Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Big Shippegan, New Brunswick
General view of the Tower, 1986. (© Department of Transport (CCG) \ Ministère des Transports (GCC), 1986.)
General view
(© Department of Transport (CCG) \ Ministère des Transports (GCC), 1986.)
Address : Shippegan Gully, Big Shippegan, New Brunswick

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 1992-05-28
  • 1905 to 1906 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Department of Marine and Fisheries, Engineering Branch  (Architect)
Other Name(s):
  • Lighttower  (Other Name)
Custodian: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
FHBRO Report Reference: 90-099
DFRP Number: 04956 00

Description of Historic Place

The Tower at the entrance to Shippegan Gulley is a medium-height, tapered octagonal tower built to a standard design. Its simple form, constructed with wood, is distinguished by its prominent cove-profile cornice and classically inspired details. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

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

Architectural Value
The Tower is a good example of a wooden lighttower, built to a standard design, used by the Department of Marine and Fisheries during the early years of the 20th century. Its simple form displays some classically inspired details such as the projecting pedimented window and door hoods, the lantern platform and the flared cove.

Environmental Value
The Tower reinforces the simple character of its undeveloped coastal setting. It is an obvious landmark to mariners using the harbour, and highly visible to tourists visiting the adjacent sand dunes.

Sources: Gordon Fulton, Lighttower, Big Shippegan, New Brunswick, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 90-099; Lighttower, Big Shippegan, New Brunswick, Heritage Character Statement, 90-099.

Character-Defining Elements

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

Its standard design, with classically inspired details, for example: the simple symmetrical massing and profile of the tapered,medium-height octagonal structure; the horizontal wood shingles without corner boards, and the fine-scale boarding of the flared cove below the cornice; the projecting pedimented window and door hoods; the three line iron pipe railing projecting from the gallery lantern with distinctive articulated joints and ball knobs; the octagonal cast-iron lantern with a cone-topped ventilator; the paint scheme consisting of a white tower with red accents.

The manner in which the Tower reinforces the simple, natural character of the setting, and is a prominent landmark for mariners and tourists, as evidenced by: the simple form and appearance of the Tower that is in keeping with the simple undeveloped coastal setting; the high visibility of the Tower from the harbour and from the adjacent sand dunes which makes it a familiar in the area.

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.

The lighttower at the entrance to Shippegan Gulley was constructed in 1905-06. The design was prepared by the Engineering Branch of the Department of Marine and Fisheries. Alterations include replacement of the lantern, replacement of the wood crib foundation by a concrete foundation (1947) and removal of the first floor window (c. 1947). The internal stair was replaced in 1947. The building is currently a fully automated lighttower. The Canadian Coast Guard is the custodian. See FHBRO Building Report 90-99.

Reasons for Designation
The lighttower was designated Recognized for its environmental significance and its architectural importance as well as for its historical associations.

The Big Shippegan lighttower is prominently sited on a sand spit and maintains its historical relationship with the natural environment. To mariners using the harbour and tourists visiting the adjacent sand dunes, the lighttower is an obvious landmark.

The octagonal tower has a simple form and elegant proportions. The well-proportioned lantern contributes to the characteristic lighttower profile.

The lighttower is associated with campaigns to improve the safety of maritime commerce at coastal locations by building navigational aids. The simplicity and economy of construction reflect the desire of the government to expediently build a large quantity of lighttowers.

Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Big Shippegan lighttower resides in its overall massing, profile, architectural features, construction materials and site relationships.

The medium-height, tapered octagonal structure has a prominent cove-profile cornice which contributes to its graceful silhouette. The octagonal cast-iron lantern with cone-topped ventilator is well-proportioned to the scale of the tower. The symmetrical massing and profile, including the relationship of lantern to tower shaft, should be respected.

The simple form of the lighttower is enhanced by facades executed in white-painted horizontal wood shingles without corner boards, and the fine-scaled cove boarding below the cornice. The projecting pedimented window and door hoods, the lantern platform and the flared cove follow classical design precedents and add textural interest and visual contrast to the simple tower form. The construction materials are characteristic of this lighttower type and should be maintained.

The three-line iron pipe railing projecting from the gallery lantern has distinctive articulated joints and ball knobs. This configuration is appropriate to the functional nature of the lighttower. The paint scheme (white tower with red accents) is a striking feature contributing to the lighttower character.

The wood sash windows appear to reflect original design intentions. However, the first floor window glazing has been removed and replaced with solid panels. When the windows are being repaired, reinstallation of glazing should be considered as it would enhance the heritage character.

The simple, undeveloped setting is appropriate to the building and should be respected.