Commencing with the founding of Halifax in 1749 and continuing through to the 20th century the Halifax Citadel served as the keystone of the extensive Halifax Defence Complex designed to protect the town and residents from land and sea attacks.
First built as a small redoubt with a guardhouse at the top of the hill overlooking the harbour the Citadel (officially called Fort George) underwent several major expansions through to 1856 (the fourth and present Citadel). With changes in weapons and military technology in the mid-late 1800s the role of Fort George evolved to become a command centre for other more distant harbour defensive installations as well as serving as a barracks. In the First World War it served as an internment camp for ‘enemy aliens’ and during the Second World War provided temporary barracks, signalling and central coordinating centre for the city’s anti-aircraft defences.
Surprisingly, given the number of European and North American conflicts over the centuries that impacted Halifax and Nova Scotia no enemy force has ever attacked the Citadel. Today, it is one of Canada’s most visited National Historic Sites welcoming visitors with the sounds and colours of the 1800s.