Margaree Harbour Front Range Lighthouse

Heritage Lighthouse

Inverness, Nova Scotia
Margaree Harbour Front Range Lighthouse (© courtesy of the Canadian Coast Guard/courtoisie de la Guarde Côtière Canadienne)
Margaree Harbour Front Range Lighthouse
(© courtesy of the Canadian Coast Guard/courtoisie de la Guarde Côtière Canadienne)
Address : Margaree Harbour, Inverness, Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2019-05-23
Dates:
  • 1900 to 1900 (Construction)
  • 1900 to 1900 (Established)

Description of Historic Place

Margaree Harbour Front Range Lighthouse is a traditional, square tapered wooden tower, standing 6.8 metres (22 feet). It is one of a pair of secondary range lighthouses constructed in 1900 to guide vessels entering Margaree Harbour from the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. The lighthouse is located in Inverness County, on the western coastline of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

Heritage Value

The Margaree Harbour Front Range Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.

a Historical values The Margaree Harbour Front Range Lighthouse is an example of the postConfederation phase of lighthouse construction in Nova Scotia. The lighthouse has guided vessels into Margaree Harbour since 1900, at a time when many coastal Cape Breton villages were only accessible by water and depended on maritime shipping for staples and trade.

The lighthouse is a good example of the socio-economic development of the village of Margaree Harbour. A commercial fishery has operated out of the Northumberland Strait since the late 17th century. The lighthouse also plays a role in recreational boat traffic, including the occasional cruise ship, which ply local waters.

b Architectural values The Margaree Harbour Front Range Lighthouse is a very good example of a “pepper pot” lighthouse. The lantern occupies the entire top of the tower and is surmounted by a simple hip roof, while the entrance is topped by a small railed ‘watch area’, considered a unique feature.

Built in accordance to a standard plan of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, this design was inexpensive and easy to build, and provided a stable platform for the lantern and light. The tower’s solid construction and durable materials, which have required no major interventions in over a hundred years, speak to the quality of its original craftsmanship.

c Community values The Margaree Harbour Front Range Lighthouse is situated on the western shore of the harbour, where the Margaree River flows into the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. The Front Range stands 65 metres behind the Rear Range; the pair are an important visual influence on the character of the village of Margaree Harbour. The lighthouses can be seen from the Harbour Bridge on the famous Cabot Trail, and have been a central feature of the small fishing village for over a century.

The lighthouse is highly valued by the community of Margaree Harbour. The residents consider the lighthouse to be a part of their maritime identity. Local fishers depend on the light, and cruise ships and pleasure craft that ply the waters around Margaree Harbour look to the range lights as navigational aids. The lighthouses are an important tourist attraction for the region.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Margaree Harbour Front Range Lighthouse should be respected: -- its location on the western shore of Margaree Harbour; its relationship to the associated rear range light; its intact, as-built form and proportions, based on a standard design for square, tapered, wooden towers; its square wooden frame structure with tapered sides rising from a square base; its wooden structural form, historically sheathed in wooden shingles; its small railed ‘watch’ area above the entrance dormer; its single pedimented dormer window on the south side with four-over-four window panes; its original square lantern; its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme, consisting of white for the tower and red for the lantern, along with the bright orange daymark; and, its visual prominence in relation to the roadway, water and landscape.