Signal Hill National Historic Site of Canada
Signal Hill rises above the entrance of St. John's harbour and because of its strategic location, was a natural site for a signal station and fortifications protecting the harbour and city below.
As early as 1704, flag signals were flown from the summit of Signal Hill to inform St. John's of approaching ships, both friendly and hostile. In 1762, English and French forces fought the last North American battle of the Seven Years' War on Signal Hill and later, the British military fortified the summit as a citadel for the city. When the military withdrew in 1870, the Newfoundland government turned the vacant barracks into hospitals. It was in one of these, on the summit of Signal Hill, that Guglielmo Marconi made communications history when he received the first transatlantic wireless signal in 1901. Cabot Tower, first proposed in 1896 and opened officially in 1900, was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's voyage of discovery. It was the location of the last signal station - in Canada. Signal Hill stands today as one of the province's best known landmarks.
Signal Hill National Historic Site offers the visitor numerous ways to explore and enjoy the rich history of the area. In Cabot Tower, an exhibit explains the communications story with emphasis on Marconi's achievement. During the summer, the Society of Newfoundland Radio Amateurs operates an amateur radio station from its second floor. A gift shop operated by the Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, is located on the first floor. Cabot Tower offers a spectacular panorama from its viewing platform.
Along the perimeter of the 19th -century fortification, the Lookout Trail offers an interpretive walkway featuring display panels on the rich history of Signal Hill, St. John's and Newfoundland.
From early July to mid-August, the Signal Hill Tattoo performs historic military exercises in the uniform of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment who were stationed in St. John's circa 1800.
The site also features walking trails and picnic facilities.