Light Tower and Dwelling

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Blockhouse Point, Prince Edward Island
General view of the Light Tower and Dwelling, showing the massing which is comprised of a square, tapered medium-height tower attached to a two-storey, flat-roofed dwelling, circa 1990. (© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, circa / vers 1990.)
General view
(© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, circa / vers 1990.)
Address : Blockhouse Point, Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 1991-09-05
Dates:
  • 1876 to 1876 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Department of Marine and Fisheries  (Architect)
Custodian: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
FHBRO Report Reference: 90-251
DFRP Number: 02072 00

Description of Historic Place

The Light Tower and Dwelling is located on a flat, coastal landscape at Blockhouse Point. It is a square-tapered, medium-height tower attached to a two-storey, flat-roofed structure, both of which are clad in white-painted wood siding. A prominent red chimney projects from the roof of the dwelling and a red-painted steel and glass lantern with a gallery guardrail crowns the tower. The picturesque ensemble features a coved cornice, red trim around the multi-pane wood sash windows and large-scale details on the tower windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Light Tower and Dwelling is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
The Light Tower and Dwelling is associated with the post-Confederation building campaigns to improve maritime safety by building an extensive network of coastal lights. The inclusion of dwellings at the lighttowers reflected the importance of maintaining the lights at these locations.

Architectural Value
The Light Tower and Dwelling is valued for its very good aesthetic design. The medium height, square tapered tower with attached dwelling, is a picturesque example of this lighttower type. Constructed of wood, the Light Tower and Dwelling exhibits the simplified and smooth appearance typical of marine buildings. The good functional layout of the building reflected departmental guidelines in providing ample room for the keeper and his family. Displaying good craftsmanship, both the Light Tower and Dwelling have coved cornices.

Environmental Value
The Light Tower and Dwelling is compatible with the maritime character of its picturesque coastal setting and is a well-known landmark in the region.

Sources: Lighttower, Blockhouse Point, Prince Edward Island, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 90-251; Lighttower, Blockhouse Point, Prince Edward Island, Heritage Character Statement, 90-251.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Light Tower and Dwelling should be respected.

Its very good aesthetic design, good functional design and good craftsmanship and materials, for example: the massing which is comprised of a square, tapered medium-height tower attached to a two-storey, flat-roofed dwelling; the offset square tower footprint which intersects the larger square footprint of the dwelling; the picturesque profile that includes the prominent chimney, coved cornice, the gallery guardrail and the painted steel and glass lantern that is appropriately proportioned to the tower; the white wood siding and red trim of the tower shaft and dwelling; the smooth, larger-scaled detailing of the windows, coved cornice, and the gallery guardrails; the multi-pane wood sash windows; the surviving finishes and features of the original interior.

The manner in which the Light Tower and Dwelling is compatible with the maritime character of its picturesque coastal setting and is a well-known landmark within the area, as evidenced by: its overall scale, massing, design and materials, which complement the picturesque, flat coastal landscape; its visibility within the area and its role as an important marker of the associated remote coastal environment which makes it a local landmark.

Heritage Character Statement

Disclaimer - The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.

This lighttower with attached dwelling was constructed in 1876 to a design by the Department of Marine and Fisheries. Alterations to the tower and dwelling include the replacement of cross-braced guardrails, window heads, and partial removal of the residence verandah. The light is currently fully automated and the dwelling is leased. The custodian is the Canadian Coast Guard. See FHBRO Building Report 90-251.

Reasons for Designation

The lighthouse was designated Recognized for its architectural importance and environmental significance and also for its historical associations.

The medium height, square tapered lighttower attached to a dwelling is a picturesque example of the lighttower type. This wooden lighttower exhibits the sleek, simplified, and smooth appearance typical of marine buildings. The lighttower and dwelling both have coved cornices. The lay-out of this building reflected departmental guidelines in providing ample room for the keeper and his family.

The scale and silhouette of the lighttower is compatible with the associated flat, coastal landscape. The lighttower functions as an important marker of the associated remote coastal environment. The building is well known in its locale and contributes to the maritime character of the site.

The lighttower is associated with post-Confederation building campaigns to improve maritime safety by building an extensive network of coastal lights. The inclusion of dwellings at the lighttowers reflected the importance of maintaining the lights at these locations.

Character Defining Elements

The heritage character of Blockhouse Point lighttower resides in its overall massing, profile, architectural features and construction materials, and site relationships.

The lighttower massing is comprised of a square, tapered medium-height tower attached to a two-storey flat-roofed structure. The offset square tower footprint intersects the larger square footprint of the dwelling. The massing and footprint reflect internal functions, and the clarity of this expression should be maintained. The picturesque profile includes the prominent chimney, coved cornice, the gallery guardrail and lantern which should be maintained. The lantern is a prominent feature, appropriately proportioned to the tower, and contributing to the sturdy and durable appearance.

The picturesque quality of the building derives from the simplicity of the details of the wood siding of the tower shaft and dwelling, which contrasts with the smooth, larger-scaled detailing of the windows, coved cornice, and the gallery guardrails. These contrasts create the main textural and material contrasts and should be respected. The painted steel and glass detailing of the lantern housing is expressive of the industrial character of this component. The wood siding, trims, and steel would benefit from an ongoing maintenance program employing conservation expertise.

The multi-paned wood sash windows are sympathetic to the heritage character, and should be maintained. The wood entrance doors appear to be modern replacements with simpler detailing. At the end of their life selecting replacement doors which reflect the age of the structure would improve the heritage character.

Surviving features and finishes of the original interiors should be documented and maintained.

The setting of the Blockhouse Point lighttower appears to have undergone the most change, with the loss of solid timber fencing, and the addition of a palisade timber planter that complicates the intended simple ground plane at the building base. When the planter is at the end of its life it should not be replaced.