Lighthouses of Canada: Northwestern Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is the province at the extreme southeastern corner of Canada. The southern and eastern parts of the province lie on a peninsula facing the Atlantic to the east and the Bay of Fundy to the west. To the north, the peninsula is joined to the rest of Canada by an isthmus that separates the Bay of Fundy on the south from Northumberland Strait and the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the north. Cape Breton Island lies to the northeast, separated from the main part of the province by the narrow Strait of Canso.

For its size, Nova Scotia has an extraordinarily long coastline and a very large number of lighthouses, roughly 170 in all. The Directory covers these lighthouses on five pages. This page includes lighthouses of the Northumberland Strait coast in the counties of Cumberland, Pictou, and Antigonish. Cumberland spans the isthmus and has lighthouses on both coasts. (Cumberland County lighthouses on the Bay of Fundy and Minas Basin are listed on the Western Nova Scotia page.)

Rip Irwin's book, Lighthouses and Lights of Nova Scotia (Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 2011) is an essential reference for understanding these lighthouses.

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.

Notmar numbers are from the Atlantic Coast volume of the List of Lights, Buoys, and Fog Signals of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume H of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society
This outstanding web site has a wealth of photos, information, and news.
Nova Scotia Canada Lighthouses
Excellent photos plus historical and visitor information from Kraig Anderson's LighthouseFriends.com web site.
Nova Scotia
Lighthouse photos from visits by C.W. Bash in 2008.
Lighthouses in Nova Scotia
Photos available from Wikimedia; included is a large collection of photos by Dennis Jarvis (several appear on this page).
Nova Scotia Lighthouses
Fine photos by Paul Illsley.
Leuchttürme an der kanadischen Ostküste
Photos of Nova Scotia lighthouses taken in 2004 by Bernd Claußen.
Lighthouses in Nova Scotia, Canada
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Nova Scotia Lighthouses
Lorne Hull has posted photos and accounts for about 20 of the lighthouses.
Leuchttürme Kanadas auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.

Caribou Island Light
Caribou Island Light, Pictou County, August 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Dennis Jarvis

