englishtown. There were 60 colonists here led by James Stewart, Lord Ochiltree. The French then built a new fort nearby, with a 40-man garrison.
(thanks to Terry Deveau for providing location)

Fortress of Louisbourg (National Historic Site)
(Louisbourg Institute)
(1719 - 1760), Louisbourg FORT WIKI
The town was first settled by the French in 1713. The Forteresse de Louisbourg was built to serve as a base to guard the entrance to the St. Lawrence River and Québec City. This was the capital of Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) from 1719. The King's Bastion was the first section built, from 1719 to 1727, and served as the town's citadel. The Dauphin Bastion was started in 1728. The Queen's Bastion and the Princess Bastion were started in 1731. The Brouillan, Maurepas, and Pièce de la Grave Bastions were started in 1737. The fortress was essentially completed in 1743. The Royal Battery (52 guns) was built on Battery Point between 1724 and 1732, and the Island Battery was built on Battery Isle between 1726 and 1731, modified in 1734 (39 guns). Colonial forces from New England and the British Royal Navy captured first the Royal Battery and then the fortress town in 1745 after a long naval bombardment, but gave it back in 1748 as per the terms of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. The French then built a shore battery in 1754 at Rochefort Point, and field works in 1757 at La Comorandière (Kennington Cove) to help ward off future British attacks. However, the fortress fell to the British again in 1758. The British had built a seige battery at Lighthouse Point during the assault. The second lighthouse there was built in 1734, destroyed by cannon fire in 1758. See also Wolfe's Landing Historic Site at Kennington Cove, from the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Much of the old fortifications were then totally destroyed in 1760 - 1761. A Citadel Blockhouse was built in 1761 to serve the British garrison. The British troops left in 1768. One quarter of the original fort (the Dauphin and King's Bastions) was faithfully reconstructed beginning in 1961, and continues today. It is the largest historical restoration project in all of North America.


¤¤¤ Battery Wolfe
(1943 - 1945), Louisbourg
This battery was constructed at Lighthouse Point, west of the Louisbourg Lighthouse (built 1924), to guard the harbour, which was designated as the alternate port to Sydney Harbour during WWII. There was a ship repair yard and an important coal depot to protect. Two 18-pounder field guns were emplaced here on concrete mounts. Two searchlights were also emplaced. This post only operated in the winter months, as the harbour was usually ice-free, unlike that of Sydney.

A Chain Home Low early warning air defence radar operated by the RCAF was also located in this vicinity in 1942.

In August 1914 to November 1915, there was a timber blockhouse (infantry lookout post) with trenchworks built at the nearby trans-Atlantic cable station (in operation from 1913 - 1927).

Fort St. Pierre
(St. Peter's Canal National Historic Site)
(1630's - 1669), St. Peter's
A small fortified settlement involved in the French fur trade. Nicolas Denys took possession of the fort in 1650. It was destroyed by fire in 1669. The ruins are now buried in the garden of the St. Peter's Canal Lockmaster’s House (built 1876). Of interest in town is the Nicolas Denys Museum, located at 46 Denys Street (admission fee). See also History of St. Peter's from Village of St. Peter's

Portuguese settlers or fishermen established a seasonal settlement or fishing camp here in 1521-25, known as São Pedro. Unknown if fortified.

Fort Toulouse
(Battery Provincial Park)
(1715 - 1745), St. Peter's
The Port Toulouse settlement was established by the French in 1713, located east of Fort St. Pierre. A small six-gun fort was built on the shore in 1715. A larger fort was built in 1734. Both the settlement and the fort were destroyed by the British in 1745. The settlement was re-occupied by the French in 1748 until 1758. The rebuilt village was stockaded, but the fort itself was not rebuilt.

Fort Dorchester
(Battery Provincial Park)
(1793 - 1798), St. Peter's
Located on the summit of Mount Granville. A square redoubt with 15 embrasures, although only eight or nine guns (2-pounders) were ever emplaced. Garrisoned by 50 men. It was built to divert French attacks away from Sydney, protect the local fisheries, and intimidate the recently returned Acadian population on Isle Madame. Ruins remain.

Special thanks to Robert D. Zink of the Coast Defense Study Group for providing gun data on the Coast Artillery Defences of Sydney Harbour.

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