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Learn More About Heritage Lighthouse, Margaretsville, Nova Scotia

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Heritage Lighthouse
Photo Credit: Parks Canada

Heritage Value

The Margaretsville Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.

Margaretsville Lighthouse is a 9.7-meter-square tapered lighthouse with white painted shingles and a black horizontal daymark. It is a coastal light on a small point in Nova Scotia that projects into the Bay of Fundy. It was the first lighthouse on this site, built in 1859.

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Margaretsville Lighthouse is a great example of many Canadian lighthouse themes, such as aids to navigation expansion, lightkeeping, and shipwrecks. It was one of the first lighthouses built on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy. Ruth Earley, keeper from 1907 to 1910, was one of the first women in Nova Scotia to hold the position.

Sir Brenton Halliburton, Chief Justice of Nova Scotia, donated the land for the lighthouse. Margaretsville served as a transportation hub, connecting the shipping route from Saint John, New Brunswick to the railways of Nova Scotia. The light also served a thriving regional fishing industry.

Heritage Lighthouse
Photograph courtesy Nova Scotia Archives and Records

The Margaretsville Lighthouse is an excellent example of a wooden square tower lighthouse. It was made of heavy timbers and had a broad base with a slight taper. On top, there is a gallery and a square lantern with a minimal cornice. On the inland side, there is a door to the lantern, but no glass; instead, it is clad in shingles. Below the rectangular panes of glass, the other three sides of the lantern are also shingled. The lighthouse’s colour scheme is distinctive, with a broad horizontal black daymark and a black roof on the lantern, which is unique in Nova Scotia.

The Margaretsville Lighthouse is a fantastic early prototype of the square wooden tower lighthouse design. The squat appearance and impression of durability were aided by the heavy timber construction. This design was low-cost and simple to maintain, and it could be built quickly by local contractors using local materials.

The Margaretsville Lighthouse adds to the area’s maritime feel. It is the tallest structure on the point, surrounded by a number of small dwellings. At low tide, the rocky shore below the lighthouse is visible, and a nearby wharf offers views of the lighthouse.

The Margaretsville Lighthouse’s following character-defining elements should be respected: its location as a coastal light along the Bay of Fundy; its intact, as-built structural form, height, profile, and balanced proportions of the design of square, tapered, wooden towers; its square lantern room with a pyramidal-hipped roof with finial; its superimposed square gallery supported by a narrow cornice; its white painted railing that surrounds the gallery; and its wood shimmies.

Margaretsville (population 212) is a rural community in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, Canada. Margaretsville, once a bustling port in the early 1900s, is now a tranquil seaside community popular with tourists, artists, and retirees.

The lighthouse continues to draw artists, tourists, and locals who use it for weddings and other community events. It is still a much-loved Margaretsville symbol.

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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