Northumberland Strait Lighthouses

Northern Cumberland County Lighthouses
* Woody Point (relocated to Amherst Shore)
1911. Inactive since 1976. This was originally an 11 m (32 ft) square pyramidal wood tower located at Woody Point on the New Brunswick shore of Chignecto Bay. The lighthouse was sold after deactivation and relocated to private property. The owner built a large square room at the top of the tower and placed the lantern incongruously on its roof. Jarvis has a closeup photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located in Amherst Shore, on Aggermore Point Road near the Amherst Shore Provincial Park. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS CAN-703.
* Coldspring Head
1890. Active; focal plane 18 m (60 ft); white flash every 5 s. 11 m (36 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with red trim; lantern is red. Jarvis's photo is at right, Bash has a photo, Claußen has closeup photos, Lighthouse Explorer has Dana Rushton's photo, Illsley has a good closeup, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was built in connection with a project to build the Chignecto Ship Railway, which was designed to carry ships across the isthmus joining New Brunswick to Nova Scotia. The railway was never completed. Located near Northport on Cold Spring Head Road, off Lane 26 from NS 366. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-144; Notmar 941; Admiralty H1302; NGA 8504.
* Pugwash (Fishing Point) (1)
1871. Inactive since 1962. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) square cylindrical wood tower rising schoolhouse-style from the front of a 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. Donald Gorham has a closeup photo, Wikimedia has Jarvis's photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has a satellite view. The "schoolhouse" design, common in the U.S., is unusual for Nova Scotia. The lighthouse was sold to the Mundle family, and they moved it to their farm. Located on Pugwash Point Road, off Gulf Shore Road on the north side of Pugwash. Site and tower closed, but the lighthouse can be seen easily from the road. Site manager: private. ARLHS CAN-611.
Coldspring Head Light
Coldspring Head Light, Northport, August 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Dennis Jarvis
* Pugwash (Fishing Point) (2)
1962. Active; focal plane 17.5 m (57 ft); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 15.5 m (51 ft) square steel skeletal tower with enclosed upper third. The skeletal tower and lantern are painted red, the enclosed watch room white. Illsley has a good photo, Wikimedia has Jarvis's photo, Lighthouse Explorer has Dana Rushton's photo, Donald Gurham has a view across the bay, Keith Demings has a view of the lighthouse on the point, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the tip of Fishing Point north of Pugwash. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-419; Notmar 926; Admiralty H1290; NGA 8508.
* Mullins Point Range Rear (2)
1894. Inactive since about 1965. 14.5 m (48 ft) square pyramidal wood tower with lantern centered on the roof of a 2-story wood keeper's house. Building painted white, lantern roof red. A photo is at right, the Nova Scotia Heritage Division has a photo, Lighthouse Explorer has Michel Forand's photo, Bash has a distant 2008 view, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse is unique in the maritime provinces; it is a sibling of the Snug Harbour Range Rear and Jones Island Range Rear Lights, also built in 1894, on Georgian Bay, Ontario. The lighthouse was sold in 1966 to Mr. and Mrs. John Sproul, who relocated it to North Wallace, on the point at the north side of the entrance to Wallace Harbour. Site and tower closed, but the house can be seen easily from the road. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS CAN-327.
* Wallace Harbour Sector (Wallace Harbor Range Front)
1904. Active; focal plane 12.5 m (41 ft); continuous light, white, red or green depending on direction. 8.5 m (28 ft) square pyramidal wood tower with rectangular wood lantern house. Lighthouse painted white with horizontal red bands on the water side. Illsley has a good photo, Wikimedia has Jarvis's photo, Bash has a 2008 photo, Claußen has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse, formerly operated as the front light of a range, was converted to a sector light in 1990; this required replacing the lantern room with a larger enclosure. The light guides vessels through the narrow channel into the harbor. Huelse has a postcard view showing the original appearance of the tower. Located beside NS 6 on the east side of Wallace Harbour. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-518; Notmar 924; Admiralty H1283; NGA 8554.
Wallace Harbour Range Rear
1904. Inactive since 1990. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal wood tower attached to a small service building. Building painted white, lantern roof red. Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was deactivated after trees grew tall enough to obscure its light. The lighthouse was sold in 1994 and relocated in 1995 to Blue Sea Road near Malagash Point, about 18 km (11 mi) east of Wallace, where it is a private summer residence. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS CAN-604.
Mullins Point Range Rear Light
Mullins Point Range Rear Light, North Wallace, August 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Dennis Jarvis

