Government of Canada Designates the Shaganash Island Lighthouse as a Heritage Lighthouse

News release

December 14, 2023              Gatineau, Quebec                                Parks Canada

Lighthouses have long symbolized strength, safety and safe harbour, playing a crucial role in protecting mariners. Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the designation of Shaganash Island Lighthouse under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act.

The Shaganash Island Lighthouse is a tall, square-tapered wooden lighthouse situated on Island No. 10, on the north shore of Lake Superior or gichigamiing (the Big Lake) as it is called by the Anishinaabe people of the region.

The Shaganash Island Lighthouse was established in 1910, though the original tower burned down. The current lighthouse was built in 1922 and operated both as a coastal light directing vessels to the city’s harbour, and as a range light identifying safe passage through a rock-strewn channel. The Shaganash Island Lighthouse was an important navigational aid that supported silver mining, pulpwood, and fishing industries. By the mid-twentieth century, the pulpwood industry had receded and was replaced by growing recreational boat traffic that continues to navigate the lake today. It remains a well-known landmark and navigational aid.

With this new designation, 111 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 the Fisgard Lighthouse in British Columbia, the Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie in Quebec, and Point Amour 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 for 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.


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Photo courtesy of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.


“Over the last 100 years, the Shaganash Island Lighthouse has contributed to the safe passage of all who navigate the waters of Lake Superior | Gichigamiing. Prior to its establishment, the safe navigation of these waters was based on Indigenous Peoples traditional knowledge passed down through generations. Today, the Shaganash Island Lighthouse continues to serve as an important landmark for recreational boaters and tourists. This designation shines a light on our shared history and ensures that the lighthouse will be there to guide future generations."

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“The designation of Shaganash Island Lighthouse acknowledges the resilience of those who have navigated the shores of Lake Superior | Gichigamiing. Heritage lighthouses are more than structures; they are living testaments to our marine history and remind us that our past shapes our present. This beacon stands as a proud guardian of that connection."

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard


Quick facts

  • The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act is a law designed 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. Subject to certain conditions, heritage lighthouses may be sold or transferred to other levels of government, to not-for-profit community organizations, or to individuals in order to promote new uses and to ensure their long-term protection

  • Located approximately 55 kilometres from Thunder Bay, it is important to acknowledge that the Shaganash Island Lighthouse is situated on the lands and waters within the territories of the Anishinabeg signatories of the Robinson-Superior Treaty. 

  • The name Shaganash, finds its roots in the Ojibwe language from the word Zhaaganaash, meaning an Englishman.

  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national significance of persons, places, and events that have marked Canada’s history. Together with Parks Canada, the Board ensures that subjects of national historic significance are recognized under Parks Canada’s National Program of Historical Commemoration and these important stories are shared with Canadians.

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Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary     
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Parks Canada

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