Description of Historic Place
The Lighthouse at Point Clark is a 9-storey tall, slightly tapered, round tower, clad in rusticated whitewashed limestone. It is crowned with a corbelled gallery and 12-sided cast-iron lantern with a domed roof. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, it still serves its primary function. The FHBRO designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Lighthouse is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Built in 1859 by the pre-Confederation Department of Public Works, as part of a 6-tower lighting campaign along the shores of Lake Huron, the Point Clark Lighthouse is very good example of the national theme of aids to navigation. It is associated to the rise of navigational activity in the area, following the opening of the Bruce peninsula for settlement, the inauguration of the Sault Sainte-Marie canal and an 1854 trade agreement with the United States.
Thanks to its elegant proportions and rock-faced exterior, the Point Clark Lighthouse possesses an excellent aesthetic quality and is a prime example of the six “Imperial” Towers built in the region, using a design rarely seen elsewhere in Canada. Built by the renowned contractor John Brown, it also displays an excellent functional design, high quality craftsmanship and durable materials, as testified by its sturdy construction and exceptional masonry work.
Along with the other remaining historic buildings of its complex, the Point Clark Lighthouse reinforces the maritime character of its setting. Its continuing use as a functioning lighthouse has allowed it to retain its character as a beacon. It is a tourist destination and a familiar landmark to the city and region.
Joan Mattie, Lighthouse and Keeper’s Dwelling, Point Clark (Lake Huron), ON. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 93-084; Lighthouse, Point Clark, ON, Heritage Character Statement 93-084.
The character-defining elements of the Point Clark Lighthouse should be respected.
Its distinctive aesthetics, layout, and high quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
-the elegant form and proportions of the lighttower which consists of an 87 feet tall, tapered round shaft supporting a corbelled gallery and 12-facetted lantern;
-the spare detailing of the shaft created by the small staggered windows with plain stone sills and the round-headed doorway at its base. This minimal detailing emphasizes the rugged character of the stone;
-the high-quality masonry work, comprised of hammer-dressed local limestone cladding of the exterior, which creates a rustic appearance, and of a ring of granite at the top, into which the lantern is secured;
-the twelve sided cast iron lantern, with its domed roof, ball pinnacle ventilator and bronze lion heads gracing each angle of the eaves line;
-the simple interior layout including the wooden stairs, curved at the bottom, then set in steep dogleg segments and terminating with an curved iron flight;
Its sturdy structure and constructive system, as demonstrated in:
-the heavy timber frame, which ensures lateral stability, combined with inner and outer rows of cut stone, with a rubble infill in between, which support the compressive forces;
-the exterior slope of the wall, which achieves further stability;
The manner in which the lighttower reinforces the character of its maritime setting and its landmark status, as evidenced in:
-its relationship with the other buildings of the complex, including the keeper’s house and oil shed;
-the tower’s visual prominence, owing to its simple, elegant design and soaring silhouette, in contrast to the surrounding summer cottages.