Boars Head Lighthouse

Heritage Lighthouse

Tiverton, Nova Scotia
General view of Boars Head Lighthouse, 2011. (© Kraig Anderson -
General view
(© Kraig Anderson -
Address : Digby, Tiverton, Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2015-02-12
  • 1957 to 1957 (Construction)
  • 1864 to 1864 (Established)

Other Name(s):
  • Boars Head Lighthouse  (Designation Name)

Description of Historic Place

The Boars Head Lighthouse measures 11.6 metres (39 feet) and is a square, tapered, wood frame tower. Built in 1957, it is the second lighthouse on the site. The lighthouse sits on Long Island, 28 metres (93 feet) above the Petit Passage, a narrow pass that connects the Bay of Fundy to St. Mary’s Bay. A radar building, built in 1970, sits behind the lighthouse and is not visible from the shore.

Heritage Value

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

Historical values
The Boars Head Lighthouse is an excellent example of the development of aids to navigation along Nova Scotia’s coast. In 1864, just three years before Confederation, the first lighthouse was erected on Boars Head, at the entrance to the Petit Passage. Despite its navigational importance, the lighthouse was unable to prevent all wrecks in the area. Two ships were wrecked exactly one year apart, on March 16th of 1911 and 1912. The aging building was replaced by the current lighthouse in 1957.
The Boars Head Lighthouse is closely linked to the development of the Bay of Fundy fishery and the local fishery based in Tiverton, a town located less than one kilometer from Boars Head. Founded by Loyalists in 1787, by the mid 19th century Tiverton had developed into a local centre that serviced the Bay of Fundy fishery and the farming population of Long Island. The opening of the lighthouse in 1864 constituted official recognition of the importance of the fishing communities at Tiverton and along St. Mary’s Bay. The lighthouse is also vital to local shipping, as the Petit Passage is the shortest route from Saint John, New Brunswick to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Architectural values
The Boars Head Lighthouse is a very good example of a square, tapered, wooden tower. The lighthouse’s design is based on a standard Department of Transport plan and it is characterized by its balanced proportions, elegant profile, and uncomplicated detailing. The gracefully tapered tower and its classically inspired architectural details come together to make the Boars Head Lighthouse a striking and elegant structure.
The square, tapered, wooden tower of the Boars Head Lighthouse is an excellent design choice for its location. The design of square, tapered light towers has three advantages: the towers are movable, adaptable, and easily built. The simple yet elegant design of square, tapered towers made them inexpensive to build using local expertise and materials. For these reasons, the design remained a popular choice for Canadian lighthouses from its inception in the 1840s into the 21st century.

Community values
The Boars Head Lighthouse establishes the maritime and historic character of the surrounding area. Located on a flat, grassy precipice overlooking the Bay of Fundy and the entrance to Petit Passage, the lighthouse is highly visible from the water below. The lighthouse has historically been the most prominent structural element on Boars Head, which possesses no other structures that are visible from the sea.
The Boars Head Lighthouse is not only a symbol of Tiverton but also an emblem of the entire region. Boars Head, being easily accessible by land from Tiverton, is a popular picnicking spot for locals and tourists alike. An active aid to navigation, the lighthouse continues to welcome vessels approaching the Petit Passage from the Bay of Fundy.

Related buildings
There are no related buildings included in the designation.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character defining elements of the Boars Head Lighthouse should be respected:
— its prominent location as a major coastal light in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia;
— its intact, as built structural form, height, and balanced proportions based on the standard design of a square, tapered, wooden tower;
— its distinctive profile, consisting of a square, tapered, wooden tower;
— its square aluminum lantern with a pyramidal roof and vent;
— its crawl door, located just under the panes of the lantern and designed to give access to the gallery;
— its square gallery and railing supported by simple wooden brackets;
— its four paned windows, pedimented and positioned to illuminate the interior of the lighthouse;
— its sole entry, a wooden door framed by projecting vertical wooden sidebars which extend along both sides of the opening and rise to support a shallow pediment;
— its original shingle siding;
— its interior design, which gives access to the lantern;
— its traditional colour scheme, consisting of white for the tower, and red for the lantern, gallery railing, door, and roofs; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.