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Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1992/05/28

Side view of the Louisboug Lighttower showing its pedimented windows.; Lighthouses and Lights of Nova Scotia,  R. Erwin, n.d.
Side view
View of the south faces of the Tower at Louisbourg, 1990.; Transport Canada / Transports Canada, 1990.
Side view
General view of the Tower at Louisbourg, 1990.; Canadian Coast Guard / Garde côtière canadienne, 1990.
General view

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1922/01/01 to 1924/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/07/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Tower at Louisbourg is situated on a rugged site at the north side of the entrance to Louisbourg Harbour. The octagonal tower is a tapered, reinforced concrete structure built in a classically inspired design. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Tower at Louisbourg is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
The Tower at Louisbourg is strongly associated with the theme of aids to navigation in Canada. The current Tower is the fourth to have been built on this same site, the site of the first lighthouse in Canada. The Tower at Louisbourg contains a plaque marking the construction of the first tower by the French in 1731-1733 and commemorates the defence of Louisbourg. The Tower continues the tradition of serving the active marine community of Louisbourg and acts as a coastal light as well as an indication of the entrance to the Louisbourg Harbour.

Architectural Value
The aesthetic quality of the Tower at Louisbourg is very good. Designed in a classical style, the structure was built to a plan that was used on one other occasion for the Tower at George’s Island in Halifax Harbour. The classical influence in its design is evidenced in the tower’s columnar form, with its defined base, shaft and capital. The Tower also displays very good craftsmanship such as the exaggerated voussoirs scribed in the concrete to simulate rustic masonry.

Environmental Value
The Tower at Louisbourg, as the only structure on its site, reinforces the character of its coastal maritime setting and is a prominent landmark on the coastline.

Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 90-267; Heritage Character Statement, 90-267.

Character-Defining Elements

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

Its aesthetic design with classical detailing, good materials and very good craftsmanship,
for example:
- its tapered octagonal form with a defined base, shaft and capital;
- its reinforced concrete construction;
- its deep horizontal channels and exaggerated voussoirs scribed in the concrete of the lower storey of the tower;
- its pedimented windows;
- its octagonal lantern and lantern platform supported on decorative brackets;
- the traditional Canadian Coast Guard colour scheme of white with a red lantern.

The manner in which the Tower reinforces the character of its maritime coastal setting and is a prominent landmark on the coastline, as evidenced by:
- its overall design, scale and appearance which stands against its rugged coastal environment;
- its high visibility and familiarity to the marine community in the area, and to residents of Louisbourg, as well as to visitors frequenting the Visitor Reception Centre area of the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada.




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

Department of Marine and Fisheries



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




Related Places

General view showing its setting

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada

Fortress of Louisbourg is the largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified town in North America, located on the southeast edge of Louisbourg Harbour adjacent to the…


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