McNab Point Lighthouse

Heritage Lighthouse

Saugeen Shores, Ontario
Corner view of McNab Point Lighthouse (© Kraig Anderson -
McNab Point Lighthouse
(© Kraig Anderson -
Address : Bayview Point, Southampton, Saugeen Shores, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2012-08-02
  • 1877 to 1877 (Construction)
  • 1901 to 1901 (Established)

Other Name(s):
  • McNab Point Lighthouse  (Designation Name)

Description of Historic Place

The McNab Point Lighthouse is a 8.5 metre (28 ft) square wooden structure with tapered walls, surmounted by an iron lantern and a cylindrical ventilator; unlike many similar towers it has no gallery. Constructed in 1877 as part of a major harbour improvement project, it was relocated from the northern tip of Horseshoe Bay to its present location on McNab Point in 1901. The tower is painted white with red trim and lantern.

Heritage Value

The McNab Point Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.

Historical values
As a lighthouse that guided maritime traffic into Southampton harbour for more than a century, the McNab Point Lighthouse is a very good example of the system of marine aids to navigation developed for the Great Lakes.
Constructed as part of a refuge harbour established in the lee of Chantry Island in the 1870s, the McNab Point Lighthouse was an integral component in the port’s economic development and it illustrates Southampton’s development into a regional hub for the north east shore of Lake Huron.

Architectural values
The McNab Point Lighthouse is a very good example of the ‘pepper pot’ design favoured for Canadian lighthouses through much of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Designed without a gallery, the lighthouse’s square iron lantern forms a well proportioned and balanced apex to the tapered tower.
Adaptable, light and easy to relocate, the McNab Point Lighthouse proved very well suited for its role as a rear range light and, later, as an independent harbour light. Having withstood more than a century of exposure to Lake Huron weather, the McNab Point Lighthouse is a tribute to its materials, craftsmanship and maintenance.

Community values
From the vantage of the water, the lighthouse visually indicates the presence of a maritime community. In association with the nearby Chantry Island, Saugeen River Front Range, and Saugeen River Rear Range lights, it establishes the area’s maritime character.
The McNab Point Lighthouse is a highly valued resource for the small port community of Southampton, with its history rooted in maritime trade and commercial fishing. Southampton is now a tourist destination that thrives on its maritime heritage. With its traditional white and red colour scheme, the McNab Point Lighthouse is an important element of that heritage.

Related buildings
No related buildings are included in the designation.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the McNab Point Lighthouse should be respected: its location near the water’s edge at McNab Point; its relationship to the adjacent landscape and water; its intact, as-built form and proportions, based on the standard design of square, tapered, wooden towers; its square wooden structure of timber frame construction with tapered sides rising from a square base; its iron lantern with cylindrical metal ventilator; the absence of a gallery surrounding its lantern; its sole entry door, raised slightly above ground level, that projects from the plane of the east façade and surmounted by a shed roof; its six-pane window, integrated into the plane of the north façade; rugged cedar shingles cladding its sloping sides; its fieldstone foundation; its traditional colour scheme, consisting of white for the tower and red accenting for the trim outlining the entry door, the trim outlining the window on the north façade, and the iron lantern.