|Stokes Bay Range Front, ON|
Description: Located midway up the Lake Huron side of the Bruce Peninsula, Stokes Bay provides a desirable anchorage but is littered with islands. Almost two kilometers in length, Lyal Island is the largest island and guards the entrance to the bay. A wooden lighthouse was erected on the western shore of Lyal Island in 1885 to guide mariners along the coast and into Stokes Bay. This tower stood 17.3 meters (57 feet) tall and was first watched over by Captain John McKay. After the tower was automated in 1959, it fell victim to vandals and was replaced by a steel tower in the 1960s.
In 1904, a pair of range lights was erected in Stokes Bay to help guide vessels between Lyal Island and Mad Reef. The front range light was placed on the northwestern end of the largest of the Knife islands, while the rear range light was located on the mainland, 1,291 meters east of the front light. In the 1990s, the wooden square pyramidal tower that had served as the front range light was replaced by a cylindrical tower. Fortunately, the tower was not torn down, but the abandoned structure faces an uncertain future.
In late summer of 2009, the Canadian Coast Guard informed Bruce County of its intention to replace the Stokes Bay Rear Range Lighthouse, which consists of a three-tiered, tapered steel frame, surmounted by a wooden watchroom and lantern. Not willing to lose part of its marine heritage, the county quickly devised a plan wherein a heavy-lift helicopter, owned by National Helicopters in Vaughn, Ontario, would transport the lighthouse in two pieces to the parking lot of Black Creek Provincial Park where it would be loaded on a heavy equipment float and trucked to Southampton. After volunteers reassembled and restored the lighthouse using traditional paint and craftsmanship, a celebration was held at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre in June of 2011 to celebrate the opening of its new Stokes Bay Lighthouse exhibit. The lighthouse stands in the museum's backyard overlooking Fairy Lake.
The Bruce Peninsula Lightkeepers Association has been formed to save the front range lighthouse. The group is raising funds to restore the tower and in October 2012 submitted a grant application to the Ontario Trillium Fund.
Front range light located on the northwest extreme of the westernmost Knife Islands. The range lights are owned by the Coast Guard. Grounds open, tower closed.
The range lights are owned by the Coast Guard. Grounds open, tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.