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Collingwood, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1999/03/18

Aerial view of the Lighttower, showing the regular position and shape of its window and door openings, 1982.; David Baird, "Lighthouses of Canada," Canadian Geographic Journal, June/July 1982, p.47.
Aerial view
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Other Name(s)

Nottawasaga Lighthouse
Phare de Nottawasaga

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1857/01/01 to 1858/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/01/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Situated on the north corner of an island in the Georgian Bay, the Lighttower at Nottawasaga Island is an 85-foot (26 metre) tapered, massive stone tower that ends in a slightly projecting cobelled gallery on which rests a twelve-sided cast iron lantern which is capped by a domed copper roof with a ball-pinnacle ventilator at its peak. The windows openings are placed regularly around the tower and the rough wall surface of the structure is white. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Lighttower is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values

Historical Value
As one of the six Imperial Towers built in the 1850’s, the Lighttower is a very good example of the establishment of safe navigation routes along the coastal waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay following the opening of the Bruce Peninsula for settlement. Its construction marked the beginning of Collingwood’s formative years as a major Georgian Bay port. The lighthouse is also associated with a number of dramatic rescue efforts by its lightkeepers, most notably George Collins’ role in saving passengers after the sinking of the supply steamer the Mary Ward in 1872.

Architectural Value
As the sole intact structure on Nottawasaga Island, the Lighttower is an excellent example of functional design of a strong and stable structure that is aesthetically pleasing. Balancing the rugged and massive impression of the masonry construction with an elegant tapered form, it is characterized by its distinctive profile, the even coursing and rusticated surface of its masonry walls and the regular position and shape of its window and door openings.

Environmental Value
As a tall and elegant structure, the Lighttower reinforces the picturesque coastal quality of its uninhibited island in its maritime setting. Its striking appearance on the north corner of the island adds greatly to the scenic quality of the immediate area. Located about two miles northeast of Collingwood, the Lighttower is a prominent landmark and beacon to mariners in the southern section of Georgian Bay.

Sources: Marilyn E. Armstrong-Reynolds, Nottawasaga Island Lighthouse, Nottawasaga Island, Collingwood, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 98-019; Nottawasaga Island, Collingwood, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 98-019.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Lighttower should be respected.

Its highest quality functional design and aesthetic, materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
-its tall, round, slightly tapered form, corbelled at the top to form a gallery and base for the lantern creating an immediately identifiable profile;
-its twelve-sided polygonal cast-iron lantern, which provides an important component of the structure and is capped by a dormer copper roof with a ball-pinnacle ventilator at its apex;
-the rusticated limestone exterior walls covered with a white coating and the regular coursing and rough texture of the masonry units displaying a high level of craftsmanship;
-its structural system employing heavy timber to provide lateral stability with inner and outer whites of cut masonry with rubble infill providing compressive strength;
-the regular position and shape of its window and door openings.

The manner in which the Lighttower reinforces the picturesque coastal quality of its maritime setting.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type


Navigational Aid or Lighthouse


Architect / Designer

John Brown



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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