Haut-fond Prince Lighthouse

Tadoussac Bay, Quebec | C.1964

Photo Credit: Sascha Widemann

The Haut-fond Prince Lighthouse sits in the St. Lawrence River at the mouth of the Saguenay River, south of Tadoussac Bay in Quebec, Canada. Built in 1964, the light replaces the Prince Shoal Lightship station that had been established in 1902.

Nicknamed The Spinning Top, the lighthouse warns passing vessels of the undersea hazard in the area and its tapered base helps it resist the 20-foot tides. Construction of the light tower was started in 1961 in response to the year-round opening of the seaway the year prior.

During the Christmas storm of 1966, it was pounded by high waves, fierce winds and snow for two days. Despite sustaining major damage, it was able to withstand conditions far worse than those for which it was designed, protecting the keepers inside.

Surrounded by water and anchored to the hazardous shoal below, the Light tower is an elegant engineering solution for a modern light tower. Its composition maximizes the visual impact of the waisted caisson structure – innovative for its time – in balance with the horizontal accommodation unit and vertical pillar light.

Based on a custom plan of the Department of Transport, the steel and reinforced concrete structure was constructed using proven marine technologies and standard industrial materials for the time. When initially lit in 1964, the tower’s 33,000,000 candlepower light was reportedly the strongest in North America.

The Haut-Fond Prince is one of a number of light towers in the vicinity that are visited by tour groups from both sides of the river, it remains operational to this day and is a ‘Recognized’ Federal Heritage Building due* to its historical associations as well as its architectural and environmental values.

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