Lighthouses

Point Prim

Point Prim
Courtesy of the PEI Lighthouse Society

The first lighthouse on the Island, Point Prim, was built in 1845 in response to Charlottetown merchants and ship owners requesting a light to guide ships into the Charlottetown Harbour. The colony’s Governor, Charles Fitz Roy wrote to the Royal Navy about where the best position would be to place the Island’s first light and the Point Prim site was chosen. Fortunately, the Earl of Selkirk who owned the land, chose to donate the nine acre property for the light. Architect, Isaac Smith, who had designed Government House and would later design Province House, drew up the plans for the lighthouse tower. On March 31, 1845, a delegation of 22 men traveled over the ice in horse drawn sleighs for the purpose of surveying the site for the intended lighthouse. The group included architect Isaac Smith, the land surveyor L.W. Gall, and William Douse, the land agent.

Blockhouse Point  PARO 2602-7

Blockhouse Point Lighthouse
PARO Acc2602-7

As ship traffic increased, a second lighthouse was constructed to help sailors bound for Charlottetown. The Blockhouse Point Lighthouse is located on the west side of the entry to the Charlottetown Harbour. The Mi’Kmaq people, the French (Port La Joye, 1720), and later the British (Fort Amherst, 1758) all established themselves in the area at one time. Prior to the establishment of the lighthouse, a lantern was perched on top of a warehouse to guide sailors. In 1846, Thomas Owen was paid £10 for “the expense occurred by him in constructing a Lanthorn (lantern) at the Blockhouse, as a Harbour Light for Charlottetown, and keeping the same in operation.” A proper lighthouse was eventually built in 1856 but was replaced in 1876, after the Dominion Government deemed it inferior. The new lighthouse was constructed by builder, James W. Butcher, at a price of $2,750.

St Peter's Island Lighthouse PEI Lighthouse Society

St Peter’s Island Lighthouse, Pre 1913
Courtesy of PEI Lighthouse Society

A light was established to guide sailors into the Hillsborough Bay on St. Peter’s Island in 1866. It is not clear what the light looked like but by 1881, The London Gazette carried the following notice: THE Government of the Dominion of Canada has given notice, that on the opening of navigation in 1881, a light would be exhibited from a lighthouse erected on the western point of St. Peter Island, west side of entrance to Charlottetown Harbour, Hillsborough Bay. The light will be a fixed white light, elevated 46 feet above high water, and should be visible in clear weather from a distance of 12 miles. The illuminating apparatus will be catoptric, or by reflectors. The lighthouse, 38 feet high, is constructed of wood, square in shape and white in colour. Position, lat. 46° 7′ 10″ N., long. 63° 11′ 40″ W. This light was replaced in 1964 by a by a light mounted atop a metal tube that resembled a steel culvert pipe. The modern light was discontinued at some point and the 1881 tower is once again active.

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