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Presqu'ile (Mackenzie’s Wharf), ON  Lighthouse destroyed.   

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Presqu'ile (Mackenzie’s Wharf) Lighthouse

The name Presqu’ile, French for “almost an island,” has been applied to many features on both the American and Canadian shores of the Great Lakes. One of the perhaps lesser-known uses of Presqu’ile is for a feature on the western shore of Owen Sound.

In 1873, a new lighthouse was built at Mackenzie’s Wharf, which was located on a small peninsula known as Presqu’ile in Owen Sound. The lighthouse consisted of a square, wooden building, twenty-two feet high, that was topped by a wooden lantern room with a diameter of six feet. The lighthouse cost $1,050, and John Mackenzie, the owner of the wharf where the lighthouse was located, was appointed the first keeper of the light on July 14, 1873 at an annual salary of $50. Three mammoth, flat-wick lamps, set in sixteen-inch reflectors, were used to produce a fixed white light that could be seen at a distance of up to nineteen kilometres. The light was first exhibited on the evening of July 11, 1873.

The lighthouse, which was first listed as Mackenzie’s Wharf and then later as Presqu’ile, was built to guide steamers to the important wood dock at that location. In 1877, the inspector noted that Keeper Mackenzie had ten in his family and that an oil house was needed as the keeper used the base of the tower to store oil, which was considered very dangerous. The following year, the inspector recorded that Keeper Mackenzie’s family numbered nine and that an oil house had been built. The 1881 census shows that John Mackenzie and his wife Jane had seven children living with them, ranging in age from twenty to four. On more than one occasion, the inspector noted that Keeper Mackenzie maintained the station in very good order.

When John Mackenzie died in 1907, his son Hugh took charge of the lighthouse and looked after it until the light was discontinued in 1910.

Keepers: John Mackenzie (1873 – 1907), Hugh H. Mackenzie (1907 – 1910).


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

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