Pictou County Lighthouses
* Caribou (Caribou Island, Caribou Point) (3)
Around 1971 (station established 1868). Active; focal plane 13 m (44 ft); three white flashes, separated by 3 s, every 24 s. 12.5 m (40 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower attached to a a 1-story utility building. Lighthouse painted white with red trim; lantern is red. Jarvis's photo is at the top of this page, Bash has a photo, Illsley has an excellent photo, a closeup of the lantern is available, Claußen has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Michel Forand has a historic photo of the second lighthouse, built in 1916. Located at Caribou Point on the north end of Caribou Island; the "island" is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus and is accessible by road from Waterside. There is also a good view of this light from ferries sailing between Caribou and Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Waterside Provincial Park. ARLHS CAN-119; Notmar 918; Admiralty H1272; NGA 8576.
* Pictou Island South (Pictou Island West Wharf)
1907. Active; focal plane 11 m (35 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 8 m (27 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white; lantern is red. Dan Parker has a closeup photo, Anderson has a photo, a view across the harbor is available, and Bing has a distant satellite view. From 1951 to 1974 the lighthouse served as the rear light of a range. Pictou Island lies off the entrance to Pictou Harbour; it is accessible by passenger ferry from Caribou on a varying schedule May through November. Located near the southwestern tip of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS CAN-380; Notmar 899; Admiralty H1237; NGA 8608.
Pictou Harbour Range Front (2)
1896 (station established 1889). Active; focal plane 8 m (28 ft); continuous white light. 7 m (23 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with a fluorescent red vertical stripe on the range line. Bash has a 2008 photo, Lighthouse Explorer has Dana Rushton's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The range lights were relocated in 1909. Located on the north side of the entrance to Pictou Harbour. Site and tower closed, but the light can be seen from the nearby Harbour Light Campground. ARLHS CAN-608; Notmar 903; Admiralty H1256; NGA 8620.
Pictou Harbour Range Rear (2)
1896 (station established 1889). Active; focal plane 12 m (56 ft); continuous white light. 11 m (38 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with a fluorescent red vertical stripe on the range line. Bash has a 2008 photo, Lighthouse Explorer has Dana Rushton's photo, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Allison Nelson has a historic postcard view (bottom of the page). The range lights were relocated in 1909. Located on the north side of the entrance to Pictou Harbour. Site and tower closed, but the light can be seen from the nearby Harbour Light Campground. ARLHS CAN-378; Notmar 904; Admiralty H1256.1; NGA 8624.
** [Pictou Lighthouse Museum]
2008. Inactive. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) square lantern and gallery centered on a square 2-story wood museum. Anna Webber's photo is a right, Bash has a 2008 photo, Illsley has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. This building is designed as a 2/3 scale replica of the 1916 Caribou Light; although based on original blueprints it differs from the original in many details. The building houses the large collection of lighthouse photos and artifacts assembled by Rip Irwin, the leading researcher of Nova Scotia lighthouses. Located at the end of a short pier on the Pictou waterfront. Site open, museum open daily except Sundays during the summer season. Owner/site manager: Northumberland Fisheries Museum.
Pictou Lighthouse Museum
Pictou Lighthouse Museum, Pictou, April 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Anna Webber
* Trenton Range Front (Stonehouse Point) (2)
1962 (station established 1920). Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); continuous red light. 4.5 m (15 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with a red vertical stripe on the range line. Lantern removed. Illsley has a closeup photo, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. The rear range light is on a 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. Located at Stonehouse Point on the south side of the entrance to Trenton Harbour from the East River estuary about 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Pictou. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-505; Notmar 910; Admiralty H1264; NGA 8640.
#Pictou Bar (2)
1904 (station established 1883). Destroyed in 2004. The lighthouse was an 11.5 m (37 ft) octagonal pyramidal wood tower, painted white with red vertical striping and a red lantern. The tower burst into flames on the evening of 5 July 2004, and local firefighters were not able to bring their equipment onto the beach to save the lighthouse. Claußen has a photo taken only a few weeks before the disaster, and as of June 2012 Google's satellite view continued to show the lighthouse. Heritage Canada recognized this tragedy as one of the five worst historic structure losses of 2004. Anderson has a 2008 photo of the active light (focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white flash every 4 s), which is on a 7 m (23 ft) square skeletal tower. Although a restoration commitee was quickly formed, it does not appear that the historic lighthouse will be rebuilt. Located at the end of the spit on the east side of the entrance to Pictou; accessible by walking the beach. Site open. Site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-377; Notmar 906.4; Admiralty H1248; NGA 8616.

