Abandoned lighthouses

Once a guiding beacon for ships navigating our rocky shores, the Federal government has now abandoned hundreds of lighthouses across the country.

Tucked between the Skyway and the lift bridge, the Burlington Canal Lighthouse played an important part in Hamilton’s history, guiding ships into the harbour.

Barbara Murray and Stewart Patch are part of the Beach Canal Lighthouse group, an organization that’s been petitioning the Federal government for heritage designation and a transfer of ownership under the heritage lighthouse protection act.

“We seem to be at quite a stalemate. We’re not happy that we’re in company with 78 other lighthouses around the province because these buildings aren’t getting any younger.”

The group wants to build a museum on site and refurbish the 157 year old lighthouse and its keeper’s cottage. If granted ownership, they would fundraise the estimated $5 million needed to make it accessible to the public.

Fort Erie has had more success with one of its shore’s longtime landmarks. The town successfully acquired the Point Abino Lighthouse in 2001. Fort Erie facility manager Sean Hutton says they’ve since spent just over $1.3 million in exterior restorations. “Everything was recast, new windows and doors installed and a new elastomeric coating was placed on the exterior.”

The town is now about to tour groups through the 1917 classic revival structure that once provided a marker for mariners at a dangerous point in the lake known for shipwrecks.


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