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Pilot Bay Lighthouse

near Crawford Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1964/07/21

Pilot Bay Lighthouse; Ministry of Environment, BC Parks, 2010
side view looking towards Kootenay Lake
Pilot Bay Lighthouse; Ministry of Environment, BC Parks, 2010
side view
Pilot Bay Lighthouse; Ministry of Environment, BC Parks, 2010
distant view showing lighthouse in context

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2011/02/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Pilot Bay Lighthouse is a white, wood frame, three-storey tower with a tapered form located on the northern part of the Pilot Peninsula that extends into Kootenay Lake near the community of Crawford Bay in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia. The historic place consists of the southern part of the Pilot Peninsula held within Pilot Bay Provincial Park, including the lighthouse, surrounding clearing and forest, and associated hiking trail.

Heritage Value

The Pilot Bay Lighthouse is significant for its historical, aesthetic and community values, in particular for its recognizable lighthouse form and prominent location on a rise of land in Pilot Bay Provincial Park.

Constructed in 1904 and activated in 1905, the Pilot Bay Lighthouse is valued as a rare and well-preserved heritage site on the east shore of Kootenay Lake. The lighthouse is significant for its historical association with the sternwheeler era on the lake which began in the late 1880s and lasted until the 1950s, and is a symbol of early navigation when silver ore, supplies and people were transported between mining communities by water. Now the last remaining inland lighthouse in British Columbia, the lighthouse was built when new settlement and mining and smelting activity were increasing the sternwheeler traffic on Kootenay Lake, connecting with the railways to create a regional transportation network. Increased marine traffic meant new requirements for navigational aids, particularly one which would service the area at the junction of the south, north and west arms of Kootenay Lake. The lighthouse is valued for its longevity and the adaptations to new technology that allowed it to continue to function until 1993.

The Pilot Bay Lighthouse is also important for its location on the Pilot Bay peninsula, a location related to the particular geography and topography of the area. As a lighthouse used as a landmark when fixing a course along Kootenay Lake (in conjunction with the Proctor lighthouse), its siting at the north end and highest point of the peninsula allowed the light to be viewed and used for navigation from three directions. Its location is also significant with regard to the creation of the provincial park because the southern end of the peninsula was acquired specifically to include the lighthouse within the park. Reached by a short walking trail, the lighthouse, in its isolated location in a clearing surrounded by forest, is valued as a destination point within the park's recreational trail system.

Long a comforting beacon for workers in remote logging and mining camps around Kootenay Lake, the lighthouse remains an important community landmark, evoking the memories and stories of early lighthouse keepers such as O. McElroy and Eugene Montreuil, and representing the efforts of community volunteers who have for years maintained and preserved this invaluable treasure.

Painted the traditional red and white of federal lighthouses, the tapered form and architectural details of the lighthouse are a contrast to other, simpler navigational aids in the vicinity of Kootenay Lake, giving it high aesthetic value. A draw for tourists and residents alike, the lighthouse is valued for its landmark status, nostalgic connection to an earlier era, and as a reminder of the local history of this area.

Source: Ministry of Environment, BC Parks

Character-Defining Elements

Key character-defining elements of Pilot Bay Lighthouse include:

-siting on the high point of land on the Pilot Bay peninsula
-location in a clearing set within the thick forest of the park

-square, three storey tapered tower form
-traditional red and white colour scheme
-shed dormer wooden windows, six-over-six and eight-over-eight
-red roof and cupola
-horizontal wood cladding
-glass lantern with surrounding red-railed viewing balcony



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Province of British Columbia

Recognition Statute

Park Act, s.5

Recognition Type

Provincial Park (Establishment)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Historic or Interpretive Site


Navigational Aid or Lighthouse

Architect / Designer



Department of Marine and Fisheries (Canada)

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Ministry of Environment, BC Parks

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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