Click links below to be taken to lighthouse images, websites and information.
The lighthouse project began some years ago. A couple of photographer acquaintances in the United States had shown some photos of lighthouses in their areas of the country – South Florida and Chicago/Lake Michigan. Knowing I was from Canada, they asked if I could get photos of lighthouses in my area – I was living in Toronto at the time. I didn’t even know if there were any lighthouses around Toronto. I began to do a bit of research and discovered there were – LOTS.
The more research I did into the lighthouses in Ontario, the more I found that many of these terrific, historically significant structures are being left to crumble from lack of care. Not only in Ontario, but in the rest of Canada as well.
Most of the lighthouses in Canada are owned by the federal government. Some are owned by provincial governments and a few are privately owned. Many of the lights that remain standing have been decommissioned. The sites that still operate as navigational bases have, for the most part, had a simple metal tower with an automated beacon installed that has replaced the lighthouse functionally and the lighthouses aren’t being cared for or maintained. The few that are being used as operating navigational aides are maintained.
Thanks to the efforts of a number of local restoration groups, some hope exists for Canada’s lighthouses. There are local groups in several provinces and links to their websites can be found on the Lighthouse Links page. These groups are made up of concerned, dedicated local citizens who understand the significance of the lights and who volunteer their time, donate supplies and money to help restoration efforts. Getting access to restore a light that’s in government hands isn’t easy. There is, unsurprisingly, a lot of red tape to cut through to get permission to take over maintenance of a lightstation site. And permission is pretty much all the governments provide. There are some grants available through various heritage programs but the application and review process is long and not simple to navigate.
As I began to learn more about the lighthouses and the situation many are in, I thought about how I, as a photographer, could help. I decided rather than just photograph a few of the lights in the area where I lived, that I’d take on a larger project to photograph and document all of the remaining lighthouses in Canada. It’s a long term project and I’ve barely started but I will get there one day. As I accumulate photos and stories, I hope to turn the work into a series of guidebooks that lighthouse enthusiasts can use if they want to visit Canada’s lights.
Portions of the proceeds from any lighthouse images sold will be returned to local restoration groups to help in their efforts. As time goes on, more information about the lights will be added as well as more photos. Some of the photos are just record shots but hopefully some are a little more interesting.
As you surf through the following pages, be sure to visit the links to the various restoration groups to see their work.