Cape George Lighthouse

Nova Scotia, Canada | C.1968

Photo Credit: Kielan Pilgrim

“She thinks she can no longer remain to battle with the storms of this wild place,” wrote lightkeeper David Condon to Parliament Member Sir John Thompson in 1881. After twenty years of maintaining the Cape George Lighthouse, Condon and his wife struggled to sustain their lifestyle. Condon himself dealt with seemingly never ending illness brought on by the harsh living conditions.

The life of the lightkeeper in the 20th century was no easy feat. For the Cape George Lighthouse keepers, their days sometimes included enduring wild storms rife with unforgiving winds. These conditions tested the mettle of both the keeper and the lighthouse itself. First built in 1861, the lighthouse was rebuilt in 1908 in a wooden, octagonal shape with a separate frame dwelling nearby for the lightkeeper.

Keepers manually lit the light until 1968. That year, it was rebuilt again and this time constructed of concrete topped with a red octagonal lantern, seen here. Since the latest version was automated, the keeper at the time – William W. Clark, who had maintained the light for 17 years – was able to retire. His retirement ended a legacy of six lightkeepers over the span of 107 years.

In 2008, the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act declared the Cape George Lighthouse a heritage lighthouse due to the significance of its design. Like the lighthouses that stood before it, the current Cape George Lighthouse continues to watch over the bay. Since 2016, it has been maintained by the local community.

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