Cap au Saumon Lighthouse

Heritage Lighthouse

La Malbaie, Quebec
General view of Cap au Saumon Light station (© Agence Parcs Canada | Parks Canada Agency, Marie-Claude Martel)
General view
(© Agence Parcs Canada | Parks Canada Agency, Marie-Claude Martel)
Address : Cap au Saumon, La Malbaie, Quebec

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2015-07-30
  • 1955 to 1955 (Construction)

Other Name(s):
  • Cap-Saumon Lighthouse  (Other Name)

Description of Historic Place

The Cap au Saumon Lighthouse is an octagonal, tapered, reinforced-concrete lighthouse built in 1955. It stands 14 metres (46 feet) tall, and it is the second lighthouse built on the site. The lighthouse is located on a remote rocky bluff on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River, surrounded by heavily wooded shoreline. The lighthouse and its related buildings are connected by a network of stairs and wooden walkways.

There are six related buildings on the site that contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse: (1) the 1955 Keeper's Dwelling, (2) the 1955 Assistant Keeper's Dwelling, (3) the 1955 Storage Shed, (4) the 1894 Fog Alarm Building, (5) the 1955 Pumphouse #1, and (6) the 1955 Pumphouse #2.

Heritage Value

The Cap au Saumon Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.

Historical values
The Cap au Saumon Lighthouse is an excellent example of the Canadian government's efforts to make navigation on the St. Lawrence River safer. As part of this program, a light was first installed at Cap au Saumon in 1894. The current lighthouse was built in 1955 as part of an effort to modernize aging lightstations in the 1950s and 1960s. The Cap au Saumon lightstation was kept by only two families between its construction and automation: the Bouchards (1894-1940) and the Carres (1940-1982).
While the Cap au Saumon Lighthouse has only a minor association with the nearby communities, it has nevertheless played a key role as a local aid to navigation on the St. Lawrence, permitting the safe operation of coastal ships, Atlantic steamers, and the local ferries that travel between the Lower St. Lawrence communities. With the help of lighthouses like the one at Cap au Saumon, the St. Lawrence would continue to serve as a major artery for economic development in Canada during the 2oth century.

Architectural values
The Cap au Saumon Lighthouse is an excellent example of an octagonal, tapered, reinforced concrete lighthouse. The lighthouse's form recalls the classically-inspired tripartite division of base, shaft, and capital that was popular in architectural circles in the early 2oth century. With its simple, clean lines, well-proportioned tapered tower, and red-and-white paint scheme, the lighthouse is a superb example of the traditional Canadian lighthouse design favoured in the 2oth century.
The Cap au Saumon Lighthouse is constructed of reinforced concrete and was built according to a standard Department of Transport plan. Reinforced concrete was used as early as 1906 and remained a popular choice into the late 2oth century because it is fire-resistant, durable and convenient. The lighthouse's condition is a testament of the high quality of materials and the high level of craftsmanship employed in its construction.

Community values
The Cap au Saumon Lighthouse sits on a magnificent rocky bluff, high above the waters of the St. Lawrence. By virtue of its elevated profile and site high above the water, the lighthouse is highly visible to passing ships and establishes the dramatic maritime setting of the area.

Related buildings
Six related buildings, as listed in section 1, contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Cap au Saumon Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location on a bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence River;
— its intact, as-built structural form, height, profile, and proportions;
— its octagonal, tapered structure of reinforced concrete;
— its original octagonal lantern topped by a vent;
— its flared cornice supporting an octagonal gallery and metal railing;
— its three window openings on the southeast elevation, surmounted by shallow, projecting lintels;
— its projecting entrance bay on the northvvest elevation, with a pedimented roof;
— its interior layout, with a ladder giving access to each level;
— its traditional exterior colour scheme, consisting of white for the tower and red for the trim, gallery, lantern, and roofs; 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; and,
— their contextual relationships to the lighthouse within an historic lightstation setting.