The Hamilton Spectator
ca 1934FORMER BEACH LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER
PETE COLETTI was Hamilton’s last lighthouse keeper. He kept the light at the Beach Canal Lighthouse and lived at a nearby lightkeeper’s cottage for 23 years. Coletti looked like pirate and shared the cottage with a parrot named Gasbag, a Doberman named Dogface and different women over the years. At one point late in his tenure, his answering machine startled callers when his deep-throated voice intoned “Peter Peter the lighthouse keeper and Mary the Mermaid.”
His job entailed checking the equipment three or four times a day, making sure lights to guide ships into the harbour were burning bright. He would do painting and general maintenance. But by 1990, Ottawa automated the light and transferred Pete to a lighthouse near Point Pelee that some called Little Alcatraz.
That facility became automated as well, sending Coletti to Gannet Rock Light, off New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island.
These days at the age of 82, he’s retired, living close to the spray of the Bay of Fundy, near Saint John.