Lighthouses of Canada: Manitoba

The central Canadian province of Manitoba seems at first like an unlikely location for lighthouses. Nonetheless, Manitoba once had about a dozen lighthouses built on the navigable lakes and rivers in the southern part of the province. Six of these lighthouses remain active today, and fortunately three of the others have been preserved.

Manitoba also has a salt-water coastline on Hudson's Bay, and there are several skeletal lighthouses on that coast.

Aids to navigation in Canada are maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard. In 2008, Parliament passed the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act to designate and protect historic lighthouses. In 2010, the Coast Guard declared the great majority of lighthouses to be surplus, and there is fear that this may lead to the disposal and possible destruction of many lighthouses. This fear is particularly acute in more remote areas, where the lighthouses do not enjoy the support of local preservation groups.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. CCG numbers are from the Inland Waters volume of the List of Lights, Buoys, and Fog Signals of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. For Hudson Bay lights, Admiralty numbers are from Volume H of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals, and U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Manitoba Canada Lighthouses
Photos and notes from Kraig Anderson's LighthouseFriends.com web site.
Manitoba Lighthouses
Photos and comments by Lorne Hull.
Manitoba Lighthouse Images
Rare photos contributed by Ron Walker, Canadian Coast Guard.
Our Lighthouse Lifetime
Web page for an e-book by Millard Vance Barteaux; it includes images of several paintings of Manitoba lighthouses.

1898 Gull Harbour Light
1898 Gull Harbour Light, Hecla Island, June 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Ted Sali

Historic Lighthouses at Selkirk
* Red River Range Front (2)
1914 (station established 1895). Inactive since 1992 (a decorative light is displayed). 8 m (27 ft) square pyramidal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with red trim. A photo is at right, another photo is available, Hull has a page for the lighthouse, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Originally located at the mouth of the Red River on Lake Winnipeg; Ron Walker has contributed a historic photo. In 1992 it was deactivated and relocated to the Marine Museum of Manitoba on the Red River at Queen Avenue and Evelyn Street in Selkirk. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Marine Museum of Manitoba. ARLHS CAN-738M.
* Black Bear Island (1)
1898. Inactive. 8 m (27 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with red trim. Clark McCaw has a good photo (note the Red River Range Light in the background), Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Originally located on an island in Lake Winnipeg, the lighthouse has been relocated to the Marine Museum of Manitoba at Queen Avenue and Evelyn Street in Selkirk. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Marine Museum of Manitoba. ARLHS CAN-736M.

Lake Winnipeg East Side Lighthouses
Cox Reef (2)
Date unknown (station established 1905). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) skeletal tower. No photo of the modern light available, but Bing has a satellite view of the island. The original lighthouse, a 2-story house, was demolished after being deactivated; its foundations are seen in the satellite view. Located on a small island in the channel between Berens Island and the northeast shore of the lake. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-844; CCG 1600.
Berens Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 4 s. 13 m (43 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the northern tip of Berens Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. CCG 1602.
George Island
1906. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15.5 m (51 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with enclosed lantern and wood watchroom. Lantern and skeletal tower painted red, watchroom white. Chris Kristjanson has posted a photo, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Ron Walker has also contributed a historic photo. Remote and rarely visited, this lighthouse is roughly 190 km (120 mi) north of Gull Harbour. Located on the east point of the island in northern Lake Winnipeg, about 25 km (15 mi) southeast of Poplar River. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-845; CCG 1608.
Red River Range Front Light
Red River Range Front Light, Selkirk, July 2010
Flickr photo copyright Cindy's Here; used by permission
Little Sandy Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); white flash every 4 s. 19 m (62 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, and the tower is hard to see in Bing's satellite view. The Sandy Islands are summits in the same mostely-submerged ridge that includes George Island. Located on a small island in the center of the northern basin of the lake. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. CCG 1612.
Warren Landing Lower Range Front
1908. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); continuous white light. 6 m (20 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with red trim, a red lantern, and a black (not red) vertical stripe on the range line. Google has a satellite view. Located on Purvis Island on the east side of the entrance to the Nelson River. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-849; CCG 1620.
Warren Landing Lower Range Rear (2)
Date unknown (station established 1908). Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); continuous white light. 13.5 m (44 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with enclosed lantern and wood watchroom. Lantern and skeletal tower painted red, watchroom white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on Purvis Island on the east side of the entrance to the Nelson River, 780 m (1/2 mi) northeast of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-850; CCG 1621.
Warren Landing Upper Range Front
1908. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); continuous white light. 6 m (19 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with a red lantern and a red vertical stripe on the range line. A photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Warren Landing is at the north end of Lake Winnipeg, where the lake empties into the Nelson River. Located on the west side of the river entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-851; CCG 1622.
Warren Landing Upper Range Rear (2)
Date unknown (station established 1908). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); continuous white light. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with a triangular daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe on the range line. Lantern and skeletal tower painted red, watchroom white. A photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the river entrance, 240 m (260 yd) north of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-852; CCG 1623.
Warren Landing Upper Range Lights
Warren Landing Upper Range Lights, Warren Landing
Canadian Coast Guard photo courtesy of Ron Walker

