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Grand Passage Lighthouse

831 Water Street, Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2021/06/14

Grand Passage Lighthouse; Fisheries and Oceans Canada | Pêches et Océans Canada
Grand Passage Lighthouse
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Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2021/12/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Grand Passage Lighthouse is an 8.5 metre (28 feet) square, reinforced-concrete tower located on the northern tip of Brier Island, Nova Scotia. The lighthouse marks the northern entrance to Grand Passage, which runs between Brier Island and the western shore of St. Mary’s Bay. The current lighthouse was built in 1964 and is the second on site. The first lighthouse was put into operation in 1901.

There is one related building on site that contributes to the heritage character of the lighthouse: 1) former lightkeeper dwelling, currently used as an office and bunk house for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Heritage Value

The Grand Passage Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.

Historical values
The Grand Passage Lighthouse is a very good example of the expansion of navigational aids in the Bay of Fundy in response to increased marine traffic. This region has long been notorious as a treacherous area, earning the reputation as the “Graveyard of the Fundy.” The first lighthouse was lit in 1901 and then rebuilt in 1964 with a fog alarm building attached. The station was automated in 1988 and currently acts as a base for the Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue team.

The lighthouse is also very good example of the socio-economic development of Westport, Freeport, and other nearby villages in the surrounding area as they prospered into fishing communities. The area is home to some of North America’s largest scallop and fishing industries. The lighthouse continues to aid commercial cargo, fishing fleets, and tour boat operators.

Architectural values

Community values
Referred to locally as the “Northern light”, the Grand Passage Lighthouse stands on a narrow strip of rugged shoreline along the northern tip of Brier Island. It is located along the Evangeline Trail, a tourist trail known for dramatic vistas and whale watching along the Bay of Fundy. Visible from the ferry between Long Island and Grand Passage, the lighthouse reinforces the maritime setting of this coastal location and remains a valued symbol of the local community.

Related buildings
One related building, as listed in Section 1, contributes to the heritage character of the lighthouse.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Grand Passage Lighthouse should be respected:

- its intact, as-built structural form, distinctive height, profile, and balanced proportions;
- its original, square, reinforced-concrete tower surmounted by an octagonal red lantern with sloping rectangular panes;
- its flat-roofed fog alarm building;
- its utilitarian design, minimalistic and modern appearance;
- its visual prominence in relation to the water and the landscape.

The following character-defining elements of the related building should be respected:

- its respective built forms, profiles and proportions;
- its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme; and,
- its contextual relationships to the lighthouse within an historic lightstation setting.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act

Recognition Type

Heritage Lighthouse

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Navigational Aid or Lighthouse

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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