The Point Prim Lighthouse Society hosted an open house on Saturday to celebrate the group’s recent acquisition of the lighthouse while also showcasing new improvements to the more than 170-year-old structure.
The past year has seen the construction of a new Keeper’s Cottage, a reinforced seawall, an open air pavilion, expanded parking and a fresh coat of paint.
Lighthouse assistant supervisor Camillea Dean, noted that many in the crowd on Saturday were descendants of lighthouse keepers.
“It’s a really big thing for the community,” said Dean. “A lot of work has been put into this and everyone has extremely positive feedback.”
Supervisor Steven Taran, said many in the community have a deep personal connection to the lighthouse and take a lot of pride in the structure.
“A lot of the people that live in the community can trace one of their ancestors back to being an original lighthouse keeper,’ he said. “The community is really involved and committed in keeping this lighthouse maintained and keeping the property beautiful.”
The structure was finished in 1846 and is the oldest lighthouse on P.E.I.
It is also the province’s only round brick lighthouse and sees more than 20,000 visitors from around the world every summer.
The new cottage will act as a gift shop, while also providing an interpretative space and indoor bathrooms.
Taran noted the gift shop supports local artisans, with all items created by individuals living within about 15 km of the lighthouse.
The upgrades will also help the sustainability of the property, which has seen more than four acres of its shoreline eroded away since the lighthouse’s construction.
“It’s really important to continue doing what we can to save it,” said Taran.
The upgrades were made possible through $318,042 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's Innovative Communities Fund and $74,492 from Heritage Canada's Canada Cultural Spaces Fund.
Doreen Huestis, treasurer for the society, thanked government for the funding.
“We strive to provide tourists with an unforgettable cultural experience, and these upgrades will allow people to enjoy the lighthouse for years to come,” said Huestis. “These contributions will help us to keep P.E.I.’s oldest lighthouse shining into the future.”
The lighthouse is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until October.