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Port Mouton Lighthouse

Port Mouton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2015/02/12

General view of Port Mouton Lighthouse; Robert L. Ross
General view
General view showing Port Mouton Lighthouse; Robert L. Ross
General view
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Other Name(s)

Port Mouton Lighthouse
Spectacle Island Light
Phare de Spectacle Island

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1937/01/01 to 1937/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2016/09/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Port Mouton Lighthouse is a wooden square-tapered tower that measures 7.5 metres (25 feet). Built in 1937, it replaced the original Port Mouton light that had stood on the site since 1873. The lighthouse guides vessels into the small Port Mouton harbour. It sits on the rocky northern tip of the Spectacle Islands, which lie about 4 kilometres off the eastern coast of Nova Scotia, in the Atlantic Ocean.

Heritage Value

The Port Mouton Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.

Historical values
The Port Mouton Lighthouse is a very good example of the Canadian government’s efforts to improve and maintain coastal lighthouses. Built in 1937, the Port Mouton Lighthouse was constructed to take over the duties of the first lighthouse on the site. It was vital that a lighthouse be maintained on the Spectacle Islands as they were known to provide shelter to ships in foul weather.
Since its establishment in 1873, the Port Mouton Lighthouse has served the local fishery. This service continued with the construction of the second lighthouse in 1937. Since the late-18th century, the area’s main industry has been fishing, and the local fishery’s success has always been dependant on the Port Mouton Lighthouse.

Architectural values
The Port Mouton Lighthouse is a very good example of a wooden square-tapered lighthouse with a coved cornice. This design was popular with the Department of Marine and Fisheries in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the Port Mouton Lighthouse exhibits the typical features of this standard-plan design. The 1937 plans suggest that the lighthouse, which is visually pleasing, has been altered very little since its construction.
The design of the Port Mouton Lighthouse is very well suited to the maritime conditions of a Nova Scotian island. Wooden square-tapered towers were a popular design from the late-19th century onwards because they could be built using local resources and labour. They were economical to build, durable, and able to withstand heavy winds due to their low centre of gravity.

Community values
The Port Mouton Lighthouse reinforces the maritime character of the surrounding area, due to its high visibility from the shore and the water. The iconic structure sits on a rocky point of land and is surrounded by softwood forest. For over a century, the lighthouse has been the central feature of the Spectacle Islands and a focal point amid the surrounding rocky islands and wooded shores of coastal Nova Scotia.
The Port Mouton Lighthouse is highly valued by the nearby community of Port Mouton. The residents consider the lighthouse to be a part of their heritage and municipal identity. The lighthouse remains an emblem of the area and continues to guide recreational and commercial fishing vessels.

Related buildings
No related buildings are included in the designation.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Port Mouton Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location on the northeastern tip of the Spectacle Islands;
— its current, as-built form and proportions, based on the standard design of wooden square-tapered towers;
— its square, wooden frame structure with tapered sides rising from a square base;
— its coved cornice that supports a square gallery;
— its simple iron railing surrounding the gallery;
— its original square, iron lantern with a pyramidal roof and vent;
— its single window, placed in the eastern elevation;
— its sole entry door with its plain shed dormer that projects from the southern façade;
— its interior layout, featuring a ladder and trap door which give access to the light;
— its square concrete base and steps leading to the door;
— its traditional colour scheme, consisting of white for the tower, cornice, and gallery, and red for the lantern; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act

Recognition Type

Heritage Lighthouse

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Historic or Interpretive Site


Navigational Aid or Lighthouse

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Conservation and Commemoration Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Quebec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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