Heritage lighthouses

Heritage lighthouses are traditional properties that are designated, or receive special status, under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. Once designated, heritage lighthouses must be well maintained, and custodians must follow Parks Canada's Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. Restorations to heritage lighthouses must be consistent with national standards of conservation.

Learn about heritage lighthouses in Canada and how to acquire one.

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Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act

The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act allows surplus lighthouses to be transferred to individuals and communities and converted into heritage properties. The new owners must care for and responsibly manage these properties. 

The Government of Canada continues to own and manage lighthouses that are not designated under the act.

Designation of heritage lighthouses

To designate a heritage lighthouse, an individual, community group or municipality must first nominate a surplus lighthouse for heritage status. This involves submitting a plan explaining how they intend use the lighthouse.

Based on the plan, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada:

  • evaluates the historical, architectural and community value of the nominated lighthouse
  • recommends whether to transfer the lighthouse to new owners and designate the property as a heritage site

On some heritage lighthouse sites, the Government of Canada continues to operate aids to navigation to help mariners. The new owners must allow the government to continue to operate and maintain these sites.

To help the transfer of heritage lighthouses and ensure they are conserved and accessible to the public, the government maintains a $2 million annual budget and a Grants and Contributions Program for the Disposal of Surplus Lighthouses, valued at $500,000 each year.

Parks Canada has more information on:

How to acquire a heritage lighthouse

The government keeps a list of surplus lighthouses available for transfer to new owners. If you're interested in acquiring a lighthouse, please consult the Alternate Use Study of Surplus Lighthouses, where you'll find ideas on different ways to use these sites.

Contact us

For more information, contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada at info@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

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