Lighthouses of Canada: Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories is a territory encompassing a large portion of the Canadian Arctic between Yukon on the west and Nunavut on the east. The territory is thinly populated; its population in 2013 was about 43,500. Yellowknife, on the northern coast of Great Slave Lake, is the capital of the territory.

There are no "traditional" lighthouses in the Northwest Territories, but there are some substantial skeletal towers like the range light tower shown at right.

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.

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

General Sources
List of Lights, Buoys, and Fog Signals
Official Canadian light lists.


Swimming Point Range Lights, Mackenzie Delta, February 2015
photo copyright Joseph Pavlic; used by permission

Great Slave Lake Lighthouses

Note: Great Slave Lake is a large lake (the deepest in North America) located in the southern part of the Northwest Territories north of the Alberta border. The lake is 480 km (300 mi) long and up to 109 km (68 mi) wide. Yellowknife, the territorial capital, is on the north side of the lake, and Hay River, the terminal of the Mackenzie Northern Railway, is on the south shore. The name of the lake refers to the Slavey First Nation, a group of the Dene people.
Round Island (Fort Resolution)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular red and white daymark. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the north side of Round Island, about 7 km (4 mi) west southwest of Fort Resolution. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1680.
Pilot Islands Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 26.5 m (87 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and the tower has not been found in Bing's satellite view. This is an outer approach range for Yellowknife. Located on a small island about 30 km (19 mi) southeast of Yellowknife. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1708.
East Mirage Islands Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); continuous white light. 15 m (49 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. This is another approach range for Yellowknife. Located on a small island about 20 km (13 mi) southeast of Yellowknife. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1710.
Hardisty Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 4 s. 18 m (59 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular red and white daymark. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the location. The light guides vessels crossing the lake to Yellowknife. Located on a spit at the southeastern tip of Hardisty Island, off a promontory about 65 km (40 mi) south of Yellowknife. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1705.
Slave Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 4 s. 18 m (59 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular red and white daymark. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a low point of land about 40 km (25 mi) northeast of the entrance to the Mackenzie River. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1691.

Mackenzie River Lighthouses

Note: Rising at the western end of Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River flows 1738 kilometres (1080 mi) northwest and north, emptying into the Arctic Ocean through a broad delta. The entire length of the river is navigable, carrying strings of barges pushed by tugboats. There are numerous range light towers along the river; only the largest towers are listed here. It appears that the Internet has no photos of any of these lights. Lights are listed south to north (downstream).
Upper Mackenzie River Lighthouses
Note: This section of the river flows generally west or west northwest.
Lobstick Island Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24.5 m (80 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Bing's satellite view. This is the entrance range for northbound vessels. Located at the eastern end of Lobstick Island, in the entrance to the river. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1716.98.
Naylor Island Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This range guides southbound vessels approaching Great Slave Lake. Located on the north side of Naylor Island, northwest of Lobstick Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1718.
Beaver Lake Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and clouds block Bing's satellite view. Beaver Lake is a basin about 25 km (15 mi) below the river entrance. This range guides southbound vessels crossing the basin. Located on a small island on the north side of the river, off the south coast of Big Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1720.
Mills Lake East Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and Bing has only a distant satellite view. Mills Lake is a basin about 25 km (15 mi) northwest of Fort Providence. This range guides southbound vessels crossing the basin. Located on the north side of the river at the east end of the basin. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1733.
Mills Lake West Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and Bing has only a distant satellite view. This range guides northbound vessels departing the basin. Located on the south side of the river upstream (southwest) from the basin. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1735.6.
Browning Point Crossing Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the area. This range guides southbound vessels through a particularly wide stretch of the river. Located on the north side of the river at Browning's Crossing (mile 133 from Great Slave Lake). Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1739.31.

Middle Mackenzie River Lighthouses
Note: This section of the river flows generally northward.
Mile 256.7 Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); continuous white light. 15 m (50 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. This range guides northbound vessels through an east-west reach of the river. Located on the east end of an island about 5 km (3 mi) west of the N'dulee Ferry, which carries the Mackenzie Highway (NWT 1) across the river. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1748.5.
Mile 286.9 Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. This range guides northbound vessels entering a braided section of the river. Located on an island downstream from the confluence of the North Nahanni River. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1753.6.
Mile 300.3 Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 26.5 m (87 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This range guides southbound vessels on a long north to south reach. Located on the east side of a small island in the river. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1755.5.
Mile 300.6 Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This range guides northbound vessels on a long northeast reach, north of the braided section. Located on the east bank of the river across from the Mile 300.3 range lights. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1755.
Mile 336.6 Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides northbound vessels on a long north reach. Located on the east bank of the river across from Old Fort Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1757.9.
Birch Island (Mile 436.5) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); continuous white light. 15 m (50 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. This range guides southbound vessels on a long south reach. Located on the northern tip of Birch Island, about 15 km (9 mi) south of the confluence of the Redstone River. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1763.6.

Arctic Coast Lighthouses

Mackenzie Delta and Tuktoyaktuk Area Lighthouses
Note: Tuktoyaktuk is a community of about 850 people located at the northeastern end of the Mackenzie Delta. The town is commonly called Tuk and was formerly called Port Brabant; its name means "resembling a caribou." During the Cold War the town was a base supporting Distance Early Warning (DEW Line) stations, and more recently it has been a base supporting oil and gas exploration in the Arctic.
Swimming Point Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); continuous white light. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Part of a distant view by Joseph Pavlic is at the top of this page, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. This range guides northbound vessels approaching a right-angle turn in the delta. Nearby is a fuel cache for helicopters. Located on a sandy point about 100 km (60 mi) southwest of Tuktoyaktuk. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CCG 1813.
Tuktoyaktuk Island Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); continuous green light. 12 m (40 ft) triangular pyramidal skeletal tower carrying a trapezoidal daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. The front light is on a similar, shorter tower. Located near the east end of Tuktoyaktuk Island, about 3 km (2 mi) northeast of the town. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CCG 2508; Admiralty H0012.1; NGA 0809.5.
Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula Range 2 Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); continuous white light. 13.5 m (45 ft) triangular pyramidal skeletal tower carrying a trapezoidal daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The front light is on a similar, shorter tower. Located on the mainland opposite Tuktoyaktuk Island, about 4 km (2.5 mi) northeast of the town. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CCG 2511; Admiralty H0012.4; NGA 0810.1.
Tuft Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 4 s. 9 m (30 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red. No photo available, but the shadow of the tower is clear in Google's satellite view. Located on a low cape about 13 km (8 mi) northeast of Tuktoyaktuk. Site open, tower closed. CCG 2517; Admiralty H0013.3; NGA 0804.
Atkinson Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21.5 m (70 ft); white flash every 4 s. 18 m (60 ft) triangular skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored white with a red vertical stripe. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the point. Located on a low cape projecting into the Arctic Ocean about 32 km (20 mi) northeast of Tuktoyaktuk. Site open, tower closed. CCG 2518; Admiralty H0013.4; NGA 0800.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Nunavut | West: Alaska

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Posted November 15, 2004. Checked and revised October 27, 2016. Lighthouses: 22. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.