Mississauga Point Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
General view of Mississauga Point Lighthouse, showing the commemorative plaque affixed to the west gate of Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada, 2005. © Parks Canada Agency/ Agence Parcs Canada, 2005.
General view
© Parks Canada Agency/ Agence Parcs Canada, 2005.
Aerial view of Mississauga Point Lighthouse, with an arrow showing its location, 2005. © Parks Canada Agency/ Agence Parcs Canada, 2005.General view of Mississauga Point Lighthouse, showing the commemorative plaque affixed to the west gate of Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada, 2005. © Parks Canada Agency/ Agence Parcs Canada, 2005.
Address : 223 Queen Street, Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1937-05-20
Dates:
  • 1804 to 1804 (Construction)
  • 1804 to 1814 (Significant)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • British Army  (Architect)
Other Name(s):
  • Mississauga Point Lighthouse  (Designation Name)
  • Fort Mississauga  (Other Name)
Research Report Number: 2005-SDC/CED-064
DFRP Number: 10398 00

Plaque(s)


Approved Inscription: On outer wall of Fort Mississauga 223 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

The first lighthouse on the Great Lakes stood near here at the mouth of the Niagara River, once the principal route for shipping goods between lakes Ontario and Erie. In 1804, John Symington, under orders from Lieutenant-Governor Peter Hunter, built a hexagonal stone lighthouse and a log lightkeeper's dwelling. The station was funded by a duty on cargo collected by Upper Canada in support of aids to navigation. Although the lighthouse was demolished in 1814 to make room for Fort Mississauga, its materials, with debris from the ruined town of Newark, now Niagara-on-the- Lake, were incorporated into the fort's tower.

Original Plaque: on outer wall of Fort Mississauga 223 Queen Street, Ontario

The first lighthouse on the Great Lakes was built of stone at Point Mississauga in 1804 by John Symington, under orders from Lieutenant-Governor Peter Hunter. Demolished in 1814 to make room for this fort, its materials with debris from the ruined town of Niagara were incorporated into this tower.

Description of Historic Place

Located on the shoreline of the Niagara River in Niagara-on the-Lake, Ontario, Mississauga Point Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada marks the site of the first lighthouse built on the Great Lakes in 1804. While archaeological remains are believed to be situated below what is now the eastern mortar bastion of Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada, no aboveground evidence survives. Official recognition refers to the symbolic significance of the vanished lighthouse as represented by the commemorative plaque affixed to the west gate of Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada, with a perimeter of 5 metres in radius from the plaque.

Heritage Value

Mississauga Point Lighthouse was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1937 because: it was the first lighthouse on the Great Lakes.

The heritage value of Mississauga Point Lighthouse lies in its historical associations as symbolized by the commemorative plaque affixed to the west gate of Fort Mississauga.

Mississauga Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1804 by the military masons of the 49th Regiment of Foot. Its hexagonal stone tower was accompanied by a separate but adjacent lightkeeper’s residence. The lighthouse was damaged in the Battle of Fort George in 1813, and demolished by the British in 1814 when they built Fort Mississauga on the same site. According to local legend, the remains of the lighthouse were incorporated into the tower of the fort.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1937; December 2005.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this historic site include: its location at the confluence of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario; any surviving remains of the hexagonal footprint and stone walls of the lighthouse in their location, workmanship and materials and spatial relationships with other archaeological evidence of early British occupation of the site; the commemorative plaque affixed to the west gate of Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada.