Description of Historic Place
The Prince Edward Point Lighthouse, also known as South Bay Point, Red Onion and Traverse Point Lighthouse is a squaretapered wooden lighthouse with an attached dwelling. The lighthouse is located on the eastern tip of Prince Edward Point within South Marysburgh Township, Ontario. Besides the combined 7.8-metre (26 foot) lighthouse and keeper’s residence, the lightstation also includes a detached shed. The lighthouse was automated in 1941 and operated until 1959 when it was replaced by a steel skeleton tower. There is one related building on the site that contributes to the heritage character of the lighthouse: (1) the shed built between 1881 and 1926.
The Prince Edward Point Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.
The Prince Edward Point Lighthouse is a very good example of the improvement of the system of navigational aids on Lake Ontario. Owing to its integrated design combining a tower and keeper’s residence, it is also a good reflection of the tradition of lightkeeping. The lighthouse served as a secondary coastal light assisting mariners navigating Lake Ontario and marked the entrance to Point Traverse Harbour. The lighthouse is associated with various shipwrecks that occurred in this area, colloquially called the “Graveyard of Lake Ontario”.
The Prince Edward Point Lighthouse supported the shipping industry, marking a safe avenue for commercial ships travelling through the waters of Lake Ontario for nearly 80 years. The lighthouse marked the only protected harbour for a distance of approximately 60 nautical miles. Even after the nearby Murray Canal was built, the
harbour remained a key component in protecting the commercial shipping that contributed significantly to the economic development of Prince Edward County.
The Prince Edward Point Lighthouse has a very good functional design and quality craftsmanship. It was constructed according to a standard plan for square-tapered wooden lighthouses with attached residences, using heavy timber corner posts surrounding a braced framework to prevent lateral movement in the winter. Despite the loss of its lantern, the structure remains structurally sound, and decorative elements such as pediments, brackets and windowand-door surrounds, remain intact.
Set on the water’s edge of a rocky beach on Lake Ontario and surrounded by low-lying shrubs and coniferous trees, the Prince Edward Point Lighthouse reinforces the maritime character of the area. The lighthouse is also located in Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area, a site renowned for its concentration of a large number of migratory birds species. The Prince Edward Point Lighthouse is a recognized community landmark at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory and the main feature of the Observatory’s logo. It is highly valued by the community and is one of the most visited lighthouses in Prince Edward County. Together with its replacement skeleton tower, the Prince Edward Point Lighthouse is highly visible from the water and remains a familiar landmark for local mariners.
One related building, as listed in section 1, contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse.
The following character-defining elements of the Prince Edward Point Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location at the eastern tip of Prince Edward Point, in South Marysburgh Township;
— its structural form, height, profile and proportions based on the design of a lighthouse with attached dwelling;
— its square wooden-frame structure, with tapered sides rising from the square base;
— its slightly protruding perpendicular window-and-door surrounds on the main building and tower, capped by simple pediments;
— its square gallery supported by wooden brackets;
— its colour scheme, consisting of white for the walls of the tower and dwelling, and black for the roof of the dwelling and attached shed; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.
The following character-defining elements of the related building should be respected:
— its respective built form, profile, and proportions;
— its contextual relationship to the lighthouse within an historic lightstation setting.