Fort McNab was built on McNab's Island starting in 1888, as a companion to York Redoubt, which it faces on the other side of the Harbour. Finished after four years of construction, Fort McNab was the first fort in Halifax designed for breach-loading gun, which made a significant difference in the architecture used in it's construction. Gone were the brick and mortar emplacements, replaced with reinforced concrete, low-angled blast shields, and deep concrete gun shelters.
Between 1903 and 1906, Fort McNab was modernized further, with newer, more powerful guns installed. During the Second World War, the Fort became responsible for inspection of ships entering the harbour.
From the 1890's to the late 1960's, McNab's Island served as a focal point of the defence of Halifax Harbour, guarding the outer channel into the Harbour. The island has the remains of four forts on it (three of which are open to the public), along with a rifle range and a large number of outbuildings. It also served as a major searchlight station, and as the eastern anchor point for an anti-submarine net that stretched from the mainland at York Redoubt.
Strawberry Battery, which faces on the opposite side of the harbour, was built in 1939 to oversee the submarine net and to sweep the harbour with its powerful searchlights.
Fort Ives, which faces the inner harbour, was built between 1865 and 1914. The fort still contains two installed rifled muzzle loading guns from the 1880's.
Fort McNab, the third largest installation in the harbour, served as an examination battery in both world wars. Begun in 1889, the fort was the site of an early radar station during the Second World War, and remained in use by the military until the early 1960's.
Hugonin Battery was constructed as a quick-fire battery in 1899-1900, and was used by the Department of National Defence as an acoustic listening post until 1993. It is off limits to the public