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Upper Light Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Belle Isle, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/06/07

Upper Light Recognized Federal Heritage Building; Transport Canada (1988).
Exterior Photo
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Other Name(s)

Upper Light Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Upper Light
Feu supérieur

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1857/01/01 to 1858/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/11/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located on the barren and rocky terrain of Belle Isle, the Upper Light is a circular , limestone tower encased in fire brick and clad in pine shingles painted in white. It has a prominent lantern with a copper roof. At its base is the attached Keeper’s Residence, a small, wood structure with a side gable roof. The designation is confined to the footprint of the tower.

Heritage Value

The Upper Light, is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
The Upper Light at Belle Isle is strongly associated with the establishment of aids to navigation. Its construction along with the Keeper’s Residence and Lower Light, marked a major step in the development of the route around Newfoundland.

Architectural Value
The Upper Light is a good example of a stone lighttower designed to be fireproof and draftproof. Evidence of its good functional design include a structure encased in brick, the interior four flights of iron stairs leading to the lantern, the iron floors and the hatch doors giving access to each floor.

Environmental Value
The Upper Light establishes the picturesque character of its coastal maritime setting and is a landmark to commercial vessels and local area fishermen.

Margaret Coleman, Keeper’s Dwelling, Upper and Lower Lights, Belle Isle South West, Newfoundland, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 88-132.

Upper Light, South West Belle Isle, Newfoundland, Heritage Character Statement, 88-132.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Upper Light should be respected, for example:

Its functional design, for example:

-The simple massing that consists of a circular limestone structure encased in brick, a
lantern with a copper roof and an entrance shed well integrated into the tower.
-The pine shingles, which cover the layer of white fire brick and which are essential to
prevent the deterioration caused by extreme weather conditions.
-The interior four flights of iron stairs leading to the lantern, the iron floors, and the hatch
doors giving access to each flight of stairs.
-The red and white colour scheme.

The manner in which the Upper Light establishes the picturesque character of its coastal maritime setting, and is a local landmark in the area, as evidenced by:

-The overall massing, profile and arrangement of the Upper Light with its attached
dwelling, surrounding secondary buildings and Lower Light, which form a
grouping of structures that dominates and establishes the setting.
-The high visibility of the Upper Light to passing sea going vessels.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type


Navigational Aid or Lighthouse


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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