Cape Race Lighthouse

Cape Race Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located in Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland. The light's characteristic is a single white flash every 7.5 seconds, additionally a foghorn may sound a signal of two blasts every 60 seconds. It is located on one of Canada's busiest shipping lanes.[2] The lighthouse is also a tourist attraction.[3]

Cape Race Lighthouse
The second Cape Race Lighthouse from 1907
Cape Race Lighthouse
LocationAvalon Peninsula
Newfoundland and Labrador
Coordinates46°39′31.2″N 53°04′25.6″W
Year first constructed1856 (first) relocated in 1980 to Ottawa at Canada Science and Technology Museum
Year first lit1907 (current)
Constructionconcrete tower
Tower shapecylindrical tower with balcony and lantern
Markings / patternwhite tower, red lantern
Tower height29 metres (95 ft)
Focal height52 metres (171 ft)
Original lensHyperradiant Fresnel lens by Chance Brothers
Range24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi)
CharacteristicFl W 7.5s
Fog signalHorn (2) 60s
Admiralty numberH0444
CHS numberCCG 1
NGA number1904
ARLHS numberCAN-118
Managing agentCape Race National Historic Site [1]
Heritagenational historic site of Canada, recognized federal heritage building of Canada, heritage lighthouse 
Official nameCape Race Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada


In 1856, the first lighthouse was installed by the British Government's Trinity House. It was a cast iron tower with a coal oil lamp turned by clockwork. In 1872 the lighthouse keeper was Patrick Myrick; members of his family continued to operate the lighthouse for more than 100 years.[4] In 1886 responsibility for operation of the lighthouse was transferred to the Dominion of Canada.[5][6]

In 1904 the Marconi Company set up a wireless radio station at the lighthouse.[4] The cast iron tower was replaced in 1907 by a 29-metre (95 ft) tall concrete tower and a light with a massive hyperradiant Fresnel lens made by Chance Brothers in England.[7] Its optic emitted a one million candle power flash.[8] Great landfall lights like those at Cape Race provided the first sight of land for Atlantic travelers.[9]

After the new tower was built, the original lighthouse was moved to Cape North; it now stands in front of the National Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa.

The Cape Race Lighthouse was in the news in April 1912, when it received the Titanic distress call, an unusual event for radio technology of the era.[4]

The lighthouse was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1975.[10]

In 2006, David Myrick, with help from Noel and Liam Myrick - part of a lineage of Myrick lighthouse keepers at Cape Race, contributed wood from the cabinet housing the motor driving the Fresnel to the Six String Nation project. Part of this material serves as the heel brace at the joint of the neck and body of Voyageur, the guitar at the heart of the project.[11]

See also


  1. Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Southeast Newfoundland". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  2. Canadian Historic Sites; Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History: Lieux Historiques Canadiens; Cahiers D'archéologie Et D'histoire. Parks Canada. 1975. p. 48.
  3. "Mistaken Point road upgrade boosts summer visitor numbers". CBC News, Sep 11, 2014
  4. "‘Struck iceberg. Send help right away.’. The Telegram, Steve Bartlett Apr 13, 2012
  5. Canada (1887). Acts of the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada. M. Cameron. p. 4.
  6. Rogert G. Thorne (6 February 2015). A Cherished Past: Newfoundland's front row seat to history. Gerard Thorne. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-9695828-2-3.
  7. Roger Bansemer (2003). Journey to Titanic. Pineapple Press Inc. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-56164-292-2.
  8. Frederick A. Talbot. Lightships and Lighthouses. Prabhat Prakashan. p. 146. ISBN 978-81-8430-695-8.
  9. "Cape Race". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  10. Cape Race Lighthouse. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  11. Jowi., Taylor, (2009). Six string nation : 64 pieces, 6 strings, 1 Canada, 1 guitar. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 9781553653936. OCLC 302060380.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
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