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Cape Race Lighthouse

Cape Race/Cap Race, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/02/15

Cape Race Lighthouse Recognized Federal Heritage Building; (CCG, 1988)
Exterior photo
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Other Name(s)

Cape Race Lighthouse
Cape Race Lighthouse
Phare de cap Race

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1906/01/01 to 1907/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/04/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Lighthouse at Cape Race is a straight, unadorned, concrete cylindrical shaft, topped by a well-proportioned prefabricated metal circular lantern of impressive scale and a dome roof. It is located along Newfoundland’s rugged coastline, in a remote location on a headland of the Avalon Peninsula. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Lighthouse is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical value:
As Canada’s most prominent landfall marker, the lighthouse plays a strategic role as the first and last beacon seen by mariners crossing the Atlantic. It is one of the best examples of the great system of navigational aids that have been erected along the waterways, in a country where maritime activity has played a crucial role.

Architectural value:
The first lighthouse in Canada to be constructed in reinforced concrete, and possibly among the first in the world, the Lighthouse demonstrates the Coast Guard’s pragmatic approach to using up-to-date technologies to erect suitable lighthouses on some of the most difficult rugged sites. Built by the Steel Concrete Co. Ltd., an important early builder of concrete structures in Canada, it was the prototype of a standard design later repeated in several other locations. Although still at a somewhat experimental stage, its concrete construction proved to be strong, durable, fireproof and cost efficient.

Environmental value:
The Lighthouse reinforces the character of its rugged setting on the Newfoundland coast. Its location, height and powerful beacon make it the first and last sighting of land by mariners crossing the Atlantic and Canada’s most prominent landfall marker and a significant maritime landmark.

Joan Mattie, Cape Race Lighthouse, Cape Race, Newfoundland. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 88-126; Cape Race Lighthouse, Cape Race, Newfoundland. Heritage Character Statement 88-126.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Lighthouse should be respected.

Its simple and efficient design and prototypical concrete construction, as demonstrated in:
-the overall distinctive form and simplified lines of the structure’s exterior;
-the simple, unadorned, straight cylindrical shape of its concrete shaft and the cement wash finish which helps protect the concrete from harsh elements;
-the well-proportioned and large-scaled prefabricated circular metal lantern.

The manner in which the building reinforces the remote and rugged character of its setting and serves as a pre-eminent landmark to mariners:
-the building’s open relationship to the rugged coastline and the absence of vegetation or other visual obstructions;
-the lighthouse’s location, height and powerful beacon, which also contributes to the lighthouse significance as a visual landmark.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type


Navigational Aid or Lighthouse


Architect / Designer

Steel Concrete Co. Ltd.



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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