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Press Release

Picturesque Lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest Designated under Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act

Canada NewsWire

The Nootka lighthouse on Vancouver Island is protected


OTTAWA, March 12, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of State and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver Island, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada, today designated British Columbia's fifth heritage lighthouse on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The Nootka lighthouse, located on the ancestral territory of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht Nation on Vancouver Island, is now protected for years to come under Canada's Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (HLPA).

The HLPA, which was adopted in 2008, allows for the protection of federally-owned lighthouses on Canada's coastal and inland waters that have significant heritage value. Administered by Parks Canada, the act helps ensure Canada's maritime history is protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Canadians have nominated hundreds of lighthouses to be considered for designation under the Act.

Quick Facts

  • Built in 1958, the Nootka lighthouse is located on the summit of San Rafael Island on Nootka Island Point on the West coast of Vancouver Island.
  • Commenting on her visit to the light station, Emily Carr, the famous British Columbia painter, described the place as being a "strange wild perch on a nosegay of rocks, bunched with trees, spiced with wildflowers".
  • In the 18th century, Nootka Sound was an important place of contact between First Nations and Europeans, and developed into an important centre of diplomacy and trade.
  • The other heritage lighthouses designated under the Act in British Columbia include: Fisgard, East Point (Saturna), Active Pass and Estevan Point.


"Our Government is committed to protecting historic sites that we hold dear, including heritage lighthouses which are an integral part of the maritime identity of many Canadians. The Nootka light station, which is still in operation, is part of an incredibly rich history that stretches over thousands of years."

The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of State and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver Island

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New Heritage Lighthouse Designation
Nootka Heritage Lighthouse

The Government of Canada today announced the designation of Nootka lighthouse (British Columbia) as a heritage lighthouse under Canada's Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act.

The Nootka heritage lighthouse, built in 1958, is situated in Yuquot, British Columbia. It is a square, galvanized-steel tower surrounded by a steel skeleton tower. In the 18th century, Nootka Sound became an important site of early contact between First Nations of the Pacific Northwest and European explorers, and developed into a centre of trade (notably furs) and diplomacy. In 1911, the Department of Marine and Fisheries built a lighthouse on San Rafael Island as part of a more general expansion of the lighthouse system in British Columbia.

At the time of its construction in 1911, the first Nootka lighthouse played a vital role in safeguarding water routes for the many regional industries that were dependent on marine shipping, including canneries, logging and mining. The pulp and paper and mining industries would continue to grow throughout the 20th century. The current tower was built in 1958 to replace the original 1911 lighthouse and primarily serves international vessels exporting lumber, as well as recreational boaters, many of whom are involved in developing tourism and outdoor recreational initiatives to supplement the region's primary industries. The light station is also home to extensive archaeological remains related primarily to Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation's history.

The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act
Adopted in 2008, the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act allows for the identification and protection of federally-owned lighthouses with heritage value. It is the most significant piece of federal legislation to protect historic places of the last decade. It will help to ensure that important heritage lighthouses on Canada's coastal and inland waters remain protected for future generations.

The Government of Canada has taken action to protect heritage lighthouses by providing the public with the opportunity to nominate lighthouses for heritage designation; between 2010 and 2012, 348 were nominated. Designated lighthouses are well-protected as their owners are required to care for them in accordance with recognized standards for heritage conservation.

The Nootka heritage lighthouse was designated on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

SOURCE Parks Canada

Image with caption: "The Nootka Lighthouse in British Colombia was today designated a heritage lighthouse. (CNW Group/Parks Canada)". Image available at:

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