Margaretsville Lighthouse

Heritage Lighthouse

Margaretsville, Nova Scotia
Margaretsville Lighthouse (© Fisheries and Oceans Canada | Pêche et Océans Canada)
Margaretsville Lighthouse
(© Fisheries and Oceans Canada | Pêche et Océans Canada)
Address : 8 Lighthouse Road, Margaretsville, Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute: Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
Designation Date: 2022-03-21
  • 1859 to 1859 (Construction)
  • 1859 to 1859 (Established)

Description of Historic Place

Margaretsville Lighthouse is a 9.7 m square tapered light tower featuring white painted shingles with a black horizontal daymark. It is a coastal light that sits on a small point that projects into the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. Built in 1859, it is the first lighthouse on this site.

Heritage Value

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

Historical values
Margaretsville Lighthouse is an excellent example of many Canadian lighthouse themes, including the expansion of aids to navigation, lightkeeping and shipwrecks. It was established as one of the first lighthouses on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy. Ruth Earley, keeper from 1907 to 1910, was one of the first women to officially serve as keeper in Nova Scotia.

Land for the lighthouse was donated by Sir Brenton Halliburton, Chief Justice of Nova Scotia. Margaretsville was a transportation hub, connecting the shipping route from Saint John, New Brunswick with Nova Scotia’s railways. The light also served an active regional fishery.

Architectural values
The Margaretsville Lighthouse is a very good example of a wooden square tower lighthouse design. It was constructed of heavy timbers with a broad base and slight taper. There is a minimal cornice, and a gallery and square lantern on the top. There is a door to the lantern on the inland side and no glass on that side, but rather it is clad in shingles. The other three sides of the lantern are also shingled below the rectangular panes of glass. The colour scheme of the lighthouse is distinctive with a broad horizontal black daymark and black roof on the lantern, unique in Nova Scotia.

The Margaretsville Lighthouse is an excellent experimental early prototype of the square wooden tower form of lighthouse design. The heavy timber construction contributed to its squat appearance and impression of durability. This design was inexpensive and easy to maintain, and able to be constructed quickly by local contractors using local materials.

Community values
The Margaretsville Lighthouse reinforces the maritime character of the area. It is the tallest structure on its point and is surrounded by several small dwellings. The rocky shore below the lighthouse is prominent at low tide, and a nearby wharf provides views of the lighthouse.

The lighthouse continues to attract artists, tourists, and locals alike who use it for weddings and community events. It remains a deeply cherished symbol of Margaretsville.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Margaretsville Lighthouse should be respected:
its location as a coastal light along the Bay of Fundy; its intact, as-built structural form, height, profile and balanced proportions of the design of square, tapered, wooden towers; its square lantern room with a pyramidal-hipped roof with finial; its superimposed square gallery supported by a narrow cornice; its white painted railing that surrounds the gallery; its wood shingle sheathing on the tower and lantern; its sole entry door with a small projecting pediment; its unusual colour scheme consisting of a broad black horizontal daymark on the tower and black lantern roof while the rest of the structure and its details are white; and its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.