Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lighthouses of the Maritimes

Is there anyone who doesn't have a fascination with Lighthouses, their history, their tragedies, the wild coasts that they protect.  The sailors and fishermen that relied on the Lighthouse Keeper keeping that candle lit no matter the weather to bring them back safely to their waiting families.  These are a few of my favourites through the Maritimes.  I gather just a drop in the bucket.

Cape Enrage Lighthouse, New Brunswick

This lighthouse is the oldest one on the New Brunswick mainland, dating back to 1838.  Automation of the lighthouse didn't start until 1980.  Located in the upper area of the Bay of Fundy near the Hopewell Rocks and the entrance to Moncton, it is a wonderful place for watching the tides.  There is an automated fog horn sitting by the lighthouse.  This would be the last place you would want to be if the fog rolled in, no warning, it just starts blowing.  The view is amazing looking all the way down the Bay of Fundy and now has zip lining, kayaking, and rock climbing, oh to be 20 years younger.  Bonus for me was the 5 star restaurant looking over the bay, with a great wine list. Cape Enrage Lighthouse

St. Martins, New Brunswick

This lighthouse was built in 1983, it was rebuilt here after the original burned down.  The original lantern room is displayed here.  You can climb up 2 very steep sets of stairs to get a 360 degree view of the town of St. Martins.   If you like covered bridges you can actually see 2 here with the lighthouse in the middle of them.  And a lovely view of the sea caves surrounding the coast, carved out by the tides over the years.  A beautiful little town.

Parrsboro, Nova Scotia 

Parrsboro is a great place to start the drive up the Fundy side of Nova Scotia.  This lighthouse was originally erected in 1852 at the entrance to a beautiful harbour.  After it collapsed a new one was erected in 1980.  There were lighthouse keepers working to keep sailors and fishermen safe until 1987 when it was fully automated.  

Five Islands, Colchester, Nova Scotia

Moose, Diamond, Long, Egg and Pinnacle make up the 5 islands in this chain in the Minas Basin.  The lighthouse is considered a pepperpot style and was built in 1914, it has been moved 3 times (1952, 1957 and 1996) because of erosion from the wear and tear of the tides and storms.  In 2008 it has hopefully been moved for the last time.   After being decommissioned in 1993 it is now part of one of Nova Scotia's newest provincial parks.  

Woods Island, PEI

Built in 1876 it is one of the last 2 lighthouses where the light keeper and his family lived right in the lighthouse.  In 1958 electricity was added to the building and it became fully automated in 1989.  Now it is a museum and interpretive centre, a great place for the family to visit.  

North Cape PEI

The North Cape is one of the longest and dangerous rock reefs in North America as noted by Jacques Cartier in 1534.  After lots of controversy the lighthouse was finally approved in 1865 and started working in 1866.  It was automated in 1962 and it's last lighthouse keeper retired in 1967.  What a welcome beacon it must have been to the many travellers looking for the entrance to Canada.

Indian Head Lighthouse, Lower Bedeque, PEI

The lighthouses first keeper started in 1881, they used to row over every evening, spend the night and row back in the morning.  The pier was built out and then the lovely octagonal lighthouse built on top of it.  It is still a working fully automated lighthouse. If you visit at low tide, you can walk all the way out to it on the ocean floor.   

New London Lighthouse, PEI

This lighthouse was built in 1876 and demanned in 1960.  One of the few lighthouses that had a female keeper from 1943 to 1956.  One of my favourite lighthouses mainly because of where it is, right by the French River with it's beautiful harbour and colourful huts, with an amazing beach which makes you feel like your footprints are the only ones on it.  

"Following the death of her husband Claude, in 1943, Maisie Adams took on his role as keeper until 1955. She had been tending the light since his appointment in 1940. They had three children: Robert, Gertrude and Mary. She earned $13.60 a month when she started. This had increased to $49. when she resigned in 1956. She died on October 27, 2000 at the age of 87. " New London Lighthouse

East Point PEI

Built in 1866, this lighthouse serves the marine traffic using the Canso Strait and the Gulf of St. Lawrence where the 2 currents meet.  The day we were there the waves were crashing into each other on a perfect diagonal line from the point out to sea.  
"On September 12th, 1882, the 1,137 ton British warship, HMS Phoenix ran upon a reef off East Point. Although the blame was put on the “negligent navigation” of the Phoenix, many believed that the location of the lighthouse was the real cause of the misfortune. Charts showed the Lighthouse on a point, while, in fact, the Lighthouse had been built approximately half a mile inland. As a result, in 1885 the Lighthouse and keeper’s cottage were moved 1600 feet east, to within 200 feet of the edge of the point." East Point Lighthouse 

Souris, PEI

The Souris East Lighthouse still guides ferries between Souris and the Magdalen Islands.  It also has telecommunicatons equipment which directs air and sea traffic in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Constructed in 1880 it was manned until 1991 when the last keeper retired. 
 "Souris has the only complete weight system. The keeper had to climb the tower every 3 hours and 15 minutes to rewind the mechanism which rotated the light."  

There are 63 lighthouses on PEI alone, looks like I will be making a few more trips out to the Williams.  Get ready for more roadtrips MJ.

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