Port Mouton Lighthouse
Spectacle Island Light
Phare de Spectacle Island
Links and documents
1937/01/01 to 1937/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
The Port Mouton Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community 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.
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.
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.
No related buildings are included in the designation.
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.
Government of Canada
Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
- Navigational Aid or Lighthouse
Architect / Designer
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