Signal Hill National Historic Site
Lonely Planet review for Signal Hill National Historic Site
A trip up Signal Hill, the city's most famous landmark, is worth it for the glorious view alone, though there's much more to see.
An interpretive center features interactive displays on the site's history. The last North American battle of the Seven Years' War took place here in 1762, and Britain's victory ended France's renewed aspirations for control of eastern North America.
You can see cannons and the remains of the late-18th-century British battery at Queen's Battery & Barracks further up the hill. The tiny castle topping the hill is Cabot Tower, built in 1900 to honor both John Cabot's arrival in 1497 and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Here Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi gleefully received the first wireless transatlantic message from Cornwall, England in 1901. There are guides and displays in the tower; an amateur radio society operates a station here in summer.
In midsummer, several dozen soldiers dressed as the 19th-century Royal Newfoundland Company perform a tattoo on O'Flaherty Field next to the interpretive center. It wraps up with the firing of historic cannons.
An awesome way to return to downtown is along the North Head Trail (1.7km) which connects Cabot Tower with the harborfront Battery neighborhood. The walk departs from the tower's parking lot and traces the cliffs, imparting tremendous sea views and sometimes whale spouts. Because much of the trail runs along the bluff's sheer edge, this walk isn't something to attempt in icy, foggy or dark conditions.
The site sits 1.5km from downtown, up Signal Hill Rd.