The Battery, St. John's

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The Battery
The Battery, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.jpg
Provinces and territories of CanadaNewfoundlandand Labrador
CitySt. John's
 • Administrative bodySt. John's City Council
 • CouncilorShawn Skinner

The Battery is a neighbourhood within the city of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador that sits on the entrance to the harbour, on the slopes of Signal Hill. It is sometimes described as an outport within the city of St. John's and is noted for its steep slopes, and colourful houses. The Battery has been the site, over the centuries, for gun emplacements (batteries), such as Fort Waldegrave, for the defence of St. John's Harbour, including during both World Wars.

Chain Rock[edit]

It is home to Chain Rock, a land outcropping to which a large chain was attached connecting to Fort Amherst, since as early as 1770, to prevent the entry of enemy ships into St John's harbour. Chain Rock is one of two rocks located on opposite sides of the Narrows, the aptly named entrance to the harbour; Pancake Rock is on the opposite shore. The space between the two rocks is 174 metres.[1] A defensive chain was stretched between the rocks by means of a capstan at nightfall. During World War I and II the chain was replaced with anti-submarine nets.

Avalanches & landslides[edit]

Minor landslides have been frequent in the area's past, and a small number of avalanches; there were three avalanches in the twentieth-century involving loss of life or serious injury, two in February 1921, and one February 1959.

A list of major avalanches includes:[2]

Date of avalanche Homes destroyed Human losses
February 8, 1921 One occupied; numerous unoccupied Two severe injuries
February 18, 1921 One home destroyed One death
February 16, 1959 Two homes destroyed Five deaths; multiple injuries
January 17, 2020[3] One home damaged None

Although no major events have occurred between 1959 and 2020, in 1995 the city of St. John's began studying the area in an attempt to minimize risk associated with rock slides and avalanches. The Canadian Avalanche Association conducted studies in the area; based on their work, the city spent an estimated $300,000 to protect the area from further instability.[4] Despite this a house was badly damaged by an avalanche in January 2020, following a record snowfall and hurricane force winds.[5]

The Battery, overlooking St. John's Harbour
Picture of The Battery and Signal Hill, St. John's
Street in The Battery
An aerial view of The Battery


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, Volume one, page 395, 396
  2. ^ The Assessment of Geological Hazards and Disasters in Newfoundland: An Update. (St. John's: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Mines and Energy, Geological Survey)
  3. ^ "Avalanche hits one home in St. John's Battery". The Telegram. January 17, 2020. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  4. ^ The Battery - A Case Study; Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Site; Memorial University of Newfoundland
  5. ^ "Avalanche crashes into house in St. John's as 'very dangerous' blizzard slams Newfoundland". January 17, 2020.

Coordinates: 47°34′08.01″N 52°41′25.49″W / 47.5688917°N 52.6904139°W / 47.5688917; -52.6904139