Lighthouses in Canada
The first lighthouse in Canada was established at Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, in 1734.
In 1970, the coast guard began the process of systematically automating lightstations and removing staff from them.
Technological developments in lighthouse equipment had made it possible to operate the lights and to activate foghorns without immediate human attention.
In British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, public pressure effectively stopped the removal of lightkeepers in 1998.
■At remote locations, helicopters and vessels are used to resupply lightstations and move lightkeepers, which contributes to higher maintenance costs.
Of the 50 staffed facilities in the two regions, 29 are located at remote sites that have no year -round road access.
In the Newfoundland and Labrador region, 18 of the 23 staffed stations can be reached by road. Five are in remote locations: Puffin Island, Green Island (Trinity Bay), Green Island (Fortune Bay), Pass Island and Cape Race.
All 23 staffed lightstations are equipped with solarized equipment, most are powered by hydro, and several have wind turbines and solar power or a combination of the two.
Three of the five remote sites have backup diesel power for the lightkeepers.
At the five remote sites, a rotational system based on 28-day shifts is used. Two people per shift work 28 continuous days and are replaced by two new keepers for the next 28-day period. The system requires four lightkeepers per station. Because of remoteness, relief keepers are required to replace absent keepers.
Estimated total operational costs of the agency’s staffed lighthouse program to be $11.5 million in 2008 – Newfoundland and Labrador region accounted for $3.2 million.