Beacons of Light - Lighthouses of Prince Edward Island Virtual Museum of Canada
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Lighthouse Overview

Lighthouses have been built to warn mariners of dangerous reefs and headlands, and also to guide ships into safe harbours. Many ships and lives were lost before the lighthouses were built. The first lighthouse in the North American British colonies was built at little Brewster Island in Boston Harbour in 1716. The present Boston Lighthouse was built in 1783. Prior to this time ships had been guided by beacon fires lit by lookouts at the harbours.

Canada's first lighthouse, the second in North America, was built in 1733 at the French fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. It was almost destroyed by fire in 1736 and had to be redesigned and have a new lantern installed. The British destroyed the lighthouse during a siege on Louisbourg in 1758 and it was not replaced until 1842. That lighthouse was destroyed by fire in 1922. The present lighthouse was built in 1923.

Because the two earliest North American lighthouses were destroyed, the honour of being the oldest operating lighthouse in North America goes to Sambro Island Lighthouse in Nova Scotia. It was built in 1758. In 1996 the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Board designated the lighthouse as a classified building which is the highest possible heritage designation. The gas house on the site was designated as a recognized building, which is the second highest heritage designation.

Boston Lighthouse.
 
Boston Lighthouse.
 
     
Boston Lighthouse
 

Boston Lighthouse.

 
     
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