Aug. 5, 2020

Five Mile Lighthouse Rebuild


Canada is home to hundreds of lighthouses including 100 that are designated historic lighthouses by Parks Canada.  The Sambro Island Lighthouse, which has been guiding ships into Halifax Harbour since 1758 is the oldest operating lighthouse in North America.  The Cap-des-Rosiers Lighthouse in Gaspe, QC overlooking the Gulf of St Lawrence is the tallest in Canada at 34.1m / 112 feet.   Other lighthouses are noteworthy for their stunning locations or unique architecture.

The lighthouse in Cape Spear, NL is located on the easternmost point in North America and was often the first thing that ships crossing the Atlantic would see.  The 1868 lighthouse in Peggy’s Cove on Nova Scotia’s south shore, which is surrounded by massive rounded granite rocks, is instantly recognizable.  Likewise, the 1914 Brockton Point Lighthouse along the Stanley Park seawall in Vancouver is enjoyed by so many because it so accessible.

The lighthouses that dot the shorelines on both coasts are truly remarkable; however, they aren’t the only lighthouses that are a critical component of the country’s maritime history.   The lighthouses in the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence River were crucial to the trade that helped Canada grow and prosper. In fact, several of the founding fathers traveled the St Lawrence by steamship to the Charlottetown Conference for those important discussions about Confederation.

A few of those St Lawrence lighthouses are just a few kilometers away from the Burnbrae homestead. Tragically, one of those burned to the ground on July 23, 2018 after a lightning strike.  Not only did the 162-year-old Five Mile Light helped guide vessels through a dangerous stretch of the river but it has always been a beloved landmark for residents of Brockville and Elizabethtown-Kitley. Generations of the Hudson family grew up on the River with this iconic lighthouse.  So it’s no surprise that a citizen’s group organized so quickly to rebuild the lighthouse.  The Hudson Family and the Burnbrae Farms Foundation was very happy to support the fundraising efforts with a $30,000 donation.  The very generous donations from the local community allowed the rebuild committee to reach its goal and provide some additional funds for on-going maintenance.  Two years on, the reconstruction effort is in full swing and the Five Mile Light will soon regain its rightful place within the mighty St Lawrence.