Heritage Lighthouses of Canada

Point Clark Lighthouse National Historic Site Point Clark Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada
© Parks Canada

Conservation

The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act protects the heritage character of heritage lighthouses.

Once designated, the Act requires that heritage lighthouses be reasonably maintained and that alterations be consistent with national and international standards for conservation.

Conservation of heritage lighthouses owned by the federal government

In May 2010, the Minister responsible for Parks Canada approved the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada (the Standards and Guidelines) to guide the maintenance and alteration of heritage lighthouses owned by the federal government.

The use and application of the Standards and Guidelines fully meet the requirements of the Act as: 

  • they are based on internationally recognized conservation charters, principles and practices; 
  • they were developed to be applicable to all types of cultural resources; 
  • they are already used as the benchmark for assessing proposed interventions on Government of Canada historic places; and 
  • they have attained a broad recognition across the country thereby permitting a pan-Canadian approach to the conservation of heritage lighthouses.

Conservation of heritage lighthouses owned by non-federal owners

All non-federal owners of heritage lighthouses will be encouraged to adopt the Standards and Guidelines to guide their conservation efforts.

Additionally, the international lighthouse conservation community has produced comprehensive guides and manuals specific to the care and maintenance of lighthouse buildings and equipment.

Notably, the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) has produced several documents on the conservation of lighthouses, including a comprehensive Lighthouse Conservation Manual. The IALA lists their publications on their web site (www.iala-aism.org) and they are available for purchase directly from the Association. The US National Park Service has also published a “Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook” (www.nps.gov/maritime/handbook.htm).

Protection

The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act protects the heritage character of heritage lighthouses that are sold or transferred out of the federal portfolio.

The Act requires that any sale or transfer of a heritage lighthouse provide for the protection of its heritage character. There are a variety of legal tools to achieve this and the type of protection will vary depending upon the location of the lighthouse.

Additionally, the Act requires that the public be given notice prior to any sale or transfer of a heritage lighthouse out of the federal portfolio. Specifically, the Act requires that: 

  • a notice be published at least 90 days before any sale or transfer of a heritage lighthouse in one or more newspapers in the area where the lighthouse is located; 
  • a public meeting be held in the area where the lighthouse is located, unless the sale or transfer is to a municipality or to a person or body that is acquiring the heritage lighthouse for a public purpose.

The Act also requires public notices and public meetings if the demolition of a heritage lighthouse is proposed, unless such demolition is in response to an emergency situation or an urgent operational requirement.