Description of Historic Place
The Flint Island Lighthouse, part of the Flint Island Light station, consists of a concrete tapered, octagonal tower, 18 metres in height. The tower is painted white and is surmounted by a red octagonal lantern sitting above a flared cornice surrounded by a railed walkway. The lighthouse is situated on the northeast end of Flint Island. The island is a small, flat-topped, grassy island less than two hectares in area, and rimmed by steep sandstone cliffs. Flint Island is located a few kilometers off the eastern coastline of Cape Breton Island. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Flint Island Lighthouse is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Flint Island Lighthouse is a very good illustration of the theme of navigational aid along the coast of Nova Scotia. It is a significant coastal marker for ships traveling along the shore of Cape Breton Island. The lighthouse is associated with Robert Spears, who tended the present lighthouse and its predecessor at Flint Island from 1960 until it was de-staffed and automated in the late 1980s. The first lighthouse was established on Flint Island in 1856 and the current lighthouse was built in 1963 as a replacement for a third lighthouse, built in 1910, which was in poor structural condition.
The Flint Island Lighthouse is a good example of a more recent, concrete tapered, octagonal tower. It is well-proportioned, with a simple base, a flared cornice and a railed walkway. The lighthouse is notable for the alignment and details of its small windows and the use of traditional red and white colours. Its functional quality is good and it continues to operate as a coastal light. Built to a standard plan prepared by the Department of Transport Canada, its wide base and tapered walls provide great stability in inclement weather. Its concrete construction reveals good quality of craftsmanship and reflects the standards of the time and the concerns for economy and easy maintenance.
Located on a flat and cleared grassy island bounded by dramatic cliffs, the Flint Island Lighthouse reinforces the maritime character of the area. It stands out remarkably against its rugged natural setting and the surrounding seascape. Several adjacent buildings were removed from the site, thus altering the character and relationship between the lighthouse and its surrounding landscape. The lighthouse is a well-known reference point for commercial ships and tourist boats traveling along the coast. Because of its visual link to the mainland, it is also a familiar landmark for the region.
Sources: Damien Busi, Flint Island Lighthouse, DFRP 03685, Flint Island, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Building Report, 05-203; Heritage Character Statement, 05-203.
The character-defining elements of the Flint Island Lighthouse should be respected.
The features that illustrate the theme of navigational aid along the Nova Scotia coast, notably:
- its design and materials typical of the later, concrete, octagonal tower type;
- its prominent location and high visibility on a small coastal island.
Its good aesthetic and functional design, and good quality of craftsmanship and materials, as manifested in:
- its nice proportions, characterized by its simple and wide octagonal base, tapered shaft, and a flared cornice supporting a railed walkway and a lantern of modest scale;
- its small rectangular openings with horizontal drip-mould detailing and their placement directly over one another;
- the use of white colour for the shaft and contrasting red colour for the lantern;
- the use of durable materials such as a reinforced-concrete construction, a cast iron lantern and metal railing.
The manner in which it reinforces the maritime character of the area and functions as a reference point from both water and land, as evidenced in:
- its flat, grassy site bounded by steep, sandstone cliffs;
- its continuing use as a coastal light;
- the continuing visibility of the lighthouse from water and land.