St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse

Heritage Lighthouse

St. Peters Harbour, Prince Edward Island
General view of St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse located among the dunes overlooking St. Peters Bay © Cy O'Quinn
General view
© Cy O'Quinn
General view of St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse © Ian KarnGeneral view of St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse located among the dunes overlooking St. Peters Bay © Cy O'Quinn
Address : Lighthouse Road, St. Peters Harbour, Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2016-08-19
  • 1878 to 1878 (Construction)
  • 1865 to 1865 (Established)

Description of Historic Place

The St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse is a 10.4-metre square, tapered, wooden tower surmounted by a superimposed gallery and an atypical hexagonal lantern. Constructed around 1878, this lighthouse has been moved several times, illustrating the portable nature of the architecture and the island’s changing coastline. It is located on the north shore of Prince Edward Island on the west side of the entrance to St. Peters Bay.

Heritage Value

The St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.

Historical values
The 300-year-old town of St. Peters Harbour has Acadian roots dating back to 1719, when it was the first French settlement on this shore. It grew into an important fishing and shipbuilding community in the mid- to late-19th century. The original light in this location was one of sixteen pre-Confederation lights on PEI.

The present, as well as the original lighthouse provided navigational aid to the flourishing fishing community of St. Peters Harbour, an industry that continues to this day. The present lighthouse evolved into a warning light in 1951 after the harbour was abandoned, and was decommissioned entirely in 2008. In recent times it has come to be associated visually with the Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada across the bay.

Architectural values
The St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse is a simple but well executed example of a square, tapered, wooden tower, with a superimposed gallery. This 10.4 metre tower has an atypical hexagonal lantern.

Aside from the atypical lantern, this architectural pattern was the preferred design of the Department of Marine and Fisheries in the 19th century and beyond. It is sturdy, movable, easy to build, and economical. As well, it features natural interior lighting from its windows and a gallery for external lantern work. The lighthouse has withstood over 130 years of exposure to Atlantic Canada’s weather, a tribute to its materials, craftsmanship, and historical maintenance.

Community values
Nestled among large dunes of PEI’s north shore, in a remote locale on the western shore of St. Peters Bay, the lighthouse is a poignant reminder of this region’s maritime history. Located in a provincially protected area, the site is devoid of urban development. The movement of the lighthouse back from the water is an indication of PEI’s changing coastline.

Related buildings
No related building are included in the designation.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse should be respected:
— its remote location among the dunes overlooking St. Peters Bay;
— its intact, as-built structural form, height, profile, and balanced proportions, based on the standard design of square, tapered wooden towers;
— its square, wooden structure with tapered sides rising from the foundation base;
— its superimposed square, wooden gallery supported by plain metal brackets;
— its plain metal railing that surrounds the gallery;
— its grey hexagonal metal lantern with its metal weathervane ventilator;
— its sole entry door with pediment roof that projects from the façade;
— its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme consisting of a white tower, accented by red features such as the door pediment, window roofs and frames, and the railing of the gallery; and
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.