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Cape Sharp, NS  A hike of some distance required.   

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Cape Sharp Lighthouse

Original Cape Sharpe Lighthouse with attached dwelling
Photograph courtesy Sue-Ellyn Eldridge
According to the 1885 edition of Sailing Directions for the South-East Coast of Nova Scotia and Bay of Fundy, “Cape Sharp derives its names from a remarkably sharp eminence, 300 feet high, with which it terminates.” Cape Sharp and Cape Split, extending from the opposite shore and just 2 2/3 miles distant from Cape Sharp, define the narrowest part of the entrance to Minas Basin.

In 1838, New Brunswick was preparing to construct a lighthouse for Cape Enrage, which, it felt, would benefit Nova Scotia vessels as much as those from New Brunswick. In return for placing a lighthouse on Cape Enrage and earlier on Quaco Head, officials in New Brunswick suggested that Nova Scotia should place a white light on Cape Split or possibly on Cape Sharpe to guide vessels up Minas Basin.

Nova Scotia finally did place a lighthouse on Cape Sharp, but it was not placed in service until November 1, 1886. The first Cape Sharp Lighthouse was a square white wooden tower, thirty-four feet tall, attached to a two-story dwelling, Robert J. Ward served as its keeper. A sixth-order lens was used in the lantern room to produce a fixed red light that could be seen from a distance of ten miles.

A hand foghorn was given to Keeper Elisha Phinney in 1899, and then on March 1, 1904, a formal fog signal was activated at Cape Sharp that gave blasts of 3 ˝ second’s duration every minute. Built under contract by A. H. Dyer of Parrsboro for $1,307, the fog alarm building was a rectangular wooden structure with a red roof and was located 225 feet from the lighthouse with a horn projecting from its seaward face at an elevation of forty-five feet above high-water mark. The Canadian Fog Signal of Toronto supplied the machinery for $2,400.

The present lighthouse, a pepper-shaker-style white tower with a red lantern room, was constructed in 1973 along with a dwelling for the keeper, who at that time was Victor Elliott. Victor and his wife Betty served for around twenty years at Cape Sharp. Kevin Harvey took charge of the light from Victor Elliott in 1985 and remained at the station until it was destaffed in 1988. Johnson McPhee of Parrsboro purchased the keeper’s dwelling, cut it in half, and hauled it up over Cape Split Road. The home is now located on West Bay Road, roughly two kilometres west of the Ottawa House.

Head Keepers: Robert J. Ward (1886 – 1893), Elisha Phinney (1893 – 1902), Freeman Yorke (1902 – 1913), J.E. George (1913 – 1926), G.E. George (1926 – 1927), R.E. George (1927 – 1935), C.M. George (1935 – 1936), Norman Morton Durrant (1936 – 1954), Albert Stanley Green (1963 – ), Victor Elliott (1965 – 1985), Kevin Harvey (1985 – 1988).


  1. Annual Report of the Department of Marine , various years.
  2. Lighthouses & Lights of Nova Scotia, E.H. Rip Irwin, 2003.

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