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Signal Hill is a hill which overlooks the city of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labradormarker.

Signal Hill, a National Historic Site
View of St. John's from Signal Hill
Signal Hill
Because of its strategic placement overlooking the harbour, fortifications have been placed on the hill since the mid 1600s.


The final battle of the Seven Years' War in North America was fought in 1762 at the Battle of Signal Hillmarker, in which the French surrendered St. John's to the British under the command of Lt. Colonel William Amherst. Lt. Colonel Amherst renamed what was then known as "The Lookout" as "Signal Hill," because of the signalling that took place upon its summit from its flagmast. Flag communication between land and sea would take place there from the 1600s until 1960.

During Signal Hill's first construction period in the late 1700s, Signal Hill was designated as thecitadel for St. John's. Other Canadian citadels include Citadel Hill in Halifaxmarker and Citadellemarker in Quebec Citymarker.

During the 1800s, Signal Hill was manned specifically during the Napoleonic Wars and the American Civil War. A second construction period in Signal Hill's history saw the construction of the Queen's Battery Barracks which, today, has been completely restored to the period of 1862.

Construction on Cabot Tower began in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's landfall in 1497. The building was declared officially open in 1900. The practical uses of the building were flag mast signalling, and a Marconi wireless station which has since been moved to St. John's International Airportmarker.

Marconi watching associates raise kite antenna at Signal Hill, December, 1901
On December 12, 1901, the first transatlantic wireless transmission was received here by Guglielmo Marconi in an abandoned fever and Diphtheria hospital, which has since been destroyed by fire. The transmission originated from his Poldhu Wireless Stationmarker, Cornwallmarker.

The United Statesmarker maintained anti-aircraft guns on the hill during World War II.

National Historic Site

Today, Signal Hill is a Canadian National Historic Site and remains incredibly popular amongst tourists and locals alike; 97% of all tourists to St. John's visit Signal Hill. Amongst its popular attractions are the Signal Hill Tattoo, showcasing the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of foot, circa 1795, and the North Head Trail which grants an impressive view of the Atlantic Oceanmarker and the surrounding coast.

Due to high winds in winter (which can reach up to 110 km/h (68 miles per hour), it is generally preferred to visit Signal Hill in the warmer months of the year.

A tourist information radio station, CJSH-FM, broadcasts from the Signal Hill site.

Also located inside of Cabot tower on signal hill is an Amateur radio station VO1AA which may be operated by visiting amateur radio operators in the summer months it is sponsored by the Society Of Newfoundland Radio Amateurs . Also there is an active amateur radio repeater VO1AAA 146.790+ which is located inside the building which can be used year round.


  1. Atlantic Cable. IEEE Milestone Plaque
  2. Parks Canada . Signal Hill National Historic Site

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