Cape Mudge Lighthouse
Quadra Island, British Columbia
(© Kraig Anderson - lighthousefriends.com)
Lighthouse Road, Cape Mudge, Quadra Island, British Columbia
Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
1916 to 1916
1898 to 1898
Description of Historic Place
The Cape Mudge Lighthouse is a 12-metre (40 feet) tall tapered, octagonal, reinforced-concrete tower surmounted by an octagonal lantern. The lighthouse is located on the southwestern-most coast of Quadra Island. Constructed in 1916, it is the second lighthouse on the site, having replaced the original lighthouse built in 1898. It marks the southern entrance of the Discovery Passage for passing commercial and recreational vessels.
The Cape Mudge Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.
There are four related buildings on the site that contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse: (1) the 2000 three-bedroom dwelling; (2) the 1965 single dwelling; (3) the 1971 fog alarm/engine room; and (4) the 1970 storage shed/garage.
The Cape Mudge Lighthouse is an excellent illustration of the emphasis placed in the early 20th century on upgrading lighthouses already in existence in British Columbia, rather than establishing ones in new locations. The lighthouse is also representative of the efforts of the federal government to establish aids to navigation along British Columbia’s treacherous coast. In the years since its establishment, the Cape Mudge lightstation has been an attractive post for lightkeepers given its proximity to urban centres and has also been an important search-and-rescue facility.
The Cape Mudge lightstation is strongly linked to the development of the Discovery Passage, an important shipping route that forms part of the Inside Passage between Alaska and Washington. As such, the lighthouse is closely associated with the development of Quadra Island and efficient shipping along the Inside Passage. The lighthouse is also closely linked to the Klondike Gold Rush, which transformed the West Coast from isolated outposts to permanent cities.
The Cape Mudge Lighthouse is an excellent example of the early generation of octagonal, reinforced-concrete lighthouses in Canada. It is a well-proportioned, four-storey tower with a flared cornice and octagonal lantern. It exhibits classical details such as windows capped with simple pediments, and features a well-defined base and elegantly tapered shaft which rises 12 metres to the lantern gallery. The lighthouse features the typical red-and-white colours common to Canadian lighthouses.
The Cape Mudge Lighthouse is in excellent overall condition. Its walls are 18 inches thick and extremely strong due to the ready availability of fresh water for the concrete mixture. Octagonal, reinforced-concrete towers were an effective design that became a departmental standard in the 20th century. Two foghorns protruding from an enclosed upper-level window on the tower are distinguishing elements on this tower and speak to the provision of an auditory aid to navigation at the lightstation.
The Cape Mudge Lighthouse reinforces its relatively rugged, isolated coastal site and at the southern tip of Quadra Island. It is the dominant building on the site and is surrounded by an evocative group of ancillary buildings, the whole being visible from the water and Campbell River.
The lighthouse is a well-known landmark and symbol of the local communities and remains a functional and important aid to navigation at the entrance of the Discovery Passage. It is a popular stop for visitors and residents alike, and accessible by automobile. It is known as a premier fishing destination and is the oldest standing building in the region.
Four related buildings, as listed in section 1, contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse.
The following character-defining elements of the Cape Mudge Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location on the southwestern-most coast of Quadra Island at the southern entrance of the Discovery Passage in British Columbia;
— its intact, as-built structural form, height, profile and balanced proportions based on the standard design of octagonal, reinforced-concrete towers constructed in the early 20th century;
— its flared cornice, surmounted by an octagonal red lantern and red railing;
— its two vertical tiers of windows, capped with simple pediments;
— its entrance, enclosed within a shed-roofed vestibule;
— its two foghorns protruding from an upper-level enclosed window;
— its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme, consisting of a white tower and red lantern; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.
The following character-defining elements of the related buildings should be respected:
— their respective built forms, profiles, and proportions;
— their traditional red and white exterior colour schemes;
— their contextual relationships to the lighthouse within an historic lightstation setting.