Ten years ago, the Government of Canada adopted the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, which identifies and protects lighthouses with heritage value. In the past decade, 97 lighthouses have been given protected status, including two added earlier this month: the Bayswater Lighthouse in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia’s Isaacs Harbour Lighthouse.
Lighthouses have a rich history in Canada, where they’ve been used since the 1700s not only to guide ships safely into harbour, but to issue weather warnings, assist aerial navigation, and offer search-and-rescue services. However, in recent years, maintenance costs and automation, as well as improvements to navigational tools onboard ships, have led to a decrease in their use. There are currently 51 staffed lighthouses in Canada, while the government has identified about 500 that are no longer in use.
Despite their decline as navigational tools, Canadians recognize the importance of lighthouses as a part of our culture and heritage. These beautiful structures are steeped in history and are an essential part of sea life and lore. Thanks to the Lighthouse Protection Act, many of them will remain where they are, as symbols of a storied past, for years to come.
So, to celebrate the newest additions, here are just a few of the lighthouses that are protected under the act.