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East Point Lighthouse also celebrating 150th birthday this weekend


Published on June 27, 2017

Nova MacIsaac finds herself busier than normal these days as the site manager at East Point Lighthouse. While Islanders will be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday on Saturday, the lighthouse will also be marking 150 years of steady operation.

©THE GUARDIAN/Dave Stewart

The East Point Lighthouse will be blowing out some extra birthday candles on Saturday.

That’s because in addition to celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday it will be marking 150 years as the lighthouse on P.E.I.’s most eastern tip.

“It’s been in operation steadily since 1867, and we’ve determined with the help of the Canadian Coast Guard in Ottawa . . . that it was the only lighthouse in Canada that was built the same year as Confederation and is still operating today,’’ said Nova MacIsaac, site manager at East Point Lighthouse.

According to records, there were two lighthouses built in Canada in 1867 — one at East Point, P.E.I., and another at East Iron Bound Island, Lunenburg County, N.S.

However, MacIsaac said the Nova Scotia lighthouse met with some tragic circumstances.

We only get to do this once. We’re only 150 once. We want to do it right. It’s a very historic light, very iconic.

Nova MacIsaac

Three years after it was built, the East Iron Bound Island lighthouse was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

“When they got around to rebuilding it, (it was) post-Confederation and it’s not the same. It wasn’t the same building and you’re not on the same site. Then, we were able to say, and verify, that we were the only ones.’’

To mark its 150th birthday, the lighthouse is putting on a special concert Saturday, headlined by local artists, and Juno Award winners The East Pointers. The show goes 7-9 p.m. at the Eastern Kings Community Centre.

A variety concert follows on Canada Day, 7-9 p.m., with cake and special molasses cookies, a nod to the day when shipwrecks used to deposit kegs of rum and molasses into the sea to be picked up by local fishermen.

“You know with shipwrecks that happened here they weren’t going to let kegs of rum go to waste or kegs of molasses or whatever they could salvage.’’

East Point Lighthouse has been a popular stop over the years, averaging about 40,000 people a year. MacIsaac says numbers are up about 30 per cent already this year.

She says people are quite surprised when told that the lighthouse has something in common with the country this weekend. So, it seems only fitting to go the extra mile with a concert and variety show.

“We only get to do this once. We’re only 150 once. We want to do it right. It’s a very historic light, very iconic.’’