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 Goderich, ON    
Lighthouse accessible by car and a short, easy walk.
Description: The harbour at Goderich was originally just the mouth of the Menesetung (Maitland) River, but in the 1830s, the Canada Company constructed two stone piers to provide protection for the anchorage.

Goderich Lighthouse with dwelling
Photograph courtesy D. Jewell
Goderich is the oldest Canadian light station on Lake Huron and first consisted of a pair of range lights established in the early 1830s. Thomas Mercer Jones, a powerful land magnate with the Canada Company, sold the parcel of land overlooking the harbour on which the lighthouse was built to the Queen in the 1840s.

Adam MacVicar, a stone mason born in Edinburgh Scotland, worked on the construction of the Welland Canal after immigrating to Canada in the early 1800s. After his work on the Canal, he relocated to Goderich and helped build the lighthouse in 1847.

In 1872, the government solicited bids for the construction of a breakwater in the harbour to protect the bank, just east of the lighthouse, that was fast being eroded by wave action. The contract was awarded to a Brantford firm, which completed the project during the summer of 1873 at a cost of $3,850.

Five panes of French plate glass, 61 1/2 by 37 inches and three-eights of an inch thick, were installed in the lantern room of the Goderich Lighthouse in 1883. The light source was also upgraded at that time to ten mammoth flat-wick burners. According to the Huron Signal, Keeper G. N. McDonald was exceedingly pleased with the improvements to the lighthouse. The lighthouse was further improved in 1908 through the installation of a "dioptric illuminating apparatus" that replaced the previous "catoptric apparatus." The present outer breakwaters were added to the harbour between 1904 and 1908.

As a result of the perceived inadequacy of the lights at Goderich during the Great Lakes Storm of 1913, also known as the "Big Blow," the stone tower was heightened five feet in 1914 and received a concrete deck, to replace the old stone deck, and a new lantern room with a "double-flash long-focus reflector" for the light. Electricity also arrived at the lighthouse that year, which allowed for the automation of the light. The keeper's dwelling that was attached to the square tower was sold off and relocated to a private parcel just northeast of the tower, where it served as part of "Craigie Cottages." The keeper's dwelling was torn down in 1985, after having been purchased by a new owner in 1980.

In a legal transaction, dated August 29, 2003, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sold the lighthouse and the surrounding land to the Town of Goderich for the sum of one dollar. In 2009, local marine enthusiasts and Marine Heritage Committee approached the Town of Goderich about restoring the lighthouse exterior to its original condition. After extensive research, the tower was stripped of its paint, had its mortar replaced with period mortar, received a new door and windows, and was repainted with three coats of paint Thoroseal. Interactive signage designed by Goderich Marine Heritage was installed at the site and after new gardens were planted a grand public opening was held in June 2010.


Information on Goderich Main Lighthouse
History Light Characteristics Focal Height Nominal Range Description/Height of tower above ground
Erected in 1847. Two white flashes every 25 seconds 42.7 m. 16 M White square tower, red lantern. 10.1 m.

References

  1. Correspondence with D. Jewell.
  2. ACO Preservation Works! - the Goderich Lighthouse, December, 2007.
  3. "Town received excellence award for lighthouse restoration," Dominique Milburn, The Goderich Signal-Star, October 5, 2010.

Location: Located on a bluff overlooking Lake Huron in Goderich.
Latitude: 43.7415
Longitude: -81.7246

For a larger map of Goderich Lighthouse, click the lighthouse in the above map or get a map from: Mapquest.


Travel Instructions: From Highway 41, turn west towards Lake Huron on Elgin Avenue. After four blocks turn right on Wellesley Street, and then after two blocks turn left onto Lighthouse Street. The Goderich Lighthouse is located at the end of the street.

The lighthouse is owned and maintained by the Town of Goderich. Grounds open, tower closed.

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Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.