DescriptionReached from Duckworth St., Signal Hill rises 160 metres (525 ft.) above the narrow approach to St. John's harbor. Because of its strategic location, the area was the site of many battles between the English and the French for control of Newfoundland and Labrador and its fisheries. The British defeated the French in 1762 in the last battle between the two countries in North America.
Within the site is Cabot Tower, built to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's voyage to Newfoundland and Labrador. A city landmark, the tower contains an exhibit about the history of communications and signaling. In 1901 Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless message in a hospital near Cabot Tower.
Other points of interest are several batteries built during the 18th and 19th centuries, a reconstructed signal mast and 1860s barracks. A visitor center houses an exhibit about the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. A summer tradition since it was first performed as a centennial celebration in 1967, the Signal Hill Tattoo re-enacts military exercises performed by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of Foot. Noonday gun firings take place at the summit of Signal Hill July through August. Steep hiking trails traverse the site's outer reaches. Picnicking is permitted on the grounds.
Note: Visitors may encounter construction zones and limited services while the site undergoes infrastructure rehabilitation; phone ahead for updates. Allow 1 hour minimum. Visitor center and Cabot Tower daily 10-6, June 1-early Sept.; Wed.-Sun. 10-6, mid-May to late May; Sat.-Wed. 10-6, early Sept. to mid-Oct. Phone ahead to confirm schedule. Signal Hill Tattoo performances Wed.-Thurs. and Sat.-Sun. at 11 and 3, early July to mid-Aug. (weather permitting).
Admission to the park is free in 2017 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation. Otherwise, admission is $3.90; $3.40 (ages 65+); $1.90 (ages 6-16); $9.80 (family, maximum two adults and five children). Signal Hill Tattoo performance $10; $5 (ages 6-16); $25 (family, two adults and three or more children). For more information contact the Area Superintendent, Historic Parks & Sites/Newfoundland, P.O. Box 1268, St. John's, NL, Canada A1C 5M9; phone (709) 772-5367
The view of St. John's and the ocean belies Signal Hill's military past. Once the scene of many battles between the English and the French, the site includes a commemorative tower, several batteries built during the 18th and 19th centuries, an 1830s barracks and a reconstructed 0 mast.