June 2012: On our visit to St. John’s in the summer of 2012, the fog had rolled in and we were unaware of the extent of the harbour until the third day of our visit. One can not visit St. John’s without visiting Signal Hill. The winding paths meander through the National Historic Site. At the top sits Cabot Tower, a monument built in Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year (1897) to celebrate the 400 anniversary of John Cabot’s discoveries. It was near the tower that in 1901 Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message. It was the letter “S” in Morse Code sent from Poldhu, Cornwall, England.
The Hill sits high above the harbour and has been the scene of defense from the 18th Century through to World War II. Canada’s history including the battles of Britian and France are clear as you walk the paths, view the perched canons, portions of the Queen’s Battery Barracks and read the displays, explaining the significance of Signal Hill.