Description of Historic Place
The Lighttower at the Cap-des-Rosiers Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada is a tall, simple, tapered circular limestone tower clad with white marble facing and capped with a large facetted lantern. The Lighttower is located at the head of the Gaspé Peninsula, in close proximity to the village of Cap-des-Rosiers and Forillon National Park. The lighthouse was designated a National Historic Site in 1977 and is considered the showpiece of the Québec agency of the Canadian Coast Guard. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Lighttower is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Lighttower is one of the best examples of the national historic theme of aids to navigation. Located at the head of the Gaspé Peninsula, the Cap-des-Rosiers Lighthouse is a major coastal light, serving all marine traffic entering the estuary of the St. Lawrence River from the Gulf. As one of the Imperial towers, the Lighttower is linked with the pressure exerted by steamship operators on the colonial government to improve maritime safety and the system of navigational aids along the St. Lawrence. The presence of the Cap-des-Rosiers Lighthouse also contributed to the growth of the St. Lawrence River ports such as Québec City and Montréal.
Lighttower is an excellent example of an early -Imperial- stone lighttower. A gracefully tapered circular limestone tower, the Lighthouse is symmetrical and simply detailed, and features a large facetted and well proportioned lantern which clearly expresses the utilitarian function of the building. The tallest lighttower in Canada, the building’s solid construction also demonstrates the use of exceptionally high quality craftsmanship and durable materials such as limestone quarried from the Gaspé Basin and a smooth, white marble facing.
Located at the head of the Gaspé Peninsula, the Lighttower reinforces the dramatic character of its maritime setting. A focal point in the landscape owing to its scale and silhouette, the Lighthouse is a prominent visual landmark and a symbol of the region, as well as the showpiece of the Québec agency of the Canadian Coast Guard.
Gordon Fulton, Lighttower, Cap-des-Rosiers, QC. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 93-062; Lighttower, Cap-des-Rosiers, QC, Heritage Character Statement 93-062.
The character-defining elements of Lighttower should be respected.
Its distinctive design as an Imperial stone lighttower, functional layout, and high quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
-the elegant form and proportions of the lighttower which consists of a 112 foot tall, tapered round shaft that supports a multi-facetted lantern;
-the solid, unadorned exterior walls and the circular footprint which reflect the utilitarian purpose of the structure;
-the functionally derived arrangement of the four small, multi-paned sash windows which are stacked at regular intervals, one above the other;
-the simple interior layout including the spiral stair with its plain pipe-rail guard which runs the height of the tower;
-the construction of the thick, durable exterior limestone walls, and the use of white marble facing on the exterior of the tower;
-the minimal exterior detailing such as the small, metal struts supporting the lantern gallery;
-the original optical apparatus which is still in place.
The manner in which the Lighttower reinforces the dramatic character of its maritime setting and its landmark status, as evidenced in:
-its relationship with the cluster of service buildings and the open, austere character of the surrounding site at its base;
-its visual prominence owing to its location at the edge of a cliff, its simple, elegant design, massive scale and colour, which all contribute to its soaring, white silhouette.