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 Caribou Island, ON    
Lighthouse best viewed by boat or plane.Photogenic lighthouse or setting.
Description: Reg Dawson was keeper of Caribou Island Lighthouse, when an article published in 1968, said that the only drawback Dawson thought his job had was the lack of a public library. To pass the time on the remote island, Dawson tried his hand at writing fiction.

Old and new lighthouses at Caribou Island in 1911
Photograph courtesy Canadian Coast Guard
A second-order lens manufactured by Chance Brothers of England was installed atop the thirty-metre tower at Caribou Island in 1886. At that time, the light source was kerosene, and the lens was rotated by means of a grandfather-clock-type mechanism using weights to turn the gears of the apparatus. These weights were fastened to a cable which dropped down through the centre of the lighthouse. In order to keep the light rotating, the keeper would have to crank up the weight every twelve hours. Friction in the turntable apparatus was kept to a minimum by using a mercury bath as the flotation medium.

In the early 1960s, the lightstation was powered by diesel generators and the light was electrified. An electric motor was adapted to provide the rotation and a 400-watt mercury vapour lamp provided the light source, which could be see over twenty miles on a clear night.

The lens was removed from service in 1992 when the light station was solarized and the light was replaced with a twelve-volt D/C rotating beacon. The magnificent lens is now on display at the Canadian Coast Guard base in Parry Sound.


  1. "The rugged individualists who man our inland lights," Transport Canada, May-June, 1968.

Location: Located on a small island southwest of Caribou Island.
Latitude: 47.339593
Longitude: -85.825839

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

Travel Instructions: Caribou Island Lighthouse is best seen by boat or from the air.

The lighthouse is owned by the Canadian Coast Guard. Grounds open, tower closed.

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Pictures on this page copyright Joel Cooper, used by permission.