Canada’s Islands and the Military

Canada’s Islands and the Military

 3.1 The Geostrategic role of Islands

Since the 17th Century, Canada’s islands have been linked to French, British and Canadian Military activities. Below is a thematic classification of these islands, according to the multiple roles they have played and their place in Canadian military history. These examples include islands in the St. Lawrence axis, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of St. Lawrence .

Fortress Islands and defence structures:

  • Louisbourg, Isle Royale ( Cape Breton), Gulf of St. Lawrence, 1758
  • Fort Lévis , Chimney Island (Ontario), St. Lawrence River, 1760
  • Fort William Augustus, Chimney Island (Ontario), St. Lawrence River, 1760
  • Fort Haldim and, Carleton Island (New York), Thousand Islands archipelago, St. Lawrence River, American Revolution
  • Fortifications, Island of Montreal, St. Lawrence River, 1685
  • Fort of Sainte-Hélène Island, Montreal archipelago, St. Lawrence River, 1820-1830, 1849, Fenians’ Raid
  • Blockhaus, Chimney Island, (Ontario), Saint Lawrence River, War of 1812-1814
  • Martello Tower, Cedar Island, (Ontario), Thousand Islands archipelago, St. Lawrence River, Oregon Affair
  • Salaberry Island, St. Lawrence River, War of 1812-1814
  • Fort of Ile aux Noix, Richelieu River , 1759


Prison Islands:

  • Prisoner’s Island (or Arthur) St. Lawrence River, American Revolution
  • Sainte- Hélène Island, Montreal archipelago, St. Lawrence River, following the Rebellion of 1837-38 and World War II
  • Island of Montreal, St. Lawrence River (Pied-du-Courant Prison), War of the Patriots

Espionnage Posts:

  • Anticosti Island, Gulf of St. Lawrence, World War I and II
  • Ile d’Orléans, St. Lawrence River, World War I

Watch Posts:

  • Isle aux Chevreuils (Carleton Island), Thousand Islands archipelago, St. Lawrence River, Seven Year War
  • I le des Francs Tireurs, St. Lawrence River, War of 1812-1814
  • Grenadier Island, St. Lawrence River, War of 1812-1814

Assembly Posts:

  • Grenadier Island, St. Lawrence River, War of 1812-1814
  • Iles du Bic, St. Lawrence Island, Seven Year War
  • Hickory Island, Thousand Islands archipelago, St. Lawrence River, War of the Patriots
  • Island of Montreal and Ile Jésus, Montreal archipelago, Saint Lawrence River, War of the Patriots
  • Ile Sainte-Hélène, Montreal archipelago, American Revolution

Refuge for Deserters:

  • Thousand Islands archipelago, St. Lawrence River, War of 1812-14
  • Ile au Diable, Montreal archipelago, World War I

 

Military Camps:

  • Ile Perrot, Montreal archipelago, St. Lawrence River, French-Iroquois Wars, Seven Year War
  • Ile des Soeurs , Montreal archipelago, American Revolution
  • Ile d’Orléans, St. Lawrence River, Seven Year War

Neutral Areas for Peace Talks:

  • Isle aux Chevreuils (Carleton Island), Thousand Islands archipelago, St. Lawrence River, French-Iro quois Wars
  • Island of Montreal, St. Lawrence River, 1701, French-Iroquois Wars

Super Secret Research Stations

  • Grosse Ile, St. Lawrence River, World War II

  

3.2 National Historic Designations and Military History 

Battle of l’île-aux-Noix – Ile-aux-Noix, Quebec

Historic event, a reminder of the War of 1812 and the capture of American sloops Eagle and Growler, 1813
Designated in 1923; a plaque was dedicated in 1927

Battle of Signal Hill – Newfoundland

Historic event commemorating the final battle of the Seven Year War in North America, 1762
Designated in 1959; a plaque was dedicated in 1961

Beaumont-Hamel – Beaumont-Hamel

Site which stands as a reminder of the achievements, contribution, and sacrifice of Newfoundland during the World War I
Designated in 1996; a plaque was dedicated in 1997

Bois Blanc Island Blockhaus – Bois Blanc Island, Ontario

Wooden Blockhaus built in 1839 following the Rebellion of 1837
The site was designated in 1961

Montreal ’s Surrender – Montreal

The events surrounding Montreal’s rendering in 1760
Designated in 1952

Castle Hill – Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador

French and British fortifications dating back to the 17th and 18th century

Fort Amherst – St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Site of the 1777 fortification in the St. John’s harbour
Designated in 1951; a plaque was dedicated in 1970

Ile-Grassy Fort – Canso, Nova Scotia

Ruins of fortification dating back to the 18th century
Designated in 1962

Fort Lennox – Saint-Paul-de-l’île-aux-Noix, Quebec

Remarkable example of fortifications dating back to the 19th century
Designated in 1920; a plaque was dedicated in 1926

Fort McNab – McNab Island, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Fort built in 1889 to defend the Halifax harbour
Designated in 1965

Fort Rodd Hill – Colwood, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Fort built at the end of the 19th century to insure the defence of Victoria and Esquimalt
Designated in 1958; a plaque was dedicated in 1962

Fort St. Joseph – St. Joseph Island, Ontario

British military post on the western front during the War of 1812
Designated in 1923; a plaque was dedicated in 1928

Fort Townshend – St. John’s, Newfoundland and  Labrador

Headquarters of the Newfoundland Garrison, 1779-1871
Designated in 1951; a plaque was dedicated in 1953

Fort William – St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Headquarters of the Newfoundland Garrison, 1618-1779
Designated in 1923; a plaque was dedicated in 1926

Bridge Island/Chimney Island – Chimney Island, Ontario

Naval base in the War of 1812
Designated in 1936; a plaque was dedicated in 1937

Carbonear Island – Carbonear, Newfoundland and Labrador

A symbol of the defence efforts of British establishments against French attacks in 1697 and 1705
Designated in 1954; a plaque was dedicated in 1981

Georges Island – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Defence structure in the Halifax harbour; includes Fort Charlotte, which surrounds a Martello
Designated in 1965

Herschel Island – Herschel Island, Yukon Territory

The creation of a Mounted Police detachment in 1903; affirmed Canadian sovereignty in the western Arctic
Designated in 1972; a plaque was dedicated in 1975

Navy Island – Niagara Falls, Ontario

Archeological vestiges linked to ship building
Designated in 1921; a plaque was dedicated in 1928

American Military Presence on Newfoundland – Argentia

Commemorates American military bases on Newfoundland during the World War II
Designated in 1988; a plaque was dedicated in 1998

Canadian Military Presence on Newfoundland – Argentia

Commemorates Canadian military bases on Newfoundland during the World War II
Designated in 2000

Canadian Sovereignty in the Arctic Archipelago – Melville Island, Northwest Territories

Events linked to the exercise of Canadian Sovereignty
Designated in 1981

Cathcart Tower – St. Lawrence Islands Nation Park, Ontario

Stone fortifications of the British Empire dating back to the mid 19th century
Designated in 1989