Fu­ture bright for the light

Lo­cal group breathes new life into Point Prim light­house

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MITCH MACDON­ALD

It ap­pears there is a bright fu­ture in store for P.E.I.’s oldest light­house.

The Point Prim Light­house So­ci­ety hosted an open house on Satur­day to cel­e­brate the group’s re­cent ac­qui­si­tion of the light­house while also show­cas­ing new im­prove­ments to the more than 170-year-old struc­ture.

The past year has seen the con­struc­tion of a new Keeper’s Cot­tage, a re­in­forced sea­wall, an open air pav­il­ion, ex­panded park­ing and a fresh coat of paint. Light­house as­sis­tant su­per­vi­sor Camil­lea Dean, noted that many in the crowd on Satur­day were descen­dants of light­house keep­ers.

“It’s a re­ally big thing for the com­mu­nity,” said Dean.

“A lot of work has been put into this and ev­ery­one has ex­tremely pos­i­tive feed­back.”

Su­per­vi­sor Steven Taran, said many in the com­mu­nity have a deep per­sonal con­nec­tion to the light­house and take a lot of pride in the struc­ture.

“A lot of the peo­ple that live in the com­mu­nity can trace one of their an­ces­tors back to be­ing an orig­i­nal light­house keeper,’ he said.

“The com­mu­nity is re­ally in­volved and com­mit­ted in keep­ing this light­house main­tained and keep­ing the prop­erty beau­ti­ful.”

The struc­ture was fin­ished in 1846 and is the oldest light­house on P.E.I.

It is also the prov­ince’s only round brick light­house and sees more than 20,000 vis­i­tors from around the world ev­ery sum­mer.

The new cot­tage will act as a gift shop, while also pro­vid­ing an in­ter­pre­ta­tive space and in­door bath­rooms.

Taran noted the gift shop sup­ports lo­cal ar­ti­sans, with all items cre­ated by in­di­vid­u­als liv­ing within about 15 km of the light­house.

The up­grades will also help the sus­tain­abil­ity of the prop­erty, which has seen more than four acres of its shore­line eroded away since the light­house’s con­struc­tion.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant to con­tinue do­ing what we can to save it,” said Taran.

The up­grades were made pos­si­ble through $318,042 from the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency’s In­no­va­tive Com­mu­ni­ties Fund and $74,492 from Her­itage Canada’s Canada Cul­tural Spa­ces Fund.

Doreen Huestis, trea­surer for the so­ci­ety, thanked gov­ern­ment for the fund­ing.

“We strive to pro­vide tourists with an un­for­get­table cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence, and th­ese up­grades will al­low peo­ple to en­joy the light­house for years to come,” said Huestis.

“Th­ese con­tri­bu­tions will help us to keep P.E.I.’s oldest light­house shin­ing into the fu­ture.”

The light­house is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. un­til Oc­to­ber.

MITCH MACDON­ALD/THE GUARDIAN

Ju­lia Rout­ley and her son, Owen, of On­tario, read some of the his­tory of the Point Prim Light­house while vis­it­ing the struc­ture this past week­end.

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