Future looks bright for Prince Edward Island lighthouses

Dave Stewart
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Petitions or plans submitted for 21 of 37 lighthouses deemed surplus by government

The Point Prim lighthouse is the only round brick lighthouse in Canada and the oldest in Prince Edward Island. It was designed and built in 1845 by Isaac Smith, who also designed Province House.

The future of 21 lighthouses on Prince Edward Island looks very bright.

Five years ago, Ottawa declared 37 Island lighthouses surplus but invited interested local governments and community groups to submit a business plan if they were interested in operating them.

As of the June 1, 2013 deadline, 21 business plans have been submitted along with 12 other petitions for ownership.


Those 12 lighthouse petitioners have been given until 2015 to submit a business plan.

Carol Livingstone, president of the P.E.I. Lighthouse Society, believes the government will work with Islanders to place lighthouses in the right hands.

“The sooner the better. I believe strongly they are going to do all they can to get these lighthouses into the hands of caring people,” she said.

There are 63 existing lighthouses on Prince Edward Island, 13 of those are privately owned, while a municipality or community group owns another 11.

In the House of Commons June 4, Environment Minister Peter Kent said the lighthouse preservation program has been very successful.

Some of the business offers consider moving the lighthouses.

Livingstone is confident most, if not all, of the 37 lighthouses will be saved.

“It just says how much they care, we’re surrounded by water and the lighthouses have always been an important part of our history and also part of our future.”

The four lighthouses without a petition are Georgetown Back Range, Annandale Front Range, Brighton Beach Back Range and Warren Cove Back Range.

People think lighthouses aren't being used anymore, said Livingstone.

“To some degree they are. Smaller pleasure boats that don’t have the GPSs, they certainly still use them.”

She said lighthouses are the most unselfish form of architecture.

“Houses are built for ourselves and businesses are built for income. The lighthouses are there for everyone, it doesn’t matter what country, the rules are international. They are there to help everybody. To me they are a symbol of hope, help and guidance and there are beautiful to me.”

Organizations: P.E.I. Lighthouse Society, Islanders, House of Commons New London

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Ottawa, Front Range Brighton Beach Indian Head Murray Harbour North Cape

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Recent comments

  • Donnie
    June 19, 2013 - 18:15

    They all have lead paint due to their age I would imagine. The government did testing on them before signing them over, and cleaned them up to a degree. They did on the one in Victoria anyways.

  • Carol Livingstone
    June 19, 2013 - 14:18

    The lighthouses have been tested for environmental contaminants and corrective action has already been taken, or will be taken prior to them being transferred. The lighthouses are excellent places for singing and storytelling for local people as well as visitors. Pick up one of the PEI Lighthouse Society brochures and make it a summer project to visit as many as you can.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    June 19, 2013 - 13:18

    I am so happy for the lighthouses ... NOW WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE? Where exactly is our bright future going to come from? Not from the gov, that much is for sure.

    • Piet Hein
      June 19, 2013 - 14:30

      Bill Kays, other than boring us with your inane comments, what have you done for your fellow man recently?

    • Bill Kays
      Bill Kays
      June 20, 2013 - 12:50

      Piet, Pete, Popsicle Pete, I am informing people of the reality of their situation. It is too bad that you cannot handle the truth. I am a humble servant, doing my best to inform the sheeple (asleep people) of the truth about government and the way we are being used and abused by the very government that was mandated to protect us from things greater than ourselves. People do not want to hear the truth. People fear the truth, because it is too much for most people to comprehend. People do not want to think that this fairy tale of an existence is a carefully orchestrated work of fiction. I am glad that I bore someone, especially you, as your comments do not seem to peer very far down the rabbit hole. LOOK AT OUR DOLLAR or lack of it. What is it buying for you today? More or less than yesterday? I rest my case.

  • tim tonkin
    June 19, 2013 - 11:24

    The light houses will be a great place to sit around and talk about the old days on P.E.I. .The good old days when people had jobs and a few stayed around to carry on the Island way. I guess the immigrants can learn the stories and tell them.

  • PEIsland gal
    June 19, 2013 - 10:46

    Make sure there is no asbestos or lead paint. They would make great community story and song gatherings to tell the history of the lighthouse and the history of the community. Tourists love that stuff.