Royal Naval Dockyard, Halifax

Royal Naval Dockyard, Halifax
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Commissioners House, in the Naval Yard, Halifax, 1804.png
View of Halifax Naval Yard, c. 1804
Coordinates44°39′23.63″N 63°34′44.69″W / 44°39′23.63″N 63°34′44.69″W / 44.6565639; -63.5790806
TypeShipyard, dockyard
Site information
Site history
In use1759–present
Official nameHalifax Dockyard National Historic Site of Canada
Garrison information
GarrisonNorth American Station
Part of a series on the
History of
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Halifax Town Clock.jpg

Royal Naval Dockyard, Halifax was a Royal Navy base in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Established in 1759, the Halifax Yard served as the headquarters for the Royal Navy's North American Station for sixty years, starting with the Seven Years' War. The Royal Navy continued to operate the station until it was closed in 1905. The station was sold to Canada in 1907 becoming Her Majesty's Canadian Dockyard, a function it still serves today as part of CFB Halifax.


Halifax Harbour had served as a Royal Navy seasonal base from the founding of the city in 1749, using temporary facilities and a careening beach on Georges Island. The British the purchased the property which now contains the Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott for the Naval Yard. This property had belonged to John Gorham (Gorham Point), Captain Ephraim Cook, Philip Durell, Joseph Gerrish and William Nesbitt.[1][2] (In the summer of 1751, Gorham built the first registered vessel in Halifax, a brig he named Osborn Galley at Gorham Point.[3]) Land and buildings for a permanent Naval Yard were purchased in 1758 and the Yard was officially commissioned in 1759. The Yard served as the main base for the Royal Navy in North America during the Seven Years' War, the American Revolution, the French Revolutionary Wars and the War of 1812.

In 1818 Halifax became the summer base for the squadron which shifted to the Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda for the remainder of the year. The Halifax yard did not have a dry dock until 1887 so it was officially called the "Halifax Naval Yard" when first established, although it was popularly known as the Halifax Dockyard. The graving dock, coaling facilities and torpedo boat slip were added between 1881 and 1897. The station closed in 1905 and sold to Canada in 1907 becoming Her Majesty's Canadian Dockyard, a function it still serves today as part of CFB Halifax.

The Yard was located on the western shores of Halifax Harbour to the north of Citadel Hill and the main Halifax townsite. In addition to refitting and supplying the North American Squadron the Halifax Yard played a vital role in supplying masts and spars for the entire Royal Navy after the loss of the timber resources in the American colonies in the American Revolution. Masts cut all over British North America were collected and stored in Halifax to be shipped to British Dockyards in wartime with heavily escorted mast convoys.

The site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923.[4]

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