Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse

Heritage Lighthouse

Grindstone Provincial Park, Manitoba
General view showing Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse - the wooden square-tapered tower mounted on a four-segment tapered steel tower - and the  Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse on the left. (© Marvin Benson)
General view
(© Marvin Benson)
Address : Lighthouse Trail, Hecla Island, Grindstone Provincial Park, Manitoba

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2016-06-14
  • 1929 to 1929 (Construction)
  • 1898 to 1898 (Established)

Other Name(s):
  • New Gull Harbour Lighthouse  (Other Name)
  • Second Gull Harbour Lighthouse  (Other Name)

Description of Historic Place

The Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse is located on Hecla Island on Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. The lighthouse is the second on the site. The lighthouse is a traditional wooden square-tapered tower mounted on a four-segment tapered steel tower. Measuring 23.5 meters (77 feet), the lighthouse was built to guide vessels through the channel between Hecla Island and Black Island.

Heritage Value

The Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse is a very good illustration of the expansion of maritime commerce on Lake Winnipeg in the late 19th century. This growth occurred as the exploitation of the area’s timber and fishing resources intensified. The Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse was constructed to replace the first lighthouse on the site, which was built in 1898 as a response to the area’s development and settlement. Raised on a steel structure to reach the greatest distance possible, the new light could be seen from up to 31.5 kilometres (17 nautical miles) away.
The Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse was constructed in the 1920s, at a time when the area’s maritime economy was expanding and diversifying. 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. By the 1970s economic activity on Hecla Island had slowed, but in 1969 the island was included in the new Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park. Hecla Island, since the late 20th century, has been sustained by the growing tourism industry.

Architectural values
The Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse is a very good example of its design type. The lighthouse consists of two parts: a four-segment steel skeleton base, and the square-tapered wooden tower containing the light that sits atop it. It is a light, well-proportioned, and elegant structure and is one of the few lighthouses in Manitoba that remains in its original location.
The design of the Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse provides a stable, light platform able to withstand strong winds. Traditional wooden towers were favoured by the Department of Marine and Fisheries because they were economical to construct, were sturdy, and could be moved if necessary. The combination of the traditional wooden tower and a steel skeleton base produced an excellent lighthouse design that could be adapted to various heights, as well as resist wind, waves and the extreme weather conditions found on Hecla Island.

Community values
The prominent height of the Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse ensures it is an area landmark. The lighthouse is positioned at the end of a narrow spit of land that projects into Lake Winnipeg and it can easily be seen from the marina located across Gull Harbour. The Gull Harbour (1898) Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1926 and positioned next to the Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse. Together, the lighthouses reinforce the maritime character of the entire area.
The Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse has an important place in the collective Hecla Island identity and it is a symbolic reminder of the island’s economic and social history. While the lighthouse mainly guides traffic between Hecla Island and Black Island, it also serves as a harbour light for Gull Harbour. 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, which has expressed a strong interest in the future of the lighthouse.

Related buildings
No related buildings are included in the designation.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Gull Harbour (1926) Lighthouse should be respected: its location on Hecla Island, on Lake Winnipeg; its intact, as-built form and proportions; its four-segment square steel base surmounted by a wooden square-tapered tower with tapered sides rising from a square base; its wooden tower’s exterior shingles; its paired window assembly on the west façade; its superimposed octagonal gallery; the design and material of the steel railing that surrounds the gallery; its octagonal lantern with finial; its traditional exterior colour scheme of red for the steel skeleton, window trim, gallery, and lantern and white for the tower; and, its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.