Description of Historic Place
The Rear Range Light Tower consists of a three-tiered, tapered steel frame, surmounted by a wood watchroom and lantern, standing 22.6 meters high. The watchroom is clad in cedar shingles and flares at its top into a coved cornice supporting a gallery and wood lantern, itself capped with a pyramidal roof and vent stack. The light tower is painted white, and features contrasting red elements and a day mark on its front face. It sits on the west shore of Bruce Peninsula, marking the channel into Stokes Bay. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Rear Range Light Tower is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Rear Range Light Tower is a good illustration of the theme of aids to navigation in Canada’s Great Lakes, as a response to the economic development of the shores of the Bruce Peninsula. Built as a replacement to a day beacon, the light tower is strongly associated with the area’s short lumber boom, which was followed by recreational development in the 1940s. The structure forms a functional pair with a slightly larger and more elaborate front range tower, built at the same date.
The Rear Range Light Tower is a good example of a sub-type of steel framed lighthouse, a clever adaptation of a technology developed for windmill construction. Built according to plans prepared by the Department of Marine and Fisheries, it combines features of the traditional light towers with a utilitarian efficiency and durable method of construction, adapted to a remote location. Well built using durable materials and carefully maintained over time, the structure has endured well despite the harsh climatic conditions to which it is exposed.
Prominently located on an isolated rocky shoreline, the Rear Range Light Tower reinforces the marine character of the area, a balance between the wild laurentian environment and limited human development along the waterfront. Framed by a backdrop of heavy conifer forest and facing the open waters of Lake Huron, the light tower’s grounds and landscape remain unchanged since its construction. Its strong presence makes it a familiar structure to the community of boaters in the Stokes Bay area and a valued local landmark.
Sources: Sources: Robert J. Burns, Lighttowers in Ontario: 05-171 – 05-177, 06-053, Federal Heritage Building Report, 05-177; Heritage Character Statement, 05-177.
The character-defining elements of the Rear Range Light Tower should be respected.
Features that illustrate the historical theme of aids to navigations in Canada’s Great Lakes, notably:
- its combination of innovative technologies of the early 20th century with the features of traditional light towers.
Its good aesthetic design, very good functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
- the simple assembly of its three functional constituents: steel frame, watchroom and lantern, which clearly reflect the light tower’s function;
- its slender, tapered prefabricated skeletal steel frame, a technology borrowed from windmills, providing a stable and durable base, effectiveness and easy assembly in remote locations such as this one;
- the elegant upper portion of the light tower, designed after earlier wood light towers and bearing a strong resemblance to the front range light tower, with its coved cornice, railed platform, square lantern, pyramidal roof and prominent vent stack;
- the contrasting white and red colours of the shaft and lantern, and the day mark which increase the structure’s daytime visibility;
- the combination of basic durable materials, such as the bolted steel sections of the frame, wood construction and cedar shingle cladding, all of which have endured well.
The manner in which the building reinforces the maritime character of its rural shoreline area, as evidenced in:
- its unchanged relationship to the isolated rocky shoreline on which it stands;
- its recognizable silhouette, simple form and colours.