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Christian Island, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/11/14

General view of the Tower at Christian Island, showing its picturesque silhouette, 1990.; Canadian Coast Guard / Garde côtière canadienne, 1990.
General view
Aerial view of the Tower at Christian Island, showing its prominent position on a peninsula, 1990.; Canadian Coast Guard / Garde côtière canadienne, 1990.
Aerial view
No Image

Other Name(s)

Tour de phare

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1855/01/01 to 1859/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/07/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Tower at Christian Island, situated in Georgian Bay, is 2.4 km (1.5 mi) offshore. The cylindrical, stone tower has a slight taper, and is corbelled outwards at its top to form a gallery and base for the removed lantern. The simple entrance is set flush with the door plane. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Tower at Christian Island is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
The Tower at Christian Island, one of the ‘Imperial Towers’, is a very good example of a structure associated with the installation of lighthouses on the Great Lakes beginning in 1804. The need for navigational aids was also spurred by the opening of the Bruce Peninsula for settlement in the mid-1850s, the free-trade agreement with the United States in 1854, and the construction of the Sault Ste. Marie canal in 1855.

Architectural Value:
Among the most attractive lighthouses in Canada, these functionally designed towers are amongst the few constructed of stone. Constructed using high quality materials the craftsmanship is excellent and typical of the work of the contractor, John Brown.

Environmental Value:
The Tower reinforces the present character of its picturesque, maritime setting on Christian Island. The structure is familiar to the shipping community, and to the many pleasure boaters who frequent the area.

Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 90-214; Heritage Character Statement 90-214.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Tower at Christian Island should be respected.
Its appealing aesthetic and very good functional design, with materials and craftsmanship of the highest standard, for example:
- the tall, tapered shaft, vertical massing and picturesque silhouette;
- the corbelled top that forms an iron railed gallery, and the granite ring that forms the lantern base;
- the doorway that pierces the granite ring and provides access to the gallery;
- the rounded exterior walls of rusticated, rough-faced, even-coursed limestone, consisting of inner and outer walls with a rubble infill;
- the minimal detailing such as the round-headed doorway and the small, narrow windows with plain stone sills;
- the heavy timber frame, the wooden interior staircases, and the metal lantern staircase.

The manner in which the Tower reinforces the character of the present picturesque, maritime character of the setting at Christian Island and acts as a local landmark, as evidenced by:
- its design and form, which complement the natural environment;
- its visibility in relation to its prominent position on a peninsula, which makes it known to mariners on Lake Huron.




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

Board of Works, Canada West



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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