Canada’s tallest lighthouse is crumbling

Canada’s tallest lighthouse is crumbling

Main pic: Cap-des-Rosiers lighthouse, Gaspésie, Québec, july 1971. Photo credit: Laurent Bélanger

Cap-des-Rosiers (Quebec) 22 October 2014 – There are many lighthouses on the shores of Canada’s coasts, both east and west, but there is one that stands taller than all the rest in a small Gaspesian town called Cap-des-Rosiers.

The lighthouse stands 34 metres (103’) tall and has been classified as a National Historical site by the Canadian Government. Construction was finished in 1858 and since then it has served as a beacon for ships, to define the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the Bay of Gaspé. It was built after a ship transporting Irish citizens wrecked and sank on the hidden rocks at the eastern point of the Gaspé Peninsula, just north of Percé – killing 100 people.

Compared to the Lighthouse at Peggy’s cove in Nova Scotia, it may not be the most photographed but, it is a magnificent example of a lighthouse from the era when lighthouses guided ships all along the eastern shores and today serves as an entrance to Forillon National Park. It is one of several lighthouses in the area, including Cap Gaspé, Cap de la Renommé, and l’ile d’Anticosti.

The structure however is starting to crumble in the form of cracks between the marble blocks from which it is constructed. The problem is significant enough that water actually enters the inside of the building and ends up freezing in the winter causing the cracks to open even more than they already are.

For the moment, no one seems to want to repair the crumbling walls. The Federal Government has signed off on the structure saying it’s too expensive to maintain, and the City of Gaspé, which is close by, doesn’t have the money to make the necessary repairs which they estimate would cost around $3 to 5 million.

The area has started a petition to force someone’s hand to pay for the repairs which are becoming urgent. So far 2973 signatures have been gathered through cards, the internet and on paper.

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