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Pointe au Baril, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/03/31

Historical view of the Lighthouse at Point-au-Baril, 1908.; Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, 1908.
Historical view
General view of the Lighthouse, showing the square-tapered tower, hexagonal lantern, tower balcony, wooden construction, and integrated lightkeeper’s dwelling.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency.
General view
View of the rear entrance to the Lighthouse, showing the seamless joining of the tower and dwelling.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency.
General view

Other Name(s)

Pointe Au Baril Lighthouse
Phare de Pointe Au Baril

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1888/01/01 to 1889/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/08/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Lighthouse looks out over Georgian Bay from the water’s edge. The square tower is a tapered, wooden structure of sturdy appearance appended to a one-storey, rectangular dwelling with a gable roof and a small addition. The Lighthouse features a gallery and a prominent lantern. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Lighthouse is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Lighthouse is associated with a 19th-century program to improve commercial navigation in Canada through the provision of navigational aids on the Great Lakes. It has continuously served its navigation function since it opened in 1889. The present Lighthouse, with integrated lightkeeper’s dwelling, was the first building to be constructed at the site, although a rudimentary beacon predated it. The Lighthouse was destaffed in 1983, but continues to house automatic coastal and range lights. Since 1995, the building has been leased to the local township, which operates a seasonal tourist attraction, museum and shop on the site.

Architectural Value
Utilitarian in nature, the Lighthouse is valued for its good aesthetic design. The lantern is a prominent feature whose scale reinforces the sturdy and durable appearance of the tower. The Lighthouse is an example of the numerous square-tapered wooden lighttowers, many with attached keeper’s dwellings, which were erected by the Department of Marine and Fisheries during the 1870s and 1880s. By using inexpensive materials, utilitarian designs, and traditional construction methods, the Department sought to quickly establish lighthouses along all Canadian coasts. The cornice and gallery handrail exhibit good craftsmanship.

Environmental Value
The Lighthouse is compatible with the maritime character of its waterfront setting. The structure is well-known to the shipping community and is a well-known regional landmark that has been extensively promoted in tourist literature.

Sources: Gordon Fulton, Benchmark Building Reports 93-053, 93-054, 93-055, 93-056, 93-057 93-061, including, Lighttower and Fog Alarm Building, Mississagi Strait, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 93-061; Point-au-Baril Lighttower, Point-au-Baril, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 93-061.

Character-Defining Elements

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

Its good aesthetic, functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the simple, functional design and traditional materials, including a square-tapered tower, hexagonal lantern, tower balcony, wooden construction, and integrated lightkeeper’s dwelling;
-the seamless joining of the tower and dwelling by continuing the angle of the tapered wall contributes to the integrity of the original design.

The manner in which the Lighthouse is compatible with the present character of the maritime setting and together is a familiar regional landmark for maritime traffic as evidenced by:
-the building’s association with its water’s edge setting;
-the structure’s visibility to passing maritime traffic, to visiting tourists, and its high local profile through its current role as a museum, and promotion tourist literature, make it a familiar landmark.




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)

1957/01/01 to 1957/01/01

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




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