Cape Breton lighthouses win more than $150,000 in cash prizes.
Cape Breton lighthouses in Neils Harbour, Gabarus, Low Point and on Henry Island were among nine winners announced of a provincewide contest.
The This Lighthouse Matters campaign, under the direction of the National Trust of Canada and the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, distributed $ 250,000 in prizes Thursday.
“We are over the moon. We couldn’t possibly be more delighted,” said Debbie Lee Pearson, spokeswoman for the Low Point Lighthouse Preservation Society, which received a $ 75,000 prize for finishing first in the high tide category.
The Low Point lighthouse was decommissioned in the late- 80s. Prize money will help to address erosion as it sits on an embankment in Sydney harbour. The society also hopes to make it a tourist attraction.
Pearson said the light has 183 years of history.
“It deserves a place in history and it deserves a place in our future.”
The Gabarus lighthouse also sits close to an embankment. A move to firmer ground is now more likely after it won $ 50,000 prize for taking second place in the high tide category.
Janet McGillen, a spokeswoman for the Gabarus group, said the community rallied behind the vote for their lighthouse.
“It’s the centre of our village, really,” she said. “It’s what everyone looks for as they are coming down the road or coming in from the sea, so it is just perfect.”
She hopes people will support the lighthouses that weren’t winners. People can still contribute to the crowdfunding campaign by visiting www.thisplacematters.ca.
“The chances of raising that kind of money are slim and there’s a lot of really beautiful, historic lighthouses that are now in jeopardy.”
The Henry Island lighthouse near Port Hood has stood for more than a century along Nova Scotia’s western coast.
It took second in the ebb tide category and $ 20,000 for shingles and paint to spruce up the lighthouse that’s popular with locals and visitors alike.
“The community goes over on their own in kayaks and speedboats to visit the island,” said David MacDonald.
“It kind of sits there kind of quietly and no one really pays that much attention, but when you bring it forward everybody gets on the bandwagon, so that is good.”
The Neils Harbour lighthouse took second place in the low tide category to win a $ 10,000 prize.
The heritage property was built in 1899 and the community is working toward roof repairs, painting a fence on its perimeter.
There are also plans to host community festivals and events to commemorate its designation as a heritage site.
“It deserves a place in history and it deserves a place in our future.” Debbie Lee Pearson, spokeswoman for the Low Point Lighthouse Preservation Society
Built in 1832, the Low Point lighthouse is located on the Colliery Route, just 18 kilometres from the port of Sydney. It has been a beacon to guide mariners and has overseen ships travelling to and from the harbour in times of war.
The Gabarus lighthouse was built in 1890 and the society created to protect it says it’s the only hexagonal lighthouse in Nova Scotia.
The Neils Harbour lighthouse was built in 1899. It’s located on the headland on the east side entrance to Neils Harbour, offering a panorama of the fishing town.
The Henry Island lighthouse was built in 1902. It is a 65foot, red-and-white octagonal tower and has a flashing light that still guides ships with a beam can be seen for six miles.