The Government of Canada Recognizes the National Historic Importance of Signal Hill
December 21, 2017 St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Parks Canada Agency
Canada’s national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas enable Canadians to experience their rich and varied history in a special way. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government of Canada invited Canadians to experience nature and learn more about our history.
The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Associate Minister of National Defence, and Member of Parliament for St. John’s South—Mount Pearl, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, today commemorated the importance of Signal Hill as a place of national historic significance. The special Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada ceremony was held in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, at Signal Hill National Historic Site.
The Government of Canada is committed to connecting Canadians to the significant people, places, and events that contributed to our country’s diverse heritage. With the summit reaching 167 metres, Signal Hill offers a commanding view of the Atlantic Ocean, St. John’s and the Narrows – the channel through which all ships entering St. John’s Harbour must pass. Signal Hill has played an important role in Canada’s communications and defence history. For centuries, Signal Hill’s fortifications defended St. John’s from attack during a number of conflicts, including the Second World War, when the city was established as a major defence point and naval convoy base for the Battle of the Atlantic. It was also atop Signal Hill in 1901 that Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless transmission, a landmark achievement in global communications history.
This year marks the centennial of national historic sites. Parks Canada invites Canadians to be inspired and captivated by the stories of the people, places, and events that shaped the Canada of today.
“Since the 17th century, Signal Hill has played a vital role in the defence of Canada in major world conflicts, including the Seven Years War and the Second World War. It is also the spot where the first transatlantic signal was received, ushering in the era of wireless communications worldwide. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, our Government is proud to commemorate the national historic significance of Signal Hill. All Canadians should take the opportunity to learn more about Signal Hill and its important role in both Newfoundland and Labrador's and all of Canada's history.”
The Honourable Seamus O’Regan,
Minister of Veterans Affairs, Associate Minister of National Defence, and Member of Parliament for St. John’s South—Mount Pearl
“I am very proud to commemorate Signal Hill for its national significance as a major defence point and communications site in Canada. With its first defensive batteries constructed in the 1660s and having played a role in communications since 1704, Signal Hill contributed to the Canada we know today for over three centuries. I encourage all Canadians to learn more about the places that have shaped our rich culture and history – in 2017 and beyond.”
Member of Parliament for St. John’s East
Signal Hill has been important for Canada’s defence and communications for over three centuries. Today, it is a major tourist attraction as Newfoundland and Labrador’s most visited national historic site, and is recognized nationally as one of Canada’s most iconic places.
A flag signalling and communications post has existed on Signal Hill since at least 1704. Ships approaching the Narrows used flags to identify themselves to signalmen on the Hill. Since then, successive signalling stations filled the role; the last being Cabot Tower which remained in use until 1958.
Today, the firing of the Noon Day Gun, which dates back to at least 1842, continues to evoke the historical role of Signal Hill in communications and defence.
Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people, and events that have marked Canada’s history.
Public Relations and Communications Officer
Eastern Newfoundland Field Unit
Parks Canada Agency
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