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.
The Grand Passage Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community 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.
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.
One related building, as listed in Section 1, contributes to the heritage character of the lighthouse.
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.