Experience the historic view of Placentia and the Bay from the heights of Castle Hill.
Castle Hill National Historic Site of Canada offers commanding views of the Placentia area and numerous opportunities for photography. Each of the fortification sites provides lookout areas suitable for panoramic photography.
Whether you are arriving in Argentia or waiting for the ferry to North Sydney, Castle Hill National Historic Site is a good place to plan your trip or take a break and reflect on your Newfoundland adventure. Our picnic grounds and walking trails are a great way to create a lasting impression.
From 1692 to 1811, Castle Hill played an important role in the defense of Placentia. The strategic importance of Placentia and the struggle for its control was part of the larger Anglo-French rivalry for an empire not just in Atlantic Canada but also in North America as a whole. Placentia was economically and strategically significant because of its position in the fisheries and because it flanked the approaches to what is now eastern Canada. In 1968, Castle Hill was recognized as a site of national historic significance, and Castle Hill National Historic Site of Canada, the second National Historic Site of Canada established in the province of Newfoundland, was opened to the public.
Visitors to the Site are welcome to explore the Visitor Reception Centre and the grounds that contain the stabilized remains of Fort Royal with trails that lead to the Site's major historical features and numerous vantage points.
A paved walkway outside the Visitor Reception Centre leads to the summit of Castle Hill connecting to trails that link the Site's major historic features and viewing points. The Site's historic features consist of the stabilized and restored remains of defensive walls and three military works (Fort Royal, Gaillardin Redoubt, and Detached Redoubt), two unexcavated works (Horseshoe Battery and La Fontaine Battery), their associated cultural landscapes and the Old French Trail, a historic pathway that links the site to the town below.
VISITOR EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITIES
Please contact the site for details regarding on-site programming.
- EXPLORE THE HISTORIC LANDSCAPE: At Castle Hill National Historic Site you can explore the stone remains of the defense works and experience the panoramic view of Placentia’s harbour and the historic community of Placentia.
- INFORMATIVE AND ENGAGING INTERPRETIVE GUIDES: Parks Canada guides are present in the Visitor Centre to introduce you to the history of Castle Hill National Historic Site of Canada and of the Placentia region. Our guides are also well-informed about the tourism opportunities and current programming throughout the southern Avalon region.
- RELAX IN A PARK SETTING: Take a break and take advantage of our picnic facilities while you plan your next steps after arriving in Argentia or catch your breath and reflect while waiting for the Marine Atlantic ferry to North Sydney!
- PARTICIPATE IN A HISTORIC TOUR: Self-guided tours are enhanced with informative interpretive panels, or you can tour the remains accompanied by an MP-3 audio guide that provides historical information on the importance of Castle Hill and its role in protecting the colony of Plaisance.
- EXPERIENCE THE INTERPRETIVE EXHIBIT: The on-site interpretive exhibit presents the Basque, French, and British military history through a series of vignettes and historic artifacts. Tours include a short film, "The Bastioned Fortification," which outlines the principles and advantages behind the construction of a bastioned fort such as Fort Royal.
- JOURNEY INTO TIME WITH PLACENTIA AREA THEATRE D'HERITAGE: The history of Plaisance, the Ancient French Capital, is brought to life through the theatre production “Faces of Fort Royal” performed on site throughout the summer by the Placentia Area Theatre d’Heritage.
- GIFT SHOP: The Historic Site Association of Newfoundland and Labrador operates a gift shop on site.
- FESTIVALS AND FUN DAYS: Canada Day (July 1) and Parks Day (3rd Sat. in July) are celebrated on site each year with performances, games, and events suitable for all ages.
Please contact the site for further information regarding updated programming opportunities and schedules.
The visitor reception area, bathrooms, exhibit, and gift shop are all wheelchair accessible. The majority of the gravel trails are considered easy to moderate walking.