Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Save Canada's Lighthouses

If you live in any prairie province in western Canada, you probably are very familiar with large rectangular buildings, towering over small towns and communities known as grain elevators. These magnificent buildings have become historic icons; a glimpse of days gone by. Just as the grain elevators stand as symbols of the prairies, I can’t think of a better coastal icon then a lighthouse.

There are hundreds of lighthouses situated along the shores of Canada and most are in desperate need of improvements and protection. As a fellow east coaster who is proud to call Alberta home, the thought of loosing these landmarks is truly heartbreaking.

In 2008, a Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act was created, promising to provide Canada’s federally owned lighthouses protection that included heritage designation, maintenance and alterations and to ensure a continued public purpose. The act was passed in 2010, but with many stipulations that didn’t represent what was presented in 2008, slightly changing the document into the opposite of its original intentions to preserve and utilize the lighthouses.
Many communities are now working together to save their lighthouses by realigning the purpose of these buildings to a more community based one. Struggling with funding, supplies and volunteers, communities feel the strain but persevere to succeed in converting the lighthouses into useful tourist attractions. The town of Ferryland, NL has transformed their lighthouse into a summer picnic and café and in Midland, ON, community members are working to restore the Hope Island Lighthouse due to its heritage value.

Heritage Canada has created an online petition for anyone interested and wanting to offer support. If you would like to support community lighthouse initiatives, invest in preservation efforts or find out more information, please visit http://www.savecanadaslighthouses.ca/.

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