Beacons of Light - Lighthouses of Prince Edward Island Virtual Museum of Canada
          Next Page  

Cape Bear Lighthouse History

The Cape Bear Lighthouse was constructed in 1881 near Beach Point on the southeast tip of Prince Edward Island. It was one of approximately ten second generation lighthouses built within a few years after the Island joined Confederation in 1873. In the mid to late 1800’s, hundreds of American mackerel fishing vessels sailed the Island waters. The Northumberland Strait and Gulf of St. Lawrence were teeming with vessels. Enterprising shipbuilders built ships all along the coast and filled them with lumber bound for Europe. Farm produce was shipped throughout the eastern seaboard as far as Bermuda, and ships brought settlers to the Island. The government realized that more lighthouses were urgently needed. The square tapered towers were much cheaper to build than the masonry towers built elsewhere. They could be made of wood which was cheap and readily available and quickly built by locals who had learned their skills building ships.

The Cape Bear Lighthouse was a typical Marine and Fisheries design. It is almost identical to the Cape Egmont Lighthouse built in 1883 in western Prince Edward Island. It was built by John Whalen. It is 12.4 m (40.7 feet) in height from base to vane. It is built on a 9.1 m (30 foot) cape, so the actual light is 22.6 m (74 feet) above the water. The vertical alignment of the doors and windows makes it look taller than it actually is. An attractive classical cornice supports the lantern deck, which has a metal railing. The original corner boards were removed in 1891.

Cape Bear Lighthouse circa 1880s
Cape Bear, Mid-1880’s.
Cape Egmont Lighthouse is almost identical to Cape Bear Lighthouse.  Mid-1880’s.  Canadian Coast Guard.
Cape Egmont Lighthouse is almost identical to Cape Bear Lighthouse.
© 2007, Community Museums Association of Prince Edward Island Comments Credits Home Francais