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07 August, 2012


Saugeen River Range Light overlooking Lake Huron.
We are delighted to learn that The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, has designated three of our Southampton lighthouses as Canada’s first heritage lighthouses under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act

The Saugeen River Front and Rear Range lights, the McNab Point light in Southampton and the St. Paul Island Southwest Lighthouse in Dingwall, Nova Scotia, were designated on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

“I’m delighted to feature these four noteworthy examples of Canadian lighthouses as our first designated heritage lighthouses,” said Minister Kent. “With the help of local communities, the Government of Canada hopes to protect as many examples of these important symbols of our seafaring heritage as possible.”

The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act identifies and protects federally-owned lighthouses on Canada’s coastal and inland waters that have significant heritage value. The Act was adopted in May 2008 and is administered by Parks Canada.

The St. Paul Island Southwest Lighthouse lit the “Graveyard of the Gulf of St. Lawrence” for nearly 50 years. Today it is a cherished symbol of Canada’s maritime tradition and will be a significant component of the St. Paul Island Museum in Dingwall for years to come.

The McNab Point and Saugeen River Front and Rear Range lights are very good examples of the pepper pot lighthouse design used extensively in Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries. In association with the nearby Chantry Island Lighthouse, they help to establish the area’s maritime character and are key symbols for the port community of Southampton, which is proud of its maritime heritage.

To form a protective harbor at Southampton, two breakwaters were constructed: one extending seaward from the beach in Southampton, and a second arching towards the mainland from the northern tip of Chantry Island. A pair of range lights was established to help guide mariners into the protected anchorage. The front light was placed at the outermost part of the breakwater connected to Chantry Island, and the rear tower was erected on the northern cape of Horseshoe Bay, just south of Southampton. In 1901, the rear tower was relocated across Horseshoe Bay to McNab Point. 

More designations will follow. Parks Canada has received petitions nominating 348 lighthouses in eight provinces. The Government of Canada is working with communities and community groups like the St. Paul Island Historical Society and the Town of Saugeen Shores to identify new or complementary uses and a new future for Canada’s lighthouses.

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada was established in 1919 and is supported by Parks Canada. It advises the Minister of the Environment regarding the national significance of places, persons and events that have marked Canada’s history on behalf of the people of Canada. Parks Canada manages a nationwide network that makes up a rich tapestry of Canada’s historical heritage and offers the public opportunities for real and inspiring discoveries.

Next time you pass through Southampton, make it a point to stop and enjoy what the oldest Lake Huron port in Bruce County has to offer.

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