Bois Blanc Lighthouse and Blockhouse National Historic Site of Canada © Parks Canada
Let us help you connect to some helpful online resources!
Canadian Register of Historic Places
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act Implementation
Department of Justice Canada
Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Directory of Federal Real Property
The Minister and Chair of the Board appointed a Consultative Group to provide strategic advice to the Board with respect to its role as the Minister's advisory committee under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. Members are as follows:
Hon. Pat Carney, PC, CM, Saturna Island BC - Chairperson
President, Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society
MP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound (Ontario)
President, Corporation des gestionnaires de phares de l'estuaire et du golfe Saint-Laurent
Chair, Cove Island Lightstation Heritage Association
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Questions? We have answers.
Q 1: What is the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act?
The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act is a law designed to protect lighthouses owned by the federal government that have significant heritage value. The Act protects the heritage character of designated lighthouses and requires that they be reasonably maintained. Subject to certain conditions, heritage lighthouses may be sold or transferred to other levels of government, to not-for-profit community organizations, or to individuals in order to promote new uses and to ensure their long-term protection.
Q 2: How did lighthouses become nominated for heritage designation?
A public petition process was established to enable residents of Canada to nominate lighthouses important to them for designation. The petition process ran for two years, from 29 May 2010 to 29 May 2012. Petitions had to specify which lighthouse was being nominated and be signed by at least 25 residents of Canada 18 years of age or older. Any lighthouse in Canada owned by the federal government was eligible to be nominated for designation under the Act.
Q 3: How are heritage lighthouses designated?
The Minister responsible for Parks Canada (the Minister of the Environment) may designate a lighthouse as a heritage lighthouse. In deciding whether or not to designate, the Minister must take into account the established criteria adopted for the purposes of the Act and must consider the advice of an advisory committee that advises and assists on matters relating to heritage lighthouses. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada acts as the Minister’s advisory committee for all matters relating to heritage lighthouses, including their designation.
More detailed information on the designation process can be found on our Evaluation & Designation page.
Q 4: What are the designation criteria?
The designation criteria are designed to identify and articulate the historical, architectural and community values of Canadian lighthouses. A lighthouse that is found to have sufficient heritage value may be designated as a “heritage lighthouse”. Related buildings, such as a keeper’s residence or fog alarm building, may be included in a designation if they contribute to the lighthouse’s heritage character.
The designation criteria are posted on our Evaluation & Designation page.
Q 5: Are Parks Canada’s lighthouses eligible for designation?
Yes. Parks Canada administers 11 lighthouses, all of which have been nominated to be considered for heritage lighthouse designation. The Parks Canada administered lighthouses are used for various program requirements, including interpretation, visitor facilities and the protection of species at risk. None of the Parks Canada administered lighthouses will be made surplus.
- Active Pass Lightstation (within Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada), BC
- Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse and Blockhouse National Historic Site of Canada, ON
- Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada, NL
- East Point Lightstation (within Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada), BC
- Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada, BC
- Flowerpot Island Lightstation (within Fathom Five National Marine Conservation Area of Canada), ON
- Point Clark Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada, ON
- Pointe-au-Père Lighthouses National Historic Site of Canada, QC
- Portlock Point Lightstation (within Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada), BC
- Prince Edward Point Lighthouse (within Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area), ON
- Windmill Lighthouse (Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site of Canada), ON
Q 6: What is a “surplus” lighthouse? Can a surplus lighthouse be designated?
A surplus lighthouse is one that is surplus to federal operational requirements. It may or may not contain an active aid to navigation. Under the Act, a surplus lighthouse that meets the designation criteria may be designated if a person or body submits a written commitment to buy or otherwise acquire the lighthouse and protect its heritage character. A written commitment did not need to accompany a petition, as the terms and conditions for the sale or transfer of a surplus lighthouse are negotiated and finalized between DFO and the person or body wishing to buy or otherwise acquire a surplus lighthouse.
The Act required all federal Ministers who administer lighthouses to maintain and make accessible to the public during the two-year petitioning period (29 May 2010 – 29 May 2012) a list of all lighthouses considered to be surplus to operational requirements. None of Parks Canada’s lighthouses are surplus to operational requirements. Please consult with Fisheries and Oceans Canada for information on surplus lighthouses under its administration.
Q 7: If I signed a petition for the designation of a surplus lighthouse, am I obligated to acquire the lighthouse?
No. A petition only served to nominate a lighthouse to be considered for designation as a heritage lighthouse. A petition’s signatories may be but do not need to be part of a body that intends to buy or otherwise acquire the lighthouse and protect its heritage character.
Q 8: What are the ongoing responsibilities for a group after taking ownership of a heritage lighthouse?
New owners will be required to respect the heritage character of the heritage lighthouse and of any related buildings that are included in the designation.
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. All non-federal owners of heritage lighthouses will be encouraged to adopt the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada to guide their conservation efforts.
Q 9: What are the Heritage Lighthouse Program’s key dates?
The Act came into force on 29 May 2010 and the two-year petitioning period began. The two-year petitioning period ended on 29 May 2012. All petitions must have been evaluated and any resulting designation made by the Minister by 29 May 2015. Results of the program must be published in the Canada Gazette by 27 August 2015.
Q 10: What if I have a question not listed here?
You are welcome to contact the Heritage Lighthouse Program office for any questions you may have.