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Lighthouse (new)

Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/11/03

General view of the new the Cape Sable Lighttower showing the four small windows at regular intervals above the door.; Lighthouses of Atlantic Canada, C. Mills, n.d.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Lighthouse (new)
Cape Sable Lighttower
Phare de Cape Sable
Cape Sable Lighthouse
Phare de Cape Sable

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/05/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Sitting on the open landscape of Cape Sable Island, the Cape Sable Lighttower is an impressive thirty meter tall octagonal structure of reinforced concreted comprised of a pedimented base with an entry door, a tapered shaft with four small windows above the door, and a capital-like portion that is provided by the flared top of the shaft which provides a floor for the cast iron lantern above. It is among the tallest towers ever built with this design. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Lighttower is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values

Historical Value
The Lighttower is a very good illustration of improvement to mapping of Canadian waters and an important aid to navigation around the tip of Nova Scotia and marks the entrance into the Bay of Fundy. Building the Cape Sable Island Lighttower was an early response to the needs of steamships passing closer to shore.

Architectural Value
The Lighttower is an excellent example of a classically-designed octagonal lighttower with its aesthetic and functional design representing successful adaptation of new technology to the particular functional requirements of lighttower construction. The height of the structure was used to advantage to create a structure of elegant proportions and balance. The overall design, focus on symmetrical arrangement, new construction techniques and adaptation of materials characterize the structure.

Environmental Value
The Lighttower reinforces the maritime character of the region of small villages and summer recreational properties on a mile-long crescent-shaped reef just offshore from Cape Sable Island. The strength of the tower design combined with the cluster of accessory structures provides a strong architectural presence on the open landscape of Cape Sable Island. The critical location of the Lighttower on one of the busiest inshore fishing grounds in the world and adjacent to some major shipping lanes makes it an important landmark. It marks the entrance to the Bay of Fundy of ships coming from the east, and is seen by many New England vessels charting courses to Europe.

Joan Mattie, Lighttower, Cape Sable Island, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 87-115.

Lighttower, Cape Sable Island, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia Heritage Character Statement 87-115.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character defining elements of the Lighttower should be respected, for example:

Its excellent classical and very good functional design, and adaptation of classicism to vernacular buildings as manifested in:

-Its octagonal massing, classical arrangement and symmetry, composed of a base with a pedimented entry door delineated by a projecting string course, a twenty-five meter shaft with four small windows at regular intervals above the door, and a capital, the flared top of the shaft which provides the floor for the lantern.
-Its sophisticated reinforced concrete construction of thin shell design.

The manner in which the Lighttower at Cape Sable Island reinforces the maritime character of the region and marks the entrance to the Bay of Fundy for water vessels.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type


Navigational Aid or Lighthouse


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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