Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

THEME DAY: ARCHITECTURE—A PILLAR OF FIRE BY NIGHT, OF CLOUD BY DAY (Part 1)

By Yvonne Blackwood~

A unique structure seen in countries with rugged coastlines is a lighthouse. Tourists are always fascinated with lighthouses for a number of reasons, one being that they are always off and away from the general population; there is a mystique about them. Certain questions come to mind when you gaze upon them. Why are they standing in specific locations? Who maintains them and when? Does anyone live in them? How many lives have they helped to save? In addition, novels and movies have featured lighthouses, adding to their intrigue.

Poets have even written romantic poems about lighthouses—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Lighthouse,” a classic example.

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
and on its outer point, some miles away,
the lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day…

Designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses, lighthouses serve practical purposes. They serve as navigational markers for marine pilots out at sea, they mark dangerous coastlines and reefs, they assist boats to enter harbours safely, and they assist aerial navigation. Lighthouses are not as popular as they once were, and there are fewer in operation today because they are expensive to maintain, but more importantly, because electronic navigational systems are now used with the improvement of modern technological advances in global positioning of satellites.

During my globetrotting escapades I have come across numerous interesting lighthouses. For the next few Saturdays, I shall cover different ones in my Theme Day posts. Today, I will begin with a fascinating lighthouse in Canada.

It’s been said that you can’t truly appreciate the magnificence of the Atlantic Ocean until you have traveled along the winding coastal road of the Lighthouse Route to the quaint fishing village and see the well-preserved beauty of Peggy’s Cove. One of the best-known lighthouses in Canada is Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse. Located in a small rural community on the eastern shore of St. Margaret’s Bay in Nova Scotia, it was built in 1868. It is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world.

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia
Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia

 

Of course the lighthouse has been upgraded over the years. The first structure, a wooden tower built atop a keeper’s dwelling, had a red light and used a catoptric reflector to magnify the kerosene oil lamp. The tower was replaced by the current one in 1915. Today a sturdy concrete octagon, the lighthouse which once showed a white light magnified by a series of glass prisms, has had several colour and character changes over the years. The latest colour change being from white to green in 1979. In addition, the white iron lantern on top of the tower was repainted red.

Do you have a favourite lighthouse?

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