The St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse is a 10.4-metre square, tapered wooden tower with a superimposed gallery and an unusual hexagonal lantern on top. This lighthouse, built around 1878, has been moved several times, demonstrating the architecture’s portability and the island’s changing coastline. It is situated on the north shore of Prince Edward Island, on the west side of the St. Peters Bay entrance.
The St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse is designated as a heritage lighthouse due to its historical, architectural, and community values.
St. Peters Harbour, which is 300 years old, has Acadian roots dating back to 1719, when it was the first French settlement on this shore. In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, it grew into an important fishing and shipbuilding community. The original light in this location was one of sixteen pre-Confederation lights on PEI.
The current lighthouse, as well as the original, served as a navigational aid to the thriving fishing community of St. Peters Harbour, an industry that continues to this day. After the harbour was abandoned in 1951, the current lighthouse became a warning light, and it was decommissioned entirely in 2008. It has recently become visually associated with the Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada across the bay.
The St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse is a straightforward but well-executed example of a square, tapered wooden tower with a gallery superimposed. This 10.4-meter-tall tower features an unusual hexagonal lantern.
Aside from the unusual lantern, this architectural pattern was the Department of Marine and Fisheries’ preferred design in the nineteenth century and beyond. It is strong, portable, simple to construct, and inexpensive. It also has natural interior lighting from its windows, as well as a gallery for external lantern work. The lighthouse has withstood over 130 years of weather exposure in Atlantic Canada, a testament to its materials, craftsmanship, and historical preservation.
Values in the community
The lighthouse is a poignant reminder of this region’s maritime history, nestled among large dunes on PEI’s north shore, in a remote location on the western shore of St. Peters Bay. The site is devoid of urban development because it is located in a provincially protected area. The movement of the lighthouse away from the water reflects the changing coastline of Prince Edward Island.
Video provided by Mike Adam of RiverVids
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