Antigonish County (St. Georges Bay) Lighthouses
** Arisaig (replica)
2007 (replica of 1898 lighthouse). Inactive. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) square wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with red trim. Jordan Crowe has a closeup, Illsley has a photo, Wikimedia has Jarvis's photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse burned in 1939 and was not replaced. The replica follows the general design of the original, but it is larger and differs in various details. The lighthouse was built by volunteers in 2007 as part of a community improvement effort. Parking is provided, and interpretative displays tell the story of the village's Highland Scot heritage. Located on Arisaig Point, near the harbor, about 35 km (22 mi) southwest of Cape George. Site open, tower open during the summer season. ARLHS CAN-1272.
** Cape George (3)
1968 (station established 1861). Active; focal plane 123 m (404 ft); three white flashes, separated by 2 s, every 12 s. 14 m (45 ft) octagonal concrete tower, painted white; lantern is red. The 3rd order Fresnel lens from the second lighthouse (1908) is on display at the Tuna Interpretive Centre in Ballantyne's Cove. 1-1/2 story keeper's house (1908) and barn. Robert Ciavarro's photo is at right, Ron Pettitt has a good closeup photo, Illsley has a good photo, Wikimedia has Jarvis's photo, Claußen has photos, Anderson has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. This is one of two Cape George Lights in Nova Scotia; the other is on Bras d'Or Lake (see below). The original lighthouse burned in 1907; Michel Forand has a historic photo of the 1908 lighthouse that replaced it. Built on a spectacular bluff overlooking the entrance to St. George's Bay. Located at the end of Lighthouse Road, off NS 337 near Ballantyne's Cove. Parking available; it's a steep climb to the lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-098; Notmar 892; Admiralty H1234; NGA 8664.
Pomquet Island (3)
1959 (station established 1868). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white flash every 4 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) square pyramidal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Illsley has a closeup photo, Anderson has a very distant and foggy view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was replaced in 1910 by a keeper's dwelling, the light being shown through a window. The island is in St. George's Bay about 3 km (2 mi) off Bayfield. Owner: Canadian Coast Guard. Site manager: Pomquet Island Provincial Park. ARLHS CAN-402; Notmar 888; Admiralty H1232; NGA 8676.
#Havre Boucher Range Front (2)
1879 (station established 1842). Demolished in 2010. This was a 9 m (29 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with a red vertical stripe on the range line; lantern painted red. Bash has a 2008 photo, Claußen has photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was badly deteriorated, so the Coast Guard replaced it with a short square skeletal tower (focal plane 9 m (29 ft); continuous green light). Located on the southwest side of the harbor; railway tracks separate the lighthouse from the coastal road. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-609; Notmar 884; Admiralty H1230; NGA 8688.
* Havre Boucher Range Rear (3)
2010 (station established 1842). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); continuous green light. 9 m (29 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, covered with vinyl siding colored white with a red vertical stripe on the range line; lantern is red. The new lighthouse is similar in appearance to the 1879 wood lighthouse it replaced. Bash has a 2008 photo of the older lighthouse, Claußen has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse is a pilot project; it's likely that other traditional pepperpot lighthouses will be replaced with vinyl-clad replicas in the future. Located 435 m (1/4 mi) south of the front light, on a hill above NS 4, just off the Trans-Canada Highway at the Havre Boucher exit. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-224; Notmar 885; Admiralty H1230.1; NGA 8692.
Cape George Light
Cape George Light, Ballantynes Cove, August 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Robert Ciavarro
[North Canso (2)]
1966 (station established 1842). Active; focal plane 37 m (120 ft); white light, 1 s on, 2 s off. 10.5 m (35 ft) slender steel (?) pillar, painted white with two narrow horizontal red bands. Jordan Crowe has a 2010 photo, Anderson has photos, and Bing has a satellite view. This modern tower replaced a historic 2-story keeper's house with light tower on the roof. Located on the west side of the northern entrance to the Strait of Canso, about 2 km (1.25 mi) north of East Havre Boucher. Accessible by 4WD vehicles. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Canadian Coast Guard. ARLHS CAN-344; Notmar 883; Admiralty H3440; NGA 8696.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Eastern Prince Edward Island | East: Cape Breton Island | South: Western Nova Scotia | West: Northern New Brunswick

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index

Checked and revised June 3, 2013. Lighthouses: 18. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.