|Big Tub, ON|
Description: Charles Earl and Abraham Davis were the first permanent settles of Tobermory, situated at the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula. As shipping into the natural harbour at Tobermory developed due to fishing and logging, Charles Earl hung a lantern on a tree branch at night during the to guide vessels through the dangerous passageways that led to the harbour. According to a “Departmental Letter” dated January 28, 1881, Earl received $100 each year for “keeping the light at Tobermory Harbour.”
In 1885, three lots on the west side of the entrance to Big Tub Harbour were purchased by the Department of Marine at a cost of $18, for the erection of a lighthouse. That same year, John George and David Currie of Port Elgin constructed a wooden tower for $675 on the point where Charles Earl had previously tended his lantern.
The Canada Sessional Papers of 1886 gave the following description of the beacon at Tobermory: “A light on the west side of the entrance to Tobermory Harbou, Georgain Bay … From the opening of navigation … a fixed red dioptric light will be shown, elevated 40 feet above the level of the lake, and visible 8 miles from all points of approach. The tower is a hexagonal wooden building, surrounded by an iron lantern, having a height of 43 feet from ground to lantern vane.”
Abraham Davis was appointed keeper of the lighthouse in 1885, replacing Charles Earl, “who was in temporary charge” of the light. Davis held the position of keeper for ten years, until he disappeared while on a trip to Devil Island in 1895. His son, Henry Bradley Davis, was appointed the next keeper of the lighthouse.
A hand foghorn, which was activated in response to a signal from nearby vessels, was added to the lighthouse in 1910. The final keeper of the light was Thomas Andrew Hopkins, a veteran of World War I, who would serve from 1926 until the light was electrified and automated in 1952.
A pathway to and a viewing area around the lighthouse was created in 1985 by Friends of Fathom Five. Repairs to the lighthouse itself were required in 1987 when a powerful winter storm washed away part of the foundation and some of tower’s shingles.
Located at the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula. The lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard. Grounds open, tower closed.
The lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard. Grounds open, tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.