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Still standing strong after 150 years

The Cape Jourimain Lighthouse, which this year marks 150 years, underwent an extensive restoration in 2016-17.
The Cape Jourimain Lighthouse, which this year marks 150 years, underwent an extensive restoration in 2016-17. - Contributed

Cape Jourimain celebrates special anniversary of its historic lighthouse

A special upcoming anniversary weekend celebration will mark the fascinating legacy of Cape Jourimain’s heritage lighthouse.

“This event will mark the 150th anniversary of the building and serve as a jubilant celebration of its legacy and the duty-bound service of its keepers,” said Daniel DeLong, education manager at Cape Jourimain Nature Centre.

Set for July 12-14, the three-day lineup includes musical performances, a brand new interpretive display in the lighthouse, a Festival of Historic Arts and Crafts, a variety of children’s crafts and games, a barbecue and a cake cutting.

The events will help commemorate the anniversary of the lighthouse, which was built in 1869 in an effort to help ships navigate around the Cape’s treacherous reefs and shoals, explained DeLong.

The 15.5 metre tall wooden lighthouse, which features a tapered octagonal design and a classic red-and-white colour scheme, is located on Jourimain’s northeastern point.

According to early reports, the idea of installing a lighthouse in the area had been discussed as early as 1842, said DeLong. Years later, in an effort to make navigating the Strait safer (at least six shipwrecks occurred in the Northumberland Strait between 1834 and 1869), the project was approved. The Dominion of Canada purchased the land for the lighthouse and in December of 1869, the structure was officially completed.

Lewis Wells looked after the lighthouse over the first winter, which remained non-operational until a temporary lighting apparatus was installed in April of 1870. On May 15, John Bent was appointed as the first permanent lighthouse keeper. The Bent family operated the lighthouse for at least 70 years, becoming the longest-serving family of lighthouse keepers in Canada.

In 1969, the light was fully automated, ending the service of the final lighthouse keeper, Merrill Trenholm.

The lighthouse ceased operation in 1997 upon the opening of the Confederation Bridge. The Cape Jourimain Nature Centre acquired ownership of the lighthouse from Fisheries and Oceans Canada in 2015 and, with the help of donations, they began an extensive restoration project, which was completed in 2017.

DeLong said the newly-repaired building, which includes a brand new interpretive display, will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays throughout July and August.

Schedule of Events

Friday, July 12

7 p.m. Musical performances by Kenny James, Drew Moore and the Junior Jills in the Interpretive Centre

Saturday, July 13

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Lighthouse open to the public (brand new interpretive display, first/second floor only).

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Festival of historic arts and crafts in the Interpretive Centre.

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. - Crafts and games for youth in the Interpretive Centre.

12-2 p.m. - BBQ at the Lighthouse.

1 p.m. - Cake cutting.

Sunday, July 14

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Lighthouse open to the public (brand new interpretive display, first/second floor only).

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Festival of historic arts and crafts in the Interpretive Centre.

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. - Crafts and games for youth in the Interpretive Centre.

**A lighthouse express shuttle will operate both Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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