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 Stokes Bay Range Front, ON    
Lighthouse best viewed by boat or plane.
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.

Information on Stokes Bay Range Lights
Position History Light Characteristics Focal Height Nominal Range Description/Height of tower above ground
Front Erected in 1904. Red flash every 4 seconds. 9.4 m. 4 M White cylindrical tower, red upper and lower portions. 12.6 m.
Rear Erected in 1904. Fixed Red 19 m. 11 M White square skeleton tower, red rectangular daymark. 1,219.1 m. from front. 22.6 m.

Location: Front range light located on the northwest extreme of the westernmost Knife Islands.
Latitude: 44.96711
Longitude: -81.39051

For a larger map of Stokes Bay Range Front Lighthouse, click the lighthouse in the above map or get a map from: Mapquest.

Travel Instructions: At the intersection of Highway 6 and County Road 9 on the Bruce Peninsula, turn west onto County Road 9. After 4 km (2.5 miles), turn right on Stokes Bay Road and continue 4.6 km (4 miles) to the town of Stokes Bay. In Stokes Bay, turn left onto Stokes River Road, and when it ends after 0.64 km (0.4 miles), turn right onto Tamarac Road. Stay on Tamarac Road for 2.4 km (1.5 miles) by always staying left, and you will reach Tamarac Island Inn from the grounds of which you can get a distant view of the range lights. Note that in 2009 the rear tower was replaced by a modern structure.

The range lights are owned by the Coast Guard. Grounds open, tower closed.

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