Recognized Federal Heritage Building
© Canadian Coast Guard / Garde côtière canadienne, 1990.
Killarney East Lightstation, Killarney, Ontario
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1909 to 1909
Event, Person, Organization:
Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada
Killarney East Lighthouse
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
The Tower stands sentinel on the North Channel of Georgian Bay, at Killarney East. The short, sturdy, square-tapered tower features a projecting gallery with handrail topped by a prominent lantern. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Tower is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Tower is closely associated with the post-Confederation building campaign to improve maritime safety by constructing an extensive network of coastal lights. The simplicity of design and economy of construction reflect the desire of the government to expediently build a large number of towers in a cost-efficient manner.
The Tower is a good aesthetic design and an early example of a square-tapered wooden tower of the type identified by a flared cornice. The tower has a substantial taper, heavy cornice treatment, and a prominent gallery. Its simple design and use of timber construction was a pragmatic solution to provide lights to harbours inexpensively. The Tower’s design enabled its relocation, if necessary, to suit shifting water channels, or to avoid coastal erosion.
The Tower is compatible with the present maritime character of Killarney and is familiar to the fishing community and to visitors.
Sources: Martha Phemister and Gordon Fulton, Informal Building Reports, Square Tapered Wooden Tower, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 90-193; Killarney East Tower, Killarney, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 90-193.
The character-defining elements of the Tower should be respected.
Its functional, classical revival-inspired design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example: the two-storey, square-tapered massing of the short tower with flared cornice; the walkway with guardrail and prominent lantern with octagonal light enclosure; the wood construction and cladding; the detailing around the windows and entrance.
The manner in which the Tower is compatible with the character of its maritime setting and is well known in the region, as evidenced by: the simple design and form, which complement the natural setting; the high visibility of the Tower to passing commercial marine traffic which make it known in the area.
Heritage Character Statement
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 Killarney was constructed in 1866-67. It was built by Charles Perry. The building is currently a fully automated lighttower. The Canadian Coast Guard is the custodian. See FHBRO Building Report 90-193.
Reasons For Designation
The lighttower was designated Recognized because of its architectural importance and environmental significance, and also for its historical associations.
The flared or coved cornice was carefully designed to add to the aesthetic appeal of this tower type. The overall detailing is simple reflecting its singular purpose, classically inspired detailing in the pediments with a fine-scaled and elegant flared cornice being the features of the design. The tower is relatively short and employs heavy timber construction, intended to be easily relocated to suit shifting channels.
The scale of the lighttower is compatible with the surroundings and it functions as an important marker in the coastal environment. The location and function contribute to the importance of the building in its setting. The building is well known and contributes to the maritime character of the site.
The lighttower is associated with the post-Confederation building campaign to improve maritime safety by building an extensive network of coastal lights. The simplicity and economy of construction reflect the desire of the government to expediently build a large number of lighttowers. The lighttower represents a pragmatic solution to provide lights to eastern coasts and harbours inexpensively. This is reflected in the use of less expensive wood construction.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Killarney lighttower resides in its overall massing, proportions, architectural details, construction materials, and site relationships.
The lighttower is defined by the two-storey tapered, square mass. The footprint is square. The `pepperpot' profile with prominent lantern and simple footprint should be respected. The tower supports a square lantern with a simple design contributing to a sturdy and durable appearance. The proportional relationship of tower to lantern should be respected. The window and door locations reinforce the symmetry of the basic design and contribute to the visual interest of the tower.
The picturesque qualities of the building derive from the contrast of the cladding with the larger scaled details of the window hoods. The visual richness created by these textural and material contrasts should be respected. The current prefinished horizontal metal siding and flashing have an inappropriately wide profile with minimal trim details. The colour and texture of the prefinished metal does not follow traditional material precedents. When the siding is being replaced, it should reflect historic precedent for materials and colours. The painted steel handrail and octagonal light enclosure are a utilitarian feature of the design, reflecting the early industrial character of these components, and should be maintained.
The multi-paned wood sash windows appear to be sympathetic to the original design, and should be maintained. The wood entrance door appears to be a modern replacement with simpler detailing and when being replaced it would be appropriate to select a door reflecting historic precedent.
Surviving features and finishes of the original interiors should be documented and maintained.
The open, undeveloped site should be maintained. The signage, when being replaced, should be a seperate installation to reduce the physical impact on the heritage character.