The lighthouse has an octagonal concrete tower with an aluminum lantern. In 1961 the keeper's dwelling at Coffin Island fell into serious disrepair and it was decided that it would be more reasonable to destaff it and add a tower to the existing Western Head fog alarm station that had been in existence since 1930. Some of the duties of the Western Head keeper beginning in 1962 were:
- Climbing the 40 foot tower to polish the lantern;
- General maintenance of the automatic fog alarms – it was especially important to keep them free of snow and ice;
- Monitoring arrivals and departures at the Coast Guard helipad on site, keeping track of the pilot's name, time of arrival/departure and intended route – this would prove essential if Coast Guard officials were to lose contact with any of their aircraft;
- Acting as a tour guide for the many visitors to the station every year.
The facility serves as an Environment Canada weather station which is constantly monitored by automatic equipment. Years ago when the station was staffed by three keepers, the keeper on duty was required to call Bedford every hour on the hour to report the weather conditions. Rough weather was an occupational hazard – high winds would sometimes force them to use the back door, as they couldn't open the front one.
The radio beacon at this site kept signal time. If that clock were to go off kilter, the light keeper would be responsible to correct it. If he did not have it rectified within 30 minutes, the Coast Guard would call to make sure the light keeper was aware.
Western Head was destaffed in 1988 but continues to be a guiding light for mariners to this day.
The lighthouse is located at 159 Lighthouse Road in Western Head, 11 minutes from Fort Point Lighthouse in Liverpool via School Street. The lighthouse is on the west side of the entrance of Liverpool Bay. Please note that on foggy days the foghorn is extremely loud as you approach the lighthouse so hearing protection might be required.
GPS: 44.989109, -64.661495
Built in 1873, this unmanned light is still operational as a navigational aide. It has a square wooden tower with a red square wooden lantern. Some of the shipwrecks of Spectacle Island include the Clifford J. White in 1916, which ran aground and sank off Spectacle Island Ledge when she was enroute from New York to Yarmouth; the Dart, which sank off the Ledges on its way to Yarmouth from Halifax in 1852; and the unfortunate Ethel Emerson, which struck the island in 1884.
The lighthouse is located on the northwestern point of Spectacle Island in Port Mouton Bay. You can view it in the distance from Route 3 between Summerville Beach and Hunts Point. (Exit 20 off Highway 103)
GPS 43.918279, -64.804047
For more information on this lighthouse visit: Spectacle Light Society.
This area is often referred to as "Queens County's Peggy's Cove." The Medway Head light station at one time sat below the present site and you can still see some of the old foundation amongst the rocks. When Jonas Whynot and his wife lived at the station, they had large iron bars on their window shutters that when closed warded off the stormy seas. The present light was erected in 1961. The former keepers' bungalow sits across the road, and up on the hill above is the building which once served as dwelling and light. The former lantern room is on top. In years gone by, goods such as oil and personal supplies came to Medway Head via supply ship and they would then be delivered to the station by rowboat to a landing between two boulders.
Four different lighthouses have stood on Medway Head. The current structure can be found at 925 Long Cove Road in Port Medway. The lighthouse is about 7 minutes drive down this part paved, part unpaved road.
GPS 44.102944, -64.539806
Port Medway Lighthouse was originally built in 1899 to mark the outer end of the breakwater and as an aid to ocean-going traffic using the harbour. For 68 years the light was taken care of by a series of lightkeepers, including Sammy Foster, George McConnell and Chelsey Whynot. Cecil Earl Dolliver was the last caretaker until the light was automated on January 1, 1967. That same year, the colour of the light changed from red to green. In 1987, the light was decommissioned.
For most of its existence, Port Medway Lighthouse has been a square wooden tower on a 16' square base. However for several years beginning in 1979 vinyl siding adorned the exterior walls.
Officially opened in October 2002, Port Medway Lighthouse Park was created as a result of an initiative of a local community group with support from all levels of government.
Port Medway Lighthouse Park is located at 1687 Port Medway Road right beside the Harbour Authority Wharf. It is an eight minute drive from exit 17a off Highway 103.
GPS 44.13208, -64.574547
For more information on the lighthouse, check out the entry at HistoricPlaces.ca
"of the greatest importance to the trade of the port"
This third oldest surviving lighthouse has been described by mariners as "left on port side when entering harbour." Fort Point Lighthouse was built to supplement Coffin Island and was eventually joined by a host of smaller lights on buoys and wharves and even a small beacon on the town bridge, all installed to help navigate the inner harbour to the Mersey River. It had a range of seven miles from its elevated height of 39'. By 1981 the range has increased to eleven miles.
Throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, the light was manned by a keeper who at first lived at a nearby house owing to the cramped nature of lighthouse's living quarters. Part of the keeper's responsibilities, in addition to regular maintenance and upkeep of the light, was to operate a hand cranked foghorn in reply to the foghorn signals from incoming vessels as they entered the harbour. By the turn of the century, the keeper moved into the Lighthouse as a dwelling area was attached along with a storage shed for fuel oil and maintenance equipment.
The original light was red and remained so until 1926 at which time it was replaced by a flashing white light. Three oil-burning lanterns magnified by a 12" round reflector provided the source for the light in the early years. First seal oil and then kerosene was used until 1951 when the light was electrified. In 1964 the keeper's services were no longer required as automation became a reality. The rise of modern navigational aids resulted in the 1989 decommissioning of Fort Point. The Region of Queens Municipality has been taking care of this heritage building since 1970 and now this iconic structure can be enjoyed by all as a museum and gift shop.
Fort Point Lighthouse is located at 21 Fort Lane at the end of Main Street in Liverpool, about 4 minutes from exit 19 of Highway 103.
GPS 44.044383, -64.707584
For more information on the history of the structure of the lighthouse, visit the entry at HistoricPlaces.ca
Coffin Island Lighthouse is situated on Coffin Island in Liverpool Bay. The island itself was named after one of the grantees of Liverpool, Peleg Coffin. The original lighthouse was erected at the island's southern tip in 1811-1812 at a cost of approximately £536. Known at the time as Liverpool Light, it was one of the earliest beacons in service in the province, along with Sambro, Shelburne and Brier Island. Built of wood, the octagonal building stood 75' high and sported horizontal red and white stripes. Liverpool's most prominent citizen of the time, Simeon Perkins, had the honour of laying the cornerstone on July 24, 1811 at a time when the island was known as Bear Island.
In its design, the lighthouse incorporated the very latest in technology, holding the distinction of having the first revolving light in Nova Scotia. Known at the time as a catoptric light, the massive clockwork mechanism turned fourteen Argand lamps and highly polished parabolic reflectors. Revolving every two minutes, the light could be seen up to 15 miles away in good conditions and early 19th Century accounts describe it as the best on the coast.
Sadly, the lighthouse was struck by lightning on June 19, 1913 and the subsequent fire destroyed the structure and all of the outbuildings. A year later a 52' steel reinforced concrete lighthouse was completed. James Edward Wentzell went on to man the light for 47 years.
Mother Nature took its toll on this second lighthouse and in 2006 a fiberglass structure replaced the World War I era building that was endangered by shoreline erosion. A little further back from the shore than its predecessors, the light can still be viewed from Moose Harbour, Fort Point Lighthouse Park and less visibly from the Beach Meadows lookoff on Brooklyn Shore Road.
Coffin Island Lighthouse is only reachable by boat, however it can be seen from Fort Point Lighthouse Park.
GPS: 44.034403, -64.628577