Government of Canada announces three heritage lighthouses designations in Nova Scotia
Brier Island Lighthouse, Grand Passage Lighthouse, and Peter Island Lighthouse protected under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act
December 2, 2021 Ottawa, Ontario Parks Canada Agency
Heritage places reflect the rich and varied stories of Canada and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diverse history.
Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, announced the designation of Brier Island Lighthouse, Grand Passage Lighthouse, and Peter Island Lighthouse, all in Nova Scotia, as heritage lighthouses under Canada’s Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act.
The Brier Island Lighthouse is an 18-metre (59 feet) tapered, octagonal, reinforced-concrete tower topped by a red octagonal lantern. Located on the westernmost tip of the 7-kilometre long island in the Municipality of Digby, Nova Scotia, this charming lighthouse marks the entrance to the Bay of Fundy. The Grand Passage Lighthouse is a square, reinforced-concrete tower located on the northern tip of Brier Island. The 8.5 metre (28 feet) tall lighthouse marks the northern entrance to Grand Passage, which runs between Brier Island and the western shore of St. Mary’s Bay. The Peter Island Lighthouse is a beautifully tapered, wooden, octagonal tower, located on the small, uninhabited Peter Island. The 13.4 metres (43.9 feet) tall lighthouse marks the southern entrance to the Grand Passage in the Municipality of Digby.
With these new designations, 106 lighthouses in eight provinces have now been protected under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. They include some of the country’s most architecturally and historically significant lighthouses, including Triple Island in British Columbia, Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie in Quebec, and Cape Spear in Newfoundland and Labrador, which are treasured symbols of our country’s maritime heritage.
The Government of Canada continues to work in close collaboration with community groups and other levels of government to facilitate the designation of heritage lighthouses and ensure their protection for the benefit and enjoyment of generations to come. Designations under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act are made by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
“Lighthouses have long symbolized strength, safety, and safe harbour, playing a crucial role in protecting mariners. They are iconic symbols of our communities and are also important tourism attractions that contribute to local economies. I’m delighted to add these three Nova Scotia lighthouses to the family of Canada’s designated heritage lighthouses.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
Constructed in 1944, the Brier Island Lighthouse is the 3rd generation lighthouse on the site. The original lighthouse was established in 1809 and was the first on the Nova Scotian coast of the Bay of Fundy.
The Grand Passage Lighthouse was constructed in 1964 to replace the original 1901 lighthouse. A fog alarm building was attached to the lighthouse to expand the reach of navigational aids in the Bay of Fundy in response to increased marine traffic. This region has long been notorious as a treacherous area, earning the reputation as the “Graveyard of the Fundy.”
The Peter Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1909 to replace the original 1850 lighthouse. After operating for 105 years, the lighthouse was decommissioned in 2014 and replaced by a skeletal tower displaying a flashing green light.
Among the 106 designated heritage lighthouses, 43 are managed by the federal government and 63 are managed by new, non-federal owners, including Grand Passage, Brier Island, and Peter Island lighthouses.
The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act was established in 2010 to protect lighthouses owned by the federal government that have significant heritage value. The Act protects the heritage character of designated lighthouses and requires that they be reasonably maintained.
Designations under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act are made by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people, and events that have contributed to Canada’s history. Together with Parks Canada, the Board ensures that subjects of national historic significance are recognized and these important stories are shared with Canadians.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Parks Canada Agency
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