Heritage Canada Foundation Launches Campaign To Save Canada’s Lighthouses

The following call on the Canadian government to assist communities across the country in their efforts to conserve and protect lighthouses as part of our country’s marine heritage, prepared by the Heritage Canada Foundation, was submitted to Niagara At Large by one of our Niagara, Ontario region’s veteran heritage advocates Pamela Minns, who is hoping residents here will join in signing a petition to the federal government to save our country’s lighthouses before it is too late.

Point Abino Lighthouse along Lake Erie in Fort Erie, Ontario is in urgent need of refurbishing

Niagara At Large has previously strived to bring attention to the need to preserve the classic Port Abino Lighthouse just off the Fort Erie, Ontario shores of Lake Erie – a lighthouse that has been recognized internationally as one of the finest structures of its kind in the Great Lakes. A link for the petition to the federal government is located in the final paragraph of this post. recognized by many as one of the    The following was received from Heritage Canada Foundation:

Ottawa, February 8th, 2012– The Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF) is launching a campaign to encourage federal investment in the efforts of local groups and communities to save their lighthouses.

 The Government of Canada owns hundreds of iconic lighthouses.  Earlier this year, Canadians were shocked to learn that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) had declared more than 500 lighthouses – including the most historic ones – as ‘surplus’.

The Inner Range Lighthouse in Port Dalhousie, Ontario finally received $1.9 million in federal assistance two years ago. Photo courtesy of David Serafino/Dahousie Pier Magazine..

The Heritage Lighthouse Protecion Act (HLPA), which came into effect in May 2010, was intended to conserve and protect heritage lighthouses.  However, the Act excludes lighthouses that are declared ‘surplus’ from being designated, unless a community group or private owner commits to buy or otherwise acquire them and protect their heritage character.  As a result, local groups and communities are now under pressure to assume the financial responsibility for maintenance and protection of almost all of Canada’s iconic lighthouses.

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans stated in their March 2011 Report on the Implementation of the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act that the Act’s intent was undermined by DFO’s action.

 “HCF agrees with the Senate Committee that federal support is essential to help communities save our country’s lighthouses before they’re lost to demolition and neglect,” says Natalie Bull, HCF’s executive director. ‘The Save Canada’s Lighthouses campaign is designed to raise awareness, and attract federal support to these important icons’.

Canadians are urged to sign the petition at www.savecanadaslighthouses.ca.  Time is also running out to nominate lighthouses for designation.  To be considered, each lighthouse requires a nomination supported by 25 people and submitted to the Minister of the Environment by May 29, 2012”.

The Heritage Canada Foundation is a national registered charity dedicated to the preservation of Canada’s historic places.

(Niagara At Large invites our readers to share their views on this post in the comment boxes below. NAL only posts comments with real names attached to them. Comments by anonymous parties or parties who use pseudonyms are deleted.)

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3 responses to “Heritage Canada Foundation Launches Campaign To Save Canada’s Lighthouses

  1. Point Abino Lighthouse is a jewel on Lake Erie, the Town Council has allocated a large sum of money to redo the exterior of the building as it has years of benign neglect .,by past councils, the largest problem is accessibility to the building, as previous councils signed away the right of way, to the Point Abino Association gratis.but according to the original deed all rights to the Lighthouse reverts back to the village of Crystal Beach.on purchase of the Lighthouse, the thing they could do on an incremental basis, as a project, build a causeway over the flat rock with a handrail for easy access to this historical building,.any left over gravel concrete or fill dumped to facilitate a means of access. The park next to the Palmwood Hotel was built over several years and is a great place to view the lake shore.

  2. One of the keys to the preservation is accessibility. Those poor Americans (living along a private road enroute to the Point Abino Lighthouse) might have to share some Canadian soil with Canadians. Certainly if the shoe were on the other food our friends from the south would find such an arrangement outrageous.

  3. The Fort Erie council depleted our reserve funds to repair a lighthouse that we can only see from a mile away. They then promised to replenish the reseve funds in the new budget. They reneged on that promise. While we gaze fondly at the lighthouse children in Fort Erie will be swimming in the Niagara River because their is no money to replace the only outdoor public pool in the town.

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