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Little Narrows, NS  Lighthouse accessible by car and a short, easy walk.Lighthouse destroyed.   

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Little Narrows Lighthouse

Bras d’Or Lake, the great inland sea in the heart of Cape Breton Island, has many inlets and bays formed by peninsulas that jut long distances into the lake. Grand Narrows, also known as Barra Strait, runs between Iona Peninsula and Washabuck Peninsula and is considered the dividing point between the northern and southern basins of the lake. Little Narrows, located on the opposite side of Washabuck Peninsula from Grand Narrows, is a narrowing in St. Patricks Channel, that runs between Washabuck Peninsula and Cape Breton, before connecting to Whycocomagh Bay.

Wooden Little Narrows Lighthouse
Photograph courtesy Nova Scotia Archives
Ferries were used at both Grand Narrows and Little Narrows to carry car traffic across the lake until a bridge was finished across Grand Narrows in 1993. Grand Narrows and Little Narrows were both once marked by lighthouses as well, but the completion of a railroad bridge across Grand Narrows led to the deactivation of the lighthouse there in 1895.

In 1880, the Department of Marine announced the completion of a lighthouse at Little Narrows:

A lighthouse has also been erected at Little Narrows, in the Bras d’Or Lake, Cape Breton. The building is a square wooden tower painted white, thirty-five feet high from base to vane. It is built on a foundation of hemlock posts. The contract was awarded to Mr. Neil McKenzie for $390.

The lantern is of iron, 5 ¼ feet in diameter, having six sides, three sides glazed with plate glass, 30 x 30 x 3/8 inch, and the other three sides blank. It is provided with two large flat-wick lamps, 18-inch reflectors, and one lamp of same kind without a reflector.

The light will be fixed white, elevated 40 feet above high water, and should be seen for a distance of eight miles. It will be put in operation on the opening of navigation in the spring of 1881.

By Order in Council of 29th October, 1880, Mr. John Ferguson, of South Side Little Narrows, has been appointed keeper at a salary of $120 per annum, to date from time light is put in operation.

In 1924, a sixth-order Fresnel lens and a duplex lamp replaced the lamps and reflectors previously used in the lantern room. A new lighthouse tower was erected at Little Narrows in 1950, and not long after this, the light was converted to battery operation and de-staffed.

By 1980, the tower at Little Narrows had started to lean as the foundation posts were rotting away. Rather than make extensive repairs, a temporary light was displayed from a mast starting in October 1980 and continuing until a white fibreglass tower was erected on the point two months later. This tower, like several others deployed in Nova Scotia, had two red bands, one near its middle and one close to the top.

The light atop the fibreglass tower was deactivated in 2010. The tower was still standing on the point in the fall of 2012, but the following spring it was lying on the ground. By 2014, the tower was no longer on the point.

Keepers: John Ferguson (1880 – 1892), John McDonald (1892 – 1896), Charles L. McDonald (1896 – 1902), Alexander W. Ross (1902 – 1912), M. Matheson (1912 – at least 1923).


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

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