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MacKenzie Point, NS  Lighthouse destroyed.   

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MacKenzie Point Lighthouse

Boularderie Island is situated at the entrance to Bras d’Or Lake from Cabot Strait and the Atlantic Ocean, and two outlets from the lake run along the sides of the island: Great Bras d’Or Channel on the island’s northwestern shore and St. Andrews Channel and Little Bras d’Or Channel along the island’s southeastern shore. The island is named after Louis-Simon le Poupet de la Boularderie, who was granted the area by the King of France. Boularderie Island is forty kilometres long and between three and ten kilometres wide, which makes it Nova Scotia’s second largest island after Cape Breton Island.

Several lighthouses were built along Great Bras d’Or Channel to help mariners find the entrance to the channel from Cabot Strait and to navigate narrow sections of the channel. These lighthouses included, from north to south, Black Rock Point Lighthouse, Great Bras d’Or Range, McNeil Beach Lighthouse, Man of War Point Lighthouse, and MacKenzie Point Lighthouse.

The Department of Marine provided the following information on the new MacKenzie Point Lighthouse in its annual report for 1874:

This light-house was built during the present year, and is placed on McKenzie’s Point, north side of Bras d’Or Lake, about two miles south-west of Port Bevis, Victoria County, Cape Breton.

It is a fixed white light, elevated 95 feet above high water, and will be visible about 11 miles. The tower is a square wooden building, 20 feet high, painted white; the lantern is of wood, with iron floor and zinc linings, 6 feet in diameter, having eight sides glazed with plate-glass 36x30 inches, of which there is ono spare pane on hand.

The lighting apparatus consists of one circular-burner lamp with 18-inch reflector, and four circular burners with 16-inch reflectors. Three sides of the lantern are dark. 278 gallons of oil were delivered at this station, and three tanks. The keeper, who has no family, lives in the light-house, though no accommodation for a dwelling is provided. A boat 14 feet long is supplied.

The contractor for the building was Mr. W. Tory, and the cost $900.

Mr. Donald J. McKay was appointed keeper, at a salary of $160 per annum. The light was put in operation on the 19th of September, 1874, and is for the purpose of guiding vessels through the Bras d’Or Lake.

In 1876, Neil W. McKenzie was paid $900 to construct a dwelling for the keeper of MacKenzie Point Lighthouse a short distance from the tower. A report in 1878, noted that a cistern was needed as water had to be transported one-and-three-quarters of a mile to the station during dry seasons.

Keeper McKay was superannuated in 1890, and Hector McRae was placed in charge of the lighthouse. The wooden tower was thoroughly renewed in 1897, but in 1908, it was decided to build a new one rather than repair the old one. Work on a new wooden lighthouse began in 1908 using day labour and was finished the following year.

The wooden lighthouse remained standing at least through the 1950s. In 2012, a skeletal tower, fitted with red-and-white rectangular daymarks, was displaying a flashing red light at MacKenzie Point.

Keepers: Donald J. McKay (1874 – 1890), Hector McRae (1890 – 1909), Donald McAulay (1909 – 1912), H. McRae (1912 – 1918), Angus McRae (1918 – 1920), Mrs. E. McRae (1920), D.H. Carmichael (1920 – 1921), J.P. McKenzie (1921 – at least 1923).


  1. Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, various years.

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