Description of Historic Place
The Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie heritage lighthouse was constructed in 1860-1861, on the southeastern tip of Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie island, located in the St. Lawrence River estuary. It comprises a 30-foot high cylindrical tower which rises from the centre of the 30-foot-square lightkeeper’s residence. The exterior white clapboard walls of the lighthouse contrast sharply with the red pyramidal roof. Located eight kilometres offshore, the lighthouse is set in a picturesque setting and is only accessible through a series of footbridges and stairs.
The Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie heritage lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural and community values.
As part of a network of lighthouses, the Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie heritage lighthouse, with its strategic location in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, made a significant contribution to enhancing navigation safety and supported increased vessel traffic on the river.With the help of this network, the waterway would continue to serve as a major artery for economic development in Canada during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie lighthouse is the last combined lighthouse and dwelling still standing on a St. Lawrence River island.
By improving navigation safety for shipping and for resource development along the St. Lawrence, the Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie lighthouse supported the modernization and diversification of the local and regional economies. The lighthouse has also been a tourist destination since the early 20th century, a vocation that it still serves thanks to the ecotourism activities that have developed since 1989.
The Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie heritage lighthouse is an excellent example of a combined light tower and keeper’s residence. It was particularly successful at harmoniously and simply combining the dual roles of the tower and residence. Its unique design and its interesting composition are accentuated by its location on a steep rocky promontory. With its cylindrical tower rising from a red metal roof, its lantern and its copper cupola which is painted red, its visual quality is outstanding.
The quality of the original building materials, workmanship and maintenance as well as restoration work undertaken in 1989, are excellent. Combined, they have allowed this rare, picturesque lighthouse to survive remarkably well over the past 150 years, in spite of its exposure to the elements in the middle of the St. Lawrence River.
Community values The Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie heritage lighthouse, perched on a steep promontory, dominates the superb protected natural landscape of the Îles de l’Estuaire National Wildlife Area. Though it is located far off the mainland, the lighthouse establishes the area’s maritime character due to its strategic and highly visible location from the river.
The lighthouse is highly valued by the communities of Saint André de Kamouraska and Rivière du Loup, as the site is closely tied to the geographic and social history of the region. It is a major symbol of local tourism owing to its architecture, its unique design and its current role as a bed and breakfast. The island is also stop on the “Lighthouse Route”, a tourism initiative involving a number of lighthouses along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.
No related buildings are included in the designation.
The following character-defining elements of the Île du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie lighthouse should be respected:
— its intact, as-built structural form, height, profile, and proportions;
— the cylindrical tower, clad with painted metal panels, rising out of the wooden square building;
— the main building with its clapboard siding and red pyramidal metal roof;
— the multi-pane wood frame windows;
— the rectangular annex with its red metal gable roof;
— the annex building’s veranda resting on pillars;
— the wooden spiral staircase in the centre of the tower which leads to the lantern;
— the gallery surrounded by a cast-iron railing supported on cast-iron brackets covered with lead sheeting;
— the simple octagonal lantern made of steel, glass and copper;
— the cupola with its 16 copper panels painted red and topped by a weathervane in the shape of an arrow;
— the cedar plank floors and steps;
— the painted brick interior walls;
— the interior layout and volume;
— its stone foundation covered with tongue and groove wood boards;
— its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme consisting of white for the walls and red for the roofs; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and the landscape.