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Call is out to save Prince Edward County lighthouses

Five of Prince Edward County’s six remaining lighthouses have been nominated under the terms of the federal Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. The sixth, The Salmon Point Lighthouse property, is privately owned.

Marc Seguin has sent out the call to save Prince Edward County lighthouses.
A request for a heritage preservation project has been sent to MP Daryl Kramp, Mayor Peter Mertens, County councillors Alec Lunn, Barb Proctor and Jamie Forrester, and to Janice Gibbins, Chair of the Heritage Advisory Committee.
“These lighthouses represent a unique part of the County’s history,” says Seguin. “Lighthouses are no longer being built.  Many of the lighthouses that once graced the County’s shores have been demolished.  Those that remain deserve to be protected.

“Five of the County’s six remaining lighthouses have now been nominated under the terms of the federal Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (HLPA).

The lighthouses are as follows:

Hillier Ward – Scotch Bonnet Island Lighthouse, 1856
Athol Ward – Point Petre Lighthouse, 1967 and lightkeeper’s cottage, 1962
South Marysburgh Ward – Prince Edward Point Lighthouse (Pt. Traverse), 1881
– False Ducks Island Lighthouse (Swetman Is.), 1965
– Main Duck Island Lighthouse, 1914 and two lightkeepers’ cottages

The Heritage Lighthouse Program of Parks Canada has determined that these five lighthouses are eligible to be designated under the HLPA.  The 6th lighthouse, the Salmon Point Lighthouse (Wicked Pt.), 1871, is privately owned and is not eligible under this Act.  The Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee is looking into having the Salmon Point lighthouse designated under the terms of the Ontario Heritage Act.

“The Scotch Bonnet Island Lighthouse is owned by Environment Canada, and the Prince Edward Point lighthouse is owned by Parks Canada.  Once these lighthouses receive their heritage designation under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, those government departments will be responsible for the ongoing conservation of the lighthouses in accordance with the ‘Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada’.

Seguin says the other three lighthouses, Point Petre, False Ducks, and Main Duck, are owned by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), but they have been declared surplus to departmental requirements.
“Under the HLPA, a surplus lighthouse can only be designated if a person or organization agrees to take ownership of the lighthouse and to conserve it.  As a result, I have been working to find an organization which may have the capacity to take on this conservation task.
“So far, the Hastings Prince Edward Land Trust (HPELT) has expressed an interest in these three surplus lighthouses. In addition, the “Friends of Main Duck Island” may also be interested in taking over the Main Duck Island lighthouse.

“Regardless of which organization becomes the final custodian of these structures,  the plan is for me to continue efforts to coordinate the negotiations with DFO, Parks Canada, and Environment Canada for the protection of the lighthouses and related buildings.
“The next step in the plan is to have an engineer inspect the structures. Ernie Margetson, a professional engineer and past member of the Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee, will be volunteering his time and services to perform inspections.”

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  1. Theresa says:

    I agree with my good friend, Susan Rose. Let’s take care of what we have, right now. This kind of forward planning, Doris, is what creates the heritage. Something doesn’t have to be old to be important.

  2. Susan Rose says:

    My thoughts are ALL the County lighthouses are gems and full of history..especially for the families who have GREAT attachments to them…surely the way of the Province will be to download them to the municipality?? Then we all better gear up for some big fundraising…I certainly would love to help and sure lots of folks would be onboard!!

  3. Liz Howes says:

    Any thoughts from the Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee?

  4. VERNA says:

    The False Duck Island Lighthouse is a treasure… father (the late James K. McConnell) spent most of his life there….his father Kenneth Aron McConnell lovingly cared for it before him… i think my dad would feel that this is little lighthouse should be preserved at all costs….lets keep our heritage of these fine lighthouses alive and well for decades to come!!!!!!we are proud of the county….and all those lighthouses that have lovingly lit the way for many a ship in the night!!!!!!

  5. Such fond memories of the Point Traverse/Prince Edward Point lighthouse. In the 1980s, we leased it for our bird banding operations, particularly, the northern saw-whet owl banding. We had it all fixed up, wallpapered, sleeping accommodations and had propane for the kitchen, lighting and heat. Once our lease was up, it deteriorated very quickly. Through the courtesy of Marc Seguin, I had an opportunity to visit both the Swetman and Main Duck Island lighthouses yesterday and climbed the winding staircases to the top of each one and got some amazing photos from up top. I can only conclude that lighthouse keepers must have had muscles like Arnold Schwarzeneggar to climb those steps every day! A wonderful chapter in our past that must be preserved.

  6. MaryKay (Hicks) Morris says:

    I have visited Pt Traverse lighthouse many times. My father grew up in South Bay and as a child spent summers in and near this lighthouse with his Uncle Wait and Aunt Kitty Hudgin.
    Sadly I have watched the deterioration of the building happen.
    We have all seen it in photos, logos, and other artworks. it is a County shrine with much history. it would be a crime to lose it and not have it restored.
    Good luck Mr Seguin!

  7. Doris Lane says:

    How do you classify the Point Petre light as a heritage site–the orginal lighthouse was torn down the 60’s –something that was put up around 50 years ago is hardly a heritage site
    I am all for preserving the Salmon Point and Prince Edward Point lighthouse as they are original structures

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