Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse

Heritage Lighthouse

Hecla / Grindstone Provincial Park, Manitoba
General view showing Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse - a square, tapered, wooden tower - and, on its right, Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse (© Marvin Benson)
General view
(© Marvin Benson)
Address : Lighthouse Trail, Hecla Island, Hecla / Grindstone Provincial Park, Manitoba

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2016-06-14
  • 1898 to 1898 (Construction)
  • 1898 to 1898 (Established)

Other Name(s):
  • Old Gull Harbour Lighthouse  (Other Name)
  • Original Gull Harbour Lighthouse  (Other Name)

Description of Historic Place

The Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse is located on Hecla Island on a small spit of land projecting into Lake Winnipeg. The lighthouse measures 8.2 metres (26.9 feet) from base to vane, and is a traditional wooden square-tapered design. It stood watch over the channel between Hecla Island and Black Island until it was replaced by a taller structure in 1926.

Heritage Value

The Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.

Historical values
The Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse is an excellent illustration of the expansion of maritime commerce on Lake Winnipeg. As fishing and the lumber trade expanded into the area, marine traffic on the lake increased. When it was established at the turn of the 20th century, the Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse was vital to the navigation through the narrows of Lake Winnipeg, part of the primary transportation routes traversing the region.
The Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse supported the expanding economy of Hecla Island and Lake Winnipeg by ensuring a safe and efficient passage for the fishing and commercial traffic on Lake Winnipeg. It was very important to the water-based industry of the area as commercial fishing was the main economic activity in this Icelandic settlement. Gull Harbour, specifically, served as a strategic centre for the fisheries of Lake Winnipeg. The lighthouse served fishing boats and barges carrying a variety of material between the various lakeports and Selkirk and Winnipeg.

Architectural values
Composed of a wood-frame, wood shingle-clad tower, the Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse is a very good example of a square tapered wooden tower design built at the turn of the 20th century. The tower is well proportioned and tapers elegantly up from a square base. The tower is topped by a simple gallery and square wooden lantern, and a pedimented door sits in the south façade.
The Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse is an excellent example of a typical square-tapered wooden tower design. The design, favoured by the Department of Marine and Fisheries, is economical to construct, flexible and easy to maintain. The structure’s low centre of gravity makes it sturdy enough to withstand frequent moves and strong winds or waves. The lighthouse’s design is perfectly suited for the maritime conditions of Hecla Island.

Community values
The Gull Harbour (1898) and Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouses are unique as a pair. However, the Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse maintains its visual prominence being the first structure on the spit of land protruding out into Lake Winnipeg. It reinforces the maritime character of the area and it is a reminder of Hecla Island’s storied past.
The Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse has an important place in the history of Hecla Island and it is a symbolic reminder of the island’s economic and social history. The lighthouse is a well-known landmark to both long-time residents of the area and tourists visiting the Hecla/ Grindstone Provincial Park. It is highly valued by the local community.

Related buildings
No related buildings are included in the designation.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse should be respected: its location on Hecla Island, on Lake Winnipeg; its intact, as-built form and proportions, based on the standard design of square, tapered, wooden towers; its wooden frame structure with tapered sides rising from a square base; its tower’s exterior shingles; its pedimented door and window; its three-sided superimposed gallery, supported by long wooden brackets; its square wooden lantern with pyramidal roof; its traditional exterior colour scheme, consisting of white for the tower, lantern and gallery, and red for the lantern roof, and door and window trim; and, its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.