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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Georges Island, Halifax Nova Scotia

One of the hidden gems of history is right in my own backyard of Halifax. Georges Island at first (1750) was armed to protect the fledgling settlement from a sea attack, then during the years of the Acadian Deportation  (they were French settlers of Eastern Canada who were exiled from this area and then when their descendant's settled in Louisiana, they were called Cajuns ) it was used as a 'holding' area during these times. Also during the American Revolution the island defences were updated and renewed but did not see an attack like other points of my Province of  Nova Scotia.  During the 1850s the fort was rebuilt to be mostly
subterranean with a maze of tunnels, corridors, storage rooms and sleeping quarters buried deep inside the island. Then in the late 1890s because of the rapid pace of weapon development it soon rendered the fortress guns obsolete, so then the British installed a new torpedo system and established a manually operated submarine mine field across the harbour's channel by using Georges Island as its base. Finally during WW1 the island was used as an anchor to hold
submarine nets to prevent those U-Boats from entering the inner bay where all the ships would gather to form a convoy to cross the ocean with the Canadian Navy to provide protection

 ( On a side note, that is how the Great Halifax Explosion (Dec 6 1917) took the waterways were that crowded that the two ships  Belgian relief vessel Imo and the French munitions ship Mont Blanc collided and created the biggest man made explosion up to the Atomic Age!)  To present times, Georges Island was deemed a National Historic Site in 1965 and final there is talk of reopening it ( Parks Canada says between 2012-2014 ) to the general public after a few 'open' weekends showed that there is a great interest in our history on the east coast of Canada.