Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
A highly visible structure from the waters of Lake Superior, the Light Tower on Caribou Island is the dominant element of a lightstation complex that occupies a small, isolated island. The elegantly tapered profile of the concrete tower is emphasized by six flying buttresses that surround its central column. Crowning the tall tower is a fully automated red lantern. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Light Tower on Caribou Island was designated a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its architectural and historical significance and because of its importance to the character of its setting. Built during a transitional phase in the development of reinforced concrete light tower construction, it is landmark in the evolution of light tower design in Canada. Its six buttresses illustrate a short-lived but uniquely Canadian experiment in tower design and construction. Higher and more tapered than examples built before it, the Light Tower is an assured expression of reinforced concrete technology at an early stage of its development in Canada. It is among the most impressive lights on the Great Lakes.
The construction of the Light Tower marked an increase in shipping activity on the Great Lakes and the availability of increased funds for lighthouse design and construction.
The scale of the tower and the constricted character of the island on which it is built make it the clearly dominant element in the landscape.
Sources: Martha Phemister, Lighttower, Caribou Island, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 88-142; Lighttower, Caribou Island, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 88-142.
The following character-defining elements of the Light Tower should be respected.
Key elements that define the heritage character of this tower include:
- its precision, scale and streamlined form, which are characteristic of the last three flying buttress lighthouses built by the Department of Marine;
- its flying buttresses, which were designed to provide stability and resistance to lateral thrust and vibration with a minimum of material;
- its reinforced concrete floors, which add to the lateral bracing;
- its relationship to its setting.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Classified Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Navigational Aid or Lighthouse
Architect / Designer
Department of Marine
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection