While driving down from Manitoulin to Sarnia along the eastern shore of Lake Huron, I detoured a mile or so off the main road (Hwy. 21) between Kincardine and Goderich to visit the Point Clark Lighthouse. The shoreline makes a small hook into the lake at Point Clark, creating a large shoal that extends for almost a mile offshore.
The light and the lightkeeper's house are in very good condition, especially considering that they are over 140 years old. Six of these Imperial Lights were built on Lake Huron. Construction was begun in 1855 and finished in 1859. The tower is built from limestone quarried a few miles north at Inverhuron. At the base of the tower, the walls are six feet thick, and they taper as the tower rises over 87 feet. (The navigation chart lists the light height as 93 feet.) A domed roof and 12-sided cast iron lantern top the structure. At each facet, a bronze lion head at the eaves directs rainwater away.
Because the winter weather along the eastern shore can be severe, a tunnel was dug from the light to the lightkeeper's house, even though it is just a few feet away. This permitted the lightkeeper to tend to his duties without having to venture outside in storms. The original light was oil-fired and had to be refueled often. The lightkeeper would climb to the top, then use a rope and pulley to raise a bucket of oil from the main oil resevoir at the base. The stain of the oil and its smell remain to this day. The original light and lens were removed when the light was electrified and automated, but the museum society is trying to have them returned to the site. For a modest fee, you can climb to the top in the company of a tour guide. Some of the original staircase remains, but portions of it have been replaced with newer contruction to enhance the safety of the climb.
The lightkeeper's house has been converted to a museum, while retaining many of its original decorations and furniture. The light was tended by a number of men and their families, some staying for many, many years. The last lightkeeper was retired in the 1960's.
The Township of Huron operates the museum; the light is now part of Parks Canada. The site is open from late June to Labour Day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It is also open for groups by reservation in May and June. For more information call:
[Unfortunately, all of the links listed below are now dead links as of 2016.]