Lake Winnipeg West Side Lighthouses
Mission Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15.5 m (51 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, but Google has a fuzzy satellite view of the point. Located on a cape marking the approach to Grand Rapids. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. CCG 1615.
Long Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15.5 m (51 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available; Google has a fuzzy satellite view of the point. Located on a cape marking the approach to Grand Rapids. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. CCG 1613.
Willow Point Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 4 s for general navigation; also a continuous white light on the range line. 15.5 m (51 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has a winter satellite view. Located on a prominent cape on the northwest coast of the lake. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. CCG 1598.3.
* Gull Harbour (1)
1898. Inactive since 1926. 8 m (27 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with red trim. Ted Sali's photo is at the top of this page, Michael Linton has posted a good photo, a photo of both lights is at right, Anderson has photos, Cory Gurman also has a photo also showing the newer lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view of the station. The Gull Harbour lighthouses mark the Lake Winnipeg Narrows, a passage between Black Island and Hecla Island. Located at the end of a long sand spit at the northeastern end of Hecla Island. Accessible by an easy 1-1/2 hour hike from Gull Harbour, at the end of MB 8. Site open, tower closed. Owner: Canadian Coast Guard. Site manager: Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park. ARLHS CAN-847.
* Gull Harbour (2)
1926. Active; focal plane 27.5 m (90 ft); white flash every 4 s. 23.5 m (77 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with enclosed lantern, gallery, and wood watchroom. Lantern and skeletal tower painted red, watchroom white. A photo of both lights is at right, Anderson has photos, Heather Hinam has a 2007 closeup photo, and Michael Linton has also posted a photo showing both lighthouses. This substantial lighthouse is visible for at least 10 miles up and down the lake. Accessible by an easy 1-1/2 hour hike from Gull Harbour, at the end of MB 8. Site open, tower closed. Owner: Canadian Coast Guard. Site manager: Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park. ARLHS CAN-848; CCG 1583.
Hecla Island Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); continuous white light. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a daymark painted white with an orange vertical stripe. No photo available, but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located near the south point of Hecla Island. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Hecla Provincial Park. CCG 1579.
Gull Harbour Lights
Old and New Gull Harbour Lights, August 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo posted by Travel Manitoba
* Gimli (1)
1910. Inactive since 1973. The original lighthouse has been demolished, but the lantern was saved and is now mounted on a 7 m (23 ft) square wood replica lighthouse at the Lake Winnipeg Visitor Centre. A small photo is available, and Google has a street view and an indistinct satellite view. Located at the foot of Centre Street in Gimli, on the southwestern shore of the lake. Site open, visitor center open daily May through September, tower status unknown. Owner/site manager: New Iceland Heritage Museum. ARLHS CAN-846.
[Gimli (2)]
1973 (station established 1910). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) slender square skeletal tower. The lower half of the tower is covered by a daymark painted with red and white horizontal bands. Linda Goodman has a good photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of the rubblestone breakwater of Gimli harbor. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1569.
* [Winnipeg Beach Breakwater (2)]
2001. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 4 s. 6.5 m (21 ft) steel mast carrying a red and white rectangular daymark. A distant photo is available, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Artist Millard Barteaux has a painting (bottom of the page) of a small square wood tower with lantern and gallery that may have stood on the breakwater formerly; the caption states the lighthouse "was moved south to Chalet Beach where is is now a private cottage." More information is needed on this. References to such a lighthouse are scarce; the town's history page mentions it being on the pier in the 1950s. In 2012 Gordie Driscoll, a local resident, proposed that a new lighthouse be built on the breakwater in celebration of the resort town's centennial in 2014. This proposal was not accepted, but in 2014 there was a project to build a replica of the historic lighthouse nearby in Winnipeg Beach Provincial Park. Located at the end of the breakwater of Winnipeg Beach, near the southwestern corner of the lake. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1565.

Hudson Bay Lighthouses
Note: Commercial navigation began in Hudson Bay after a railroad was completed in 1929 to Churchill, on the southwestern shore of the bay near the northern border of Manitoba. This allowed Canadian farmers to ship grain to Europe via Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait. The Hudson Bay Railway and the Port of Churchill are operated by OmniTRAX, a railroad holding company.
Ship Point Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); continuous white light. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying an orange daymark. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. This is the first range guiding ships leaving the Churchill docks. Located on the west side of the mouth of the Churchill River estuary. Site open, tower closed. CCG 2611; Admiralty H0029.1; NGA 0751.1.
Churchill Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); continuous white light. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying an orange daymark. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This is the entrance range for Churchill harbor. Located on the west side of the Churchill River estuary about 2 km (1.25 mi) southwest of the Ship Point Rear light. Site open, tower closed. CCG 2612; Admiralty H0027; NGA 0752.
Churchill Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 47 m (154 ft); continuous white light. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying an orange daymark. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located 1633 m (1.01 mi) southwest of the front light. Site open, tower closed. CCG 2613; Admiralty H0027.1; NGA 0756.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Plunkett Island (Berens Island) (1885-1906), east side of Lake Winnipeg. An archive site has a provincial government report describing the lighthouse, a square tower attached to a keeper's cottage. The lighthouse was deactivated when the nearby Cox Reef Light was inaugurated.
  • Winnipegosis (1910-?), Lake Winnipegosis. ARLHS CAN-860.

Notable faux lighthouses

Adjoining pages: East: Western Ontario | West: Saskatchewan and Alberta

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Posted December 17, 2003. Checked and revised October 8, 2014. Lighthouses: 20. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.