Description of Historic Place
The Rear Range Light Tower, located on Badgeley Island, Ontario, consists of a three-tiered, tapered steel frame, surmounted by a wood watchroom and iron lantern. The watchroom, equipped with a multi-paned sash window, is clad in cedar shingles and flares at its top into a coved cornice. The gallery above supports an octagonal lantern, itself capped with a sloped roof and vent stack. The tower is painted white and features contrasting red elements and a day mark. The light tower sits on a broken shale rock close to the shoreline and marks the entrance to the North Channel. 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 result of the economic development of the Georgian Bay region. The light tower was built as a direct response to the opening of a silica mine on the mainland, a significant event in the economic development of the community of Killarney, which remained entirely reliant on water-transportation until the 1960s. The structure is associated with a number of dedicated lighthouse keepers, prominent members of the local community.
The Rear Range Light Tower is good example of the sub-type of a 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 traditional lighthouses with a utilitarian efficiency and durable construction method adapted to remote locations. 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, where man-made structures punctuate the predominantly wild environment of forested lakeshores. Framed by a backdrop of heavy conifer forest and facing the open waters of Georgian Bay, the light tower’s grounds and landscape remain unchanged since its construction. Given its strong presence in an unbuilt coastal environment, the structure is familiar to the community of boaters in the North Channel and is a valued local landmark.
Sources: Robert J. Burns, Lighttowers in Ontario: 05-171– 05-177, 06-053, Federal Heritage Building Report, 05-171; Heritage Character Statement, 05-171.
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 lighthouses.
Its good aesthetic design, 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 tower’s function;
- its slender, tapered prefabricated skeletal steel frame, a technology borrowed from windmills, which provides a stable and durable base and constituted an effective method of construction as it could be easily assembled in remote locations such as this one;
- the elegant upper portion of the tower, designed after earlier wood light towers, with its coved cornice, multi-paned sash window with a projecting frame and elaborate lintel, railed gallery, and octagonal iron lantern;
- the use of contrasting white and red colors and of 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, and painted iron, 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 contrasting colors.