NLPS Nottawasaga Lighthouse Preservation Society

Registered Name: Nottawasaga Lighthouse Preservation Society

Business Number: 805224599RR0001

Since 1858, this lighthouse has saved many lives. It’s our turn. Without funding, this lighthouse will crumble to the ground.

We have done our best to preserve it from further decay. Please help bring it back to it’s glorious state.

Whether you want to simply stay up to date with our progress or volunteer in some capacity, the first step is to join NLPS. Click on the button, fill out the online form and with your $25 minimum donation you are set!

One of six "Imperial Towers" built on the Great Lakes, the Nottawasga Lighthouse has been an iconic local landmark for over 150 years.  With its impressive masonry construction and intricate finishing details of European origin, the Nottawasaga Lighthouse has provided safe passage for both commercial ships and recreational boaters around the treacherous shoals and shallow waters that guard the entrance to Collingwood's harbour.

Having saved countless lives through its 159 year history, the life of the Nottawasaga Lighthouse is now endangered itself and needs saving. Why save this seemingly redundant structure? Lighthouses such as this have played an integral role in Canada's maritime history and in particular, Collingwood's Shipbuilding past. Although no longer a "lighted" navigational aid, the mere physical presence of this towering structure serves to assist recreational boaters in visually navigating their way safety back to the safe harbour in Collingwood both in good weather and in bad.

The Nottawasaga Lighthouse Preservation Society (NLPS) is a registered charity dedicated to the restoration and protection of the Nottawasaga Island Lighthouse. Preserving its history for present and future generations of Canadians to enjoy while ensuring its role as a navigational landmark continues.

We need your help. No contribution to this worthy cause is too small and you too can make a difference in helping us to preserve this unique part of Canada's Great Lakes history. JOIN NLPS as a MEMBER, make a DONATION or VOLUNTEER to help in whatever capacity you feel comfortable with.

To learn more about the past history and current status of this unique piece of Canada's maritime heritage, please visit the HISTORY page of this website or CONTACT US for further information as to how you can help us in our Mission to save this unique and iconic structure.

The Early Years

In 1851, Collingwood became the northern-most terminal of the Simcoe and Huron Railway line which would link the growing city of Toronto on the shore of Lake Ontario to ports on Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. The first train of this fledgling rail line reached Collingwood in 1855 marking the beginning of Collingwood’s role as a major port on the upper Great Lakes.

Constructed between 1855 -1858, the Nottawasga Lighthouse was one of six Imperial Towers constructed by Scottish stonemason, John Brown. Brown’s first government project was the construction of the Gull Island Lighthouse in Lake Erie between 1846 and 1848. Subsequently, he was retained to build seven additional light stations in Ontario, including one in Burlington, Ontario.

Brown however is best remembered for building the Imperial Towers, six nearly identical light stations around Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. These include the Nottawasaga light at Collingwood, Cove Island off Tobermory, marking the entrance from Lake Huron to Georgian Bay, Griffith Island near Wiarton, Christian Island, as well as, the Lake Huron lights at Chantry Island off Southampton and at Point Clark.  Initially, eleven Imperial Towers were planned but only six were completed. The projects that were cancelled were to be at White Fish Island near Sault Ste. Marie, Mississagi Strait on the west end of Manitoulin Island, St. Joseph Island on Lake Huron and at Clapperton Island and Badgley Island both of which are located on the North Channel near Kagawong on Manitoulin Island and Killarney respectively.

Made from locally quarried cut stone, the towers measured approximately 85 feet in height and had wall thicknesses from 7 feet at the base tapering to 2 feet at the top. The ornate and intricate lantern rooms were imported from France as were the Fresnel lens, a unique design made much thinner than a comparable conventional lens allowing it to capture more oblique light from a light source, thus allowing the light from a lighthouse equipped with one to be visible over greater distances.

The Nottawasaga Lighthouse was first lit in 1858 which ironically was the same year in which the Town of Collingwood became incorporated. The light remained operational for 124 years during which time 13 full time lightkeepers and their families occupied the Island.

In 1959, operation of the lighthouse was automated following the loss of the lightkeeper’s house due to a fire marking the end of an era when the operation of lighthouses was a laborious task, often in remote locations and in the most adverse of weather.

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