Cape George Lighthouse (Bras d'Or Lake)

Heritage Lighthouse

St. Peter's, Nova Scotia
Cape George (Bras d'Or Lake) lighthouse (© Fisheries and Oceans Canada | Pêches et Océans Canada)
Cape George (Bras d'Or Lake) lighthouse
(© Fisheries and Oceans Canada | Pêches et Océans Canada)
Address : Cape George Road, St. Peter's, Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2020-06-22
  • 1950 to 1950 (Construction)
  • 1875 to 1875 (Established)

Description of Historic Place

The Cape George Lighthouse is an 8.2 metre (27 feet) tall, wooden, square tapered tower which guides mariners into St. Peters Inlet from Bras d’Or Lake, on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

There are no related buildings on the site that contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse.

Heritage Value

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

Historical values
The original Cape George lighthouse was established in 1875 shortly after the completion of the St. Peters Canal, which linked the Atlantic Ocean to Bras d’Or Lake This new route served the growing mining, lumber and agricultural industries within the interior of Cape Breton Island. By 1950, when the current tower was built, tourism was increasing in the region, with Bras d’Or Lake, considered one of the top destinations for sailing in the world.

The lighthouse has a long tradition of lightkeeping, with the Murray family tending to the light for 94 years, until it was automated in 1969.

Architectural values
The Cape George Lighthouse is a good example of a simple, two-storey, square-tapered wooden tower with a superimposed gallery. The lighthouse is surmounted by a square red metal lantern that is accessed from the exterior by the gallery. It is a typical mid-20th century Department of Transport design, an uncomplicated and inexpensive structural type that was easily erected using local materials and expertise.

Community values
The Cape George Lighthouse is situated on a pebble beach, overlooking the largest section of Bras d’Or Lake. Best viewed from the water, the isolated setting of the lighthouse remains
largely unaltered since the lighthouse was constructed. The unspoiled surroundings reinforce the local maritime character of the lighthouse’s rural environment.

The lighthouse is a well-known landmark for mariners navigating Bras d’Or Lake, including many sailboats who ply its waters. It is located near the St. Peters Canal National Historic
Site, which plays a role in tourism and culture in the region. The lighthouse continues to be highly valued by the local community and part of its maritime heritage.

Related buildings
No related buildings are included in the designation.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Cape George Lighthouse should be respected:
its location near the St. Peters Inlet, within the Bras d’Or Lake Cape Breton Island; its current, as-built form and proportions; its square, wooden frame structure with tapered sides rising from a square base; its square, red lantern supported by a square, superimposed gallery; its simple white metal railing surrounding the gallery; its sole window with a gabled dormer; its sole entry door with a gabled dormer; its white wooden shingle siding; its traditional red and white colour scheme, consisting of white for the tower with red accents over the window and door, and red for the lantern; and, its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.