The most easterly point in North America, Cape Spear with its lighthouse, wasn’t far from my childhood home. However my mother lived even closer to the Cape when she was young and she visited there often and stayed at the lighthouse. Her parents were friends of the light keeper and his family.
Over the years when my husband and I travelled to St. John’s to visit my family, Mom and I often visited Cape Spear to sit and watch the waves or go for a walk if the weather permitted. The Cape is one of my favourite places on earth. My love of lighthouses comes from my mother’s stories of Cape Spear and my own experiences there. Now we live on Prince Edward Island where there are also many lighthouses so my husband and I have visited a number of them.
There are four lighthouses left on Prince Edward Island which have the light keeper’s residence attached to them. We wanted to see all four and made the rounds this summer.
One of these lighthouses we visit often in New London at the base of Yankee Hill. The lighthouse is tucked behind the sand dunes and though it looks small from the beach, it is more impressive when you stand beside it. It was the home and workplace of the first female light keeper in Canada, Maisie Adams.
Not far from New London is North Rustico on the north shore of the island with its lighthouse down by the water at the entrance to the harbour. Here the shoreline is reinforced to prevent erosion around a building which already has been moved several times to prevent it from disappearing into the sea. It was built in 1876 for a cost of $1700.00. It presently sits in a busy part of the community near homes and businesses as it casts a shadow over the boats passing by.
On the southern shore of the island at Rocky Point, across the harbour from Charlottetown, the capital city of Prince Edward Island, the Blockhouse Point lighthouse is one of the largest lighthouses on the island. This structure was built in 1876 but the original light in the area was established in 1846. This area was frequented by the original settlers on the island, the Mi’kmaq, and later, the French and the English in the 1700s.
The final of the four surviving lighthouses with houses attached is at Wood Islands. We recently visited this structure at the southern most point of the island, near the Northumberland ferry terminal. The lighthouse has been moved 150 metres from its original position due to the threat of erosion. It has eight rooms and construction was finished in 1876.
These lighthouses are automated today and the one at Wood Islands is open to the public. It is well worth a visit.