Coldspring Head Lighthouse

Heritage Lighthouse

Northport, Nova Scotia
Corner view of Coldspring Head, 2008. (© Kraig Anderson -
Corner view
(© Kraig Anderson -
Address : Tyndal Road, Coldspring Head, Northport, Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2015-05-29
  • 1889 to 1889 (Construction)
  • 1890 to 1890 (Established)

Description of Historic Place

The Coldspring Head Lighthouse is an 11-metre (35 feet) square, tapered, wooden lighthouse surmounted by a superimposed gallery and a red hexagonal lantern. Constructed in 1889, the lighthouse aided local and regional traffic as they entered and left Baie Verte. It is located at the entrance of Baie Verte in the Northumberland Strait.

Heritage Value

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

Historical values
The Coldspring Head Lighthouse is a very good example of the theme of improving the safety of maritime commerce. It is representative of the federal government’s efforts to expediently and economically light Canada’s major coastlines. The lighthouse is also associated with the failed maritime engineering project of the Chignecto Ship Railway as it was built in anticipation of increased maritime traffic.
The lighthouse is a very good example of the socio-economic development of Northport. For over a century, it was a valuable navigational aid for local and regional fishermen and tradeships, guiding the vessels in and out of Baie Verte.

Architectural values
The Coldspring Head Lighthouse is a very good example of a square, tapered, wooden tower, in use in Canada in various forms since the mid-19th century. The Coldspring Head example features a classically inspired frieze, comprised of a series of ornate brackets below the lantern gallery.
The lighthouse displays a very good quality of design, craftsmanship, and functionality, and has proven to be very durable, due in part to its low centre of gravity, sufficient mass and heavy timber framing. Equipped with its original lantern the lighthouse has successfully fulfilled its role as a navigational aid for over a century.

Community values
The Coldspring Head Lighthouse is highly valued by the surrounding communities. It is a well-known landmark to local year-round and seasonal residents, as well as tourists.

Related buildings
No related buildings are included in the designation.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Coldspring Head Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location at the entrance of Baie Verte in the Northumberland Strait in Nova Scotia;
— its intact, as-built structural form, height, profile and balanced proportions based on a standard design of square, tapered, wooden towers;
— its original hexagonal metal and glass lantern bearing a wind-driven ventilator;
— its exterior walls covered with shingles;
— its classically inspired elements, including a frieze, comprised of a series of ornate brackets
— its projecting plain pediments above the door and windows;
— its superimposed gallery;
— its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.