Description of Historic Place
The Long Point (Twillingate) heritage lighthouse is a brick lighthouse built in 1876, which was later encased in reinforced-concrete in 1929. Situated 331 feet above sea level, atop a cliff in Notre Dame Bay on the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, the lighthouse guides vessels into Twillingate Harbour and is a popular eco-tourism destination.
The Long Point (Twillingate) heritage lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.
The Long Point (Twillingate) heritage lighthouse is associated with the development of permanent marine aids to navigation along Newfoundland’s coast. Erected during an intensive period of lighthouse-building in the British colony, its use of brick and its distinctive lantern recall the British lighthouse tradition and reflect Newfoundland’s colonial ties to Britain.
The Long Point (Twillingate) heritage lighthouse is primarily associated with the development of the towns of Crow Head and Twillingate. Though French fishing vessels frequented the area as early as the late 1600s, local economic development began in earnest in the late 18th century and, by 1783, Twillingate, now under control of the British, had become a central commercial base in the area, with fishing, fish processing and sealing as its primary industries. To support this growing sea-based economy, the lighthouse was built in 1876 at the request of local interests. While fishing and sealing industries have since declined, the lighthouse remains an important beacon for those who continue to depend on these traditional industries. More recently, the lightstation has played a strong role in the community’s developing ecotourism industry, with its scenic surroundings being ideal locations for whale-watching and viewing icebergs.
From an aesthetic point of view, the Long Point (Twillingate) heritage lighthouse is the only one of its kind in Canada. It is a brick tower encased in reinforced concrete, from which it derives its unique visual profile. The tower rises from a square base to height of approximately 6.1 metres before angling in at the corners to create a short octagonal section below the lantern platform. The red-painted tower is capped by a white-painted cylindrical lantern and gallery. The original 18-foot cast iron lantern, featuring two rows of triangular glass panes, is now a rarity in Canada.
Situated 331 feet above sea level, atop windy Devil’s Cove Head, the tower required sturdy and heavy materials to withstand such a location. It is one of a few complete brick lighthouses to survive in the province. After it suffered structural damage during an earthquake in 1929, the lighthouse was encased in a one-foot-thick reinforced concrete shell, which proved to be a highly effective conservation treatment.
The Long Point (Twillingate) heritage lighthouse is a highly treasured symbol for the local community. Sitting high up on a cliff, with commanding views of the ocean, it is the centrepiece of an evolved and picturesque historic lightstation complex. The lighthouse and its remaining ancillary buildings strongly reinforce the rich maritime character of the region.
While the operation of a marine aid to navigation remains a key function for the lightstation site, today it is also very important for the regional tourism which it anchors. The lightstation is easy to access for visitors and has been transformed into an eco-tourism attraction with an interpretation centre, coffee shop, viewing platform, boardwalk and trails. It is one of the most visited lightstations in the province, popular with tourists and local residents alike.
No related buildings are included in the designation.
The following character-defining elements of the Long Point (Twillingate) Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location overlooking Notre Dame Bay;
— the sequential geometric massing of the tower that progresses from a square base to octagonal tower with a lantern;
— the brick tower encased in reinforced concrete;
— the lantern that is composed of a multi-faceted base, two rows of triangular glass panes, fire-retardant cast-iron doors and a lantern cap;
— the interior circular stairway and wooden banister;
— its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme; and
— its visual prominence in relation to the water, surrounding landscape and setting within an evolved historic lightstation.