(continuer en français) – Published: July 30, 2022
Lighthouses generally inspire a positive feeling. Is it because they are associated with the coastline and evoke memories of holidays. Is it because they stand at the edge of the land, beyond which begins the unknown, the adventure, the dream.
With more than 1100 kilometres of coastline, Prince Edward Island has more than 60 lighthouses, which says something about the treachery of its approach. But modern means have removed their keepers and reduced the number in activity.
As is often the case, tourism has come to the rescue of what might otherwise be forgotten. Lighthouses become museums, some are converted into holiday accommodation. In this way, one can slip into the life of a lighthouse keeper, an activity which has disappeared and which had a particular glamour.
Point Prime, 1845
Point Prime Lighthouse was first lit in 1845 and is the oldest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island and one of only two brick towers in Canada. The bricks were then covered with wooden shingles for protection.
It was soon discovered that building with wood was more economical, even if the risks were greater. Gradually the pyramid shape became dominant. The lighthouse was automated in 1969.
The lighthouse is open to visitors during the summer, and it is possible to climb to the top and walk around the suspended gallery.
Blockhouse Point, 1851
Blockhouse Point Lighthouse is located at the entrance to Charlottetown Harbour. It was installed in 1851 and automated in 1962. The lighthouse itself is enclosed in a two-storey dwelling for the keeper and his family.
Nearby was Port-la-Joye, the short-lived Acadian capital of what was then called Saint John Island.
Cape Egmont, 1864
The square pyramid-shaped lighthouse at Cape Egmont was built in 1864. Due to severe erosion, it has recently been moved away from the cliff edge. The automation in 1958 led to the destruction of the annex buildings such as the keeper’s house, which was left unoccupied. The lighthouse is still active.
North Cape, 1865
As its name suggests, the lighthouse is located at the northern end of the island, facing the mouth of the St. Lawrence. It is also the windiest place on the island, which imposes constraints on its ability to withstand strong gusts of wind. It is also a place where soil erosion has caused the installation to be moved.
The lighthouse is still in operation, automated in 1967, the keeper was removed at that time.
West Point, 1875
At the southwestern tip of the island, West Point Lighthouse is the highest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island at 20 metres. It was built in 1875 and operated manually until 1963. The lighthouse is still in operation.
It is another visitable lighthouse, set back from a beautiful red sand beach. It is possible to climb to the top and look out over the Northumberland Strait to the mainland.
An inn is located at the foot of the lighthouse, allowing visitors to stay in this attractive place.
North Rustico Harbour Light, 1876
The lighthouse built in 1876 on the north coast of the island is mainly used by local fishermen. Its operation was automated in 1960 and it continues to be used.
The lighthouse and the keeper’s house form a complex.
Wood Islands, 1876
This lighthouse is one of a series of buildings initiated after Prince Edward Island joined the Canadian Confederation in 1873. This was both to harmonize standards under the federal administration and as an investment to repay the trust placed in it.
The lighthouse stands on the strip of land protecting the ferry operations with Nova Scotia. It was one of the last to be occupied as it was not automated until 1989. It is now a comprehensive museum on the life of the keepers, 11 rooms are equipped according to the era, allowing to better imagine their existence.
Located in Victoria, this was one of six lighthouses ensuring the safety of navigation on the approach to the harbour. Still in operation, the lighthouse is also open to the public.
Souris Lighthouse was established in 1880 to monitor the movement of ferries to the Magdalen Islands in Quebec. It was the last lighthouse on Prince Edward Island to be operated manually, and the last keeper did not leave until 1991.
Cape Bear, 1881
The Cape Bear Lighthouse was built in 1881. A Marconi station was added in 1905, and was one of the first to receive distress calls from the Titanic in 1912. The interior can be visited during the summer.
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