Built in 1796 by Captain James Straton, the Prince of Wales Tower is the oldest martello tower in North America. Under the direction of Edward, Duke of Kent, the structure was built to protect the English military from hordes of invaders coming from the sea to loot and plunder. As was the craze at the time, the stone tower was similar to many others built around Canada by the British military. Since the 1940s (1943 to be exact) the Prince of Wales Tower has served as a National Historic Site of Canada, but before then it was part of a larger defensive network used to protect Halifax.
The tower was originally constructed to allow for six mounted guns on the roof and a further four guns at the second story barracks level. Since it was designed to serve as a defensive post it was necessary that military guards could stay for weeks on end, and the 72 foot diameter meant that more than 200 soldiers could be accommodated at any single point.
Prince of Wales Tower Facts
- The Prince of Wales Tower is the last remaining of five Martello Towers built in Halifax.
- The Prince of Wales Tower is 26 feet high and is 72 feet in diameter.
- The Prince of Wales Tower was named after the future George IV of the United Kingdom by his younger brother Edward.
- The walls if the tower are 8 feet (2.4 m) thick.
- The roof is not original and was replaced in 2016.
- The exposed exterior of the Prince of Wales Tower is ironstone rubble masonry.