Historic Manitoulin Island lighthouse to re-open
Published Tuesday, June 18, 2019 11:17AM EDT
There is some good news for people on Manitoulin Island as a 140-year-old lighthouse is being re-opened this summer after being closed for several years.
It's actually on a neighbouring island, and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which owns the lighthouse, decided to fix up the Janet Head Lighthouse to help the local tourism business.
Staff members say it will re-open to the public this summer thanks to funding from the federal government.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans owns the building and leases it to the Municipality of Gordon/Barrie Island.
Marian Hester is a councillor for the town.
"Two years ago, it needed some work on its foundation and the light, so the lighthouse was closed. And now that all of that restoration work has been completed, we’re ready to start opening it to the public." said Hester.
Although the finishing touches still need to be completed, Hester says the lighthouse will be open in July and August every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 12 to 4 pm.
She says there will be lots for visitors to enjoy and learn.
"The first lighthouse keeper was Robert Boycher and he came to a tragic end, but prior to his death there was a bit of a scandal in his family, but you'll have to visit the lighthouse this summer and let our student tell you that story." said Hester.
As well as guiding boats during the shipping season, the lighthouse also played a crucial role during the winter months.
"The mail came across on the ice and so that was not just summer for the boats but because they were horse drawn carriages buggies carrying the mail from the north shore they needed that light." said Hester.
Just down the street from the lighthouse is Split Rail Brewing.
The craft brewer and other companies in the area say this will be good for local business.
"It’s a really important historical landmark here in gore bay and the re-opening is only going to help boost the local tourism area here in the marina area and were really excited to be a pit stop for any of those passing through to the lighthouse." said Kaitlyn Sorbara, of Split Rail Brewing.
"I'm not sure what it will bring, but I think it will be really good for the town." said Leeann Bell, of Loco Beanz Coffee House.
The lighthouse will turn 140-years-old on October 15.
Hester says council is considering planning something special to celebrate the anniversary of the very first time the lighthouse was turned on.