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Seacow Head, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/09/05

General view of the Tower, showing the medium-height, tapered octagonal structure with flared cornice, 1990.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1990.
General view
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Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Tower at Seacow Head is located on a low, flat point of land on the southwest coast of Prince Edward Island. It is an attractive, tapered octagonal wooden tower with a flared cornice, clad in white-painted shingles. The Tower supports a lantern platform with a pipe-rail and a multi-sided, red cast-iron lantern. The Tower has slightly projecting, gabled, multi-paned wood sash windows. A plank door with large strap hinges marks the entrance. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

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

Historical Value
The Tower is closely associated with Canada’s pre-Confederation efforts to improve safety by providing maritime aids to navigation. The Tower’s siting at the narrowest passage of the Northumberland Strait illustrates the importance of maritime traffic to the economy of the area.

Architectural Value
The Tower is valued for its very good aesthetic and functional design. In its form and decoration, the Tower exhibits the aesthetic favoured by early lighthouse designers. The very good functional design of the structure is evidenced in its heavy timber frame construction on a stone foundation, typical of the era. Also notable for this period of construction are the wood materials and good craftsmanship. The colour scheme, of a white tower with contrasting red-painted steel lantern, has an operational purpose in contributing to the structure’s visibility.

Environmental Value
The Tower reinforces the picturesque maritime character of its coastal setting. The Tower is an important marker in the coastal environment and the subject of affection within the local farming community.

Sources: Lighttower, Seacow Head, Prince Edward Island, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 90-108; Lighttower, Seacow Head, Prince Edward Island, Heritage Character Statement, 90-108.Le phare est un édifice fédéral du patrimoine reconnu en raison de son importance historique, de l’intérêt qu’il présente sur le plan architectural et de la place privilégiée qu’il occupe dans son milieu.

Character-Defining Elements

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

Its very good aesthetic and functional design and good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the medium-height, tapered octagonal structure with flared cornice;
- the fine-scaled fascia and trim;
- the gallery platform with pipe-rail and well proportioned multi-sided, cast-iron lantern;
- the wood shingle cladding;
- the red and white colour scheme;
- the wood-sash, six-over-six gable windows;
- the plank door with large strap hinges and latch hardware;
- the original interior finishes, and surviving elements of the stairwell construction.

The manner in which the Tower reinforces the present picturesque maritime character of its coastal setting and is a regional landmark, as evidenced by:
- its overall attractive scale, massing, design and materials, which harmonize with its picturesque coastal surroundings;
- its visible role as a seacoast marker that makes it a familiar landmark for the local farming community.




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




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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