Home / Accueil

Gallows Point Lightkeeper's Cottage

208 Colvilleton Trail, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9R, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/07/19

Exterior view of Gallows Point Lightkeeper's Cottage, 1998; City of Nanaimo, Christine Meutzner, 2005
Front elevation
No Image
No Image

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/10/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Gallows Point Lightkeeper's Cottage is a one-storey, Edwardian cottage located on a small residential island in Nanaimo Harbour. The historic place is confined to the building footprint and adjacent grounds.

Heritage Value

The Gallows Point Lightkeeper's Cottage's value resides in its direct association with coal mining activity in the Nanaimo area. From the late 19th century to around 1938, the New Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company and its successor companies developed extensive mine workings on Protection Island that extended far out into the harbour and back towards Nanaimo. The Protection Island Mine was a long-term, significant employer and a major resource and, as such, a key element in the city's economic development. By the 1940s, its demise, along with that of other area mines, signaled the end of the coal era and prompted the development of other industries.

The Gallows Point Lightkeeper's Cottage speaks to the critical importance of navigational aids in a coastal community dependent on the safe and efficient movement of large cargoes of coal, other goods, and people, particularly in pre-aircraft days. The fixed red light, first installed at nearby Gallows Point in 1900, was replaced by a more powerful beacon in 1905 and was initially operated by miners from the Western Fuel Company. In the 1920s, a foghorn was also installed to reinforce safety and navigational concerns. The light was eventually automated and remains an important aid to navigation for both pleasure and working craft.

The Gallows Point Lightkeeper's Cottage is an excellent example of the adaptive re-use of a historic resource. This building and another residence built in 1938 were abandoned about 1980 when the lighthouse was automated. The two-acre site is now owned by the municipality and leased to a local service group who make the building available for special events.

Built around 1912, the Gallows Point Lightkeeper's Cottage is a good example of a modest Edwardian residence. The building's simple form and massing reflects its utilitarian purpose and the minimal ornamentation that was characteristic of the era after the architectural exuberance of the Victorian period. A later addition is sympathetic to the building's original character.

The surrounding grounds, including the trees, shrubs, flower beds and pathways are important elements of the site's value as a park.

Source: City of Nanaimo, Development Services Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements which define the character of the Gallows Point Lightkeeper's Cottage include:
-all of the elements of Edwardian Cottage style as expressed in the simple form and massing, horizontal drop wooden siding, double-hung wooden windows, multi-paned upper sash windows, hip roof and overall restrained appearance.
-the building's location on a two acre site with mature landscaping.



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Extraction and Production

Function - Category and Type




Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Nanaimo, Development Services Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places