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Search and Rescue Office

St. Catharines, Ontario, L2M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/08/17

Corner view of the Search and Rescue Office, showing the restrained decoration, 1989.; Canadian Coast Guard / Garde côtière canadienne, G. Armstrong, 1989.
Corner view
Rear view of the Search and Rescue Office, showing the single storey massing with gable roof, 1989.; Canadian Coast Guard / Garde côtière canadienne, G. Armstrong, 1989.
Rear view
No Image

Other Name(s)

Search and Rescue Office
1953 Residence
Résidence de 1953

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/02/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Search and Rescue Office, also known as the 1953 Residence, is located at the Fort Weller Lightstation located on Lake Ontario at the northern terminus of the Welland Canal. It is a one-storey, L-shaped, gable-roof house set on a raised foundation. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

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

Historical Value
The Search and Rescue Office and adjacent dwelling, through its association with the lighthouse station, is associated with the provision of navigational aids to ensure the safe usage of the Welland Canal. The Port Weller lighthouse station, as a result of the interest of lighthouse keeper Cyril Williamson and his wife Ethel in ham radio, achieved international recognition as an important navigational aid on the Welland Canal, and later the St. Lawrence Seaway. The 1953 residence was built to separate the accommodation needs of the former lighthouse keeper from the operational equipment located in the watch room.

Architectural Value
The Search and Rescue Office is valued for its good aesthetics, and was typical of the housing styles in the Niagara Peninsula during the early 1950s. The construction work, and concrete base exhibits excellent craftsmanship.

Environmental Value
The Search and Rescue Office is compatible with the maritime character of its waterfront site, and together with the associated adjacent buildings is well known to local shipping. The structure is also a well-known regional landmark.

Sources: Marilyn E. Armstrong Reynolds, Former Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling (now Search and Rescue Accommodation Building), 1953 Residence (now Search and Rescue Office), and the Former Fog Horn Building (now Outer Navaid), West Pier, Port Weller, Ontario Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 88-095; The Former Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling, Former Fog Horn Building, Port Weller, West Pier, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 88-095.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Search and Rescue Office should be respected.

Its aesthetic, functional design and excellent quality materials, for example:
- the simple, single storey massing with gable roof;
- the quality construction;
- the restrained decoration.

The manner in which the Search and Rescue Office and adjacent buildings are compatible with the present character of the maritime setting at the end of a breakwater, and together are a familiar regional landmark for maritime traffic as evidenced by:
- the design and form, which complement the location at the end of a breakwater;
- the structure’s visibility to passing maritime traffic makes it a familiar 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

Department of Marine and Fisheries



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

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

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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