|Thames River Range Rear, ON|
Description: A pioneer family by the name of Cartier settled at the mouth of the Thames River in the early 1800s. The family originally tended a simple lantern to help mariners find the entrance to the river at night until a wood-frame lighthouse was built. This formal structure was destroyed by fire during the War of 1812, which led to the erection of a limestone tower in 1818. This stone tower, which still stands today, became the property of the Federal Government in 1837 and was extended in 1867, the same year as Canadian Confederation. The extension can easily be detected by the stone ring partway up the tower.
The Cartier family cared for the lighthouse for about 150 years until William "Dick" Cartier passed away in 1950. The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority obtained the lighthouse in 1972, relocated the structure in 1973, rebuilding it stone by stone in the process, and restored the navigational lights in the range lights in 1974. A plaque near the lighthouse honors James L. Cooke, a member of the Conservation Authority, who lead the restoration of the tower and light.
The lighthouse now stands in the one-hectare Lighthouse Conservation Area, which is controlled by the Conservation Authority. The Thames River Lighthouse is the second oldest in Ontario. Only Toronto's Gibraltar Point is older.
Located near the confluence of the Thames River and Lake St. Clair. The lighthouse is owned by the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority. Grounds open, tower closed.
The lighthouse is owned by the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority. Grounds open, tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.