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Head Harbour Light Station

Wilsons Beach, New Brunswick, E5E, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/03/17

Head Harbour Light Station - main view of buildings; Province of New Brunswick
Head Harbour Light Station
Head Harbour Light Station - seaside view; Province of New Brunswick
Head Harbour Light Station
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Other Name(s)

Head Harbour Light Station
East Quoddy Lighthouse
Phare de East Quoddy

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/02/01

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Head Harbour Light Station, also known as the East Quoddy Light Station, is located at Head Harbour in the local service district of Campobello. It consists of a lighthouse, a lightkeeper’s residence, a fog alarm building, a boathouse, and a work shed, all sitting on a small outcropping.

Heritage Value

Head Harbour Light Station is designated a protected Provincial Historic Site for its layout, its role in navigation, and the architecture of the buildings.

Head Harbour Light Station is recognized for the quality of the landscape it forms on this rocky outcropping, which is accessible by foot at low tide. Consisting of an octagonal lighthouse and four other structures, it is a good example of the typical layout of a coastal navigation station.

Head Harbour Light Station is also recognized for its essential role as an aid to navigation in the turbulent waters of the Bay of Fundy and Passamaquoddy Bay. Located at a strategic point between Canada and the United States, the lighthouse helped boats to navigate through the narrow strait separating the two countries. It enabled the many commercial, fishing, and smuggling vessels to move more safely through the fog and between the many rocks.

Head Harbour Light Station is further recognized for its architectural value. Built in 1829, it was New Brunswick’s second lighthouse and is now considered one of the oldest lighthouses still standing in Canada. It is a heavy timber structure consisting of a tapered octagonal tower 51 feet high and is clad in white shingles and clapboard. A large red cross on one side of the tower has been a visible landmark since the time of Confederation.

The site also includes the keeper’s residence, built circa 1840. This one-and-a-half story wooden house has shingle cladding, a gable roof, and a main entrance. It has no decorative features except for its red roof and red mouldings. In 1934, it had an open veranda, which is now closed in. There is also a covered walkway between the house and the lighthouse.

The fog alarm building was erected in 1914-1915. It is made of wood and clad in shingles with classically inspired decorative projections and a gable roof. There is also a shed to the west of the building.

The work shed was built in 1914-1915 to store large fuel containers. Unlike the other buildings, it is clad in boards and laths. The large door on the north side made it possible to take the large fuel containers inside. The windows on the east roof slope were added later when the building was converted into a work shed.

The boathouse was built in 1947. It was the last building to be constructed on the site.

In 2006, the Head Harbour Light Station was transferred to the group Friends of the Head Harbour Light Station.

Source: Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport - Heritage Branch - Site File: Head Harbour Light Station

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements that describe Head Harbour Light Station include the elements associated with the site as a whole and those associated with the buildings on the site.

The character-defining elements that describe the site as a whole include:
- strategic location at Head Harbour, on the northern tip of Campobello Island;
- all of the 3,000 square metres of the rocky outcropping and two nearby rocks;
- layout of the five buildings, including the covered walkway between the keeper's residence and the lighthouse.

The character-defining elements that describe the buildings include:

Lighthouse (1829):
- heavy timber construction;
- tapered octagonal tower shape;
- exterior shingle and clapboard siding;
- red cross (St. George’s cross) painted on one side of the lighthouse;
- lantern and platform both made of cast iron;
- rectangular wooden staircase inside the lighthouse.

Keeper’s residence (c1840):
- 1 1/2 storey massing;
- shingle cladding;
- red gable roof;
- red moulding;
- veranda.

Fog alarm building (1914-1915):
- wooden construction;
- shingle siding;
- decorative projections;
- gable roof.

Work shed (1914-1915):
- board and lath siding;
- large door.

Boathouse (1947):
- gable roof;
- clapboard siding.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Province of New Brunswick

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites Protection Act, s. 2(2)

Recognition Type

Historic Sites Protection Act – Protected

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

2006/01/01 to 2006/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Historic or Interpretive Site


Navigational Aid or Lighthouse

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport. Heritage Branch. Site File: Vol.IX-123

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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