Towers) - Six lighthouses where built in the Great Lakes Region with
this type of architecture know as the "Imperial" Tower. In the
mid-19th century, obsolete navigational aids were keeping the British
North America from strong economic development. The Bruce peninsula
opening for settlement in the mid-1850's, the United States starting a
free trade agreement with Canada in 1854 and the opening of the Sault
Ste. Marie Canal in 1855 were creating a major need for better aids to
navigation through Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. Lobbying by Montreal's
Canadian Shipping magnate, Hugh Allan, along with Admiralty put a change
to that by 1857. A (3) year construction program was started with all
material and construction expenses provided by Great Britain. A total of
$222,564 was spent for construction of all six lighthouses with the
tall, conical, limestone towers built to withstand the elements, far
surpassing the standards of the 1850's both structurally and
This "Imperial Tower" is situated on the Southern end of the "Main Channel"
strait between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. At the North end of Cove
Island, it helps guide vessels through this very hazardous area. Three
miles to the North is "Bad Neighbor Rock" which sits only 4
feet below the waters surface. Just Northwest 2 1/2 miles is shoal known
as the "O'Brien Patch" sitting 18 feet below the surface,
shallow enough to cause problems for large ships or smaller vessel in
rough seas. This shoal is marked with a flashing green buoy and bell.
of this lighthouse was supervised by John Brown which began in 1855. A Second Order Fresnel lens
producing at a lens focal plane of 101 feet above
limestone, the base measures 6 feet thick
tapering up to the lantern. The upper part of the tower is made of
granite, supporting the cast iron lantern room base plate. The (12) sided cast iron
lantern is capped
with a red domed roof which has bronze "lion heads" around the
perimeter, common to the "Imperial Towers".
Point Clark for more detail on the
source: "Fisheries and Oceans Canada".
with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government
Services Canada, 2001.
Roy B. Westin
1929, a radio beacon of 200-watt output was installed to aid mariners in
triangulating their true locations.
fog alarm building, boathouse, original keeper's dwelling, additions to
these buildings, two assistant keeper's dwellings, several sheds a radio
tower and a dock all remain intact. Of the (6) "Imperial
Towers", this station definitely remains in the best condition.
light station still operates as an active aid to navigation with a fog
signal in very good condition. The modern-day automated beacon now
produces a flashing white light on 5 second intervals. It also has a fog
signal in the following pattern: (
blast 2 seconds, silent 3 seconds, blast 2 seconds, silent 3
seconds, blast 2 seconds, silent 48 seconds) It is now protected
as part of the Fathom Five National Marine Park.