As I mentioned yesterday, the first stop on our Bruce Coast lighthouse tour was Point Clark, Ontario. According to the Lighthouse Destination pamphlet that we consulted, the lighthouse was:
“Built in 1859 to warn sailors of the shoal extending 3.2 km offshore, its elegant proportions and limestone exterior are typical of the six “Imperial” towers built in the region, a lighthouse style rarely seen elsewhere in Canada. Acquired by Parks Canada in 1967 to commemorate the vital role of lighthouses in navigation on the Great Lakes, it still serves its primary function – an aid to navigation. The light keeper’s dwelling, built at the same time as the lighthouse, is now operated as a museum by the Township of Huron-Kinloss. A breathtaking vista is your reward for climbing the 114 stairs up the winding staircases at the Point Clark lighthouse.”
I had myself totally pumped about climbing to the top of the lighthouse, so you can imagine my disappointment when we arrived only to find that the lighthouse was under renovation and was fenced off. We talked to a couple of locals who were biking along the waterfront, and they told us that apparently the damage to the lighthouse was far more extensive than originally anticipated and the money ran out. The project will be retendered this fall, with plans to see restoration work restart in spring 2013. About one-third of the lighthouse’s stones, or about 300, require either full replacement, or at least half of the actual stone replaced. With many of them weighing about 800 lbs., they are not the normal-sized bricks and must be handled with care. The lighthouse has been closed to the public since July 2010, when engineers deemed it unsafe due to falling rocks and the potential for someone being harmed. Even bandaged up as it was, I thought the Point Clark lighthouse was still pretty impressive, and we will definitely return once the repairs are complete to make the climb to the top!