Lighthouse Centre

Exhibit and Collection

There are many reasons why we are drawn to lighthouses. We are fascinated by their role in history and how lighthouse keepers lived in places for months at a time to keep the light going. How they single-handedly helped guide boaters on the water and prevented shipwrecks.

They were also responsible for the upkeep of the lighthouse tower, lights, mechanisms and grounds. Often, a lighthouse keeper lived in or near the lighthouse, especially because many were in remote areas.

Nova Scotia is a peninsula only by a few miles so it's much closer to being an island. With coastlines known for being rugged and dangerous, lighthouses became a very important for those who made their living on the sea.

Incredibly, there are over 170 lighthouses around Nova Scotia, so you never have to go far to discover one. With a height of 101 feet, Cape Sable Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Nova Scotia and helps mark the southern tip of the province.

Most working lighthouses these days are automated, however, some still do welcome visitors.

The Lighthouse Research Centre is an amazing resource is home to one of the largest lighthouse collections in Eastern Canada. 

Come explore and learn more about these astounding structures.

6 Foot Animated map showing Lighthouse Locations in Nova Scotia

1905 Replica Gulf Style Lighthouse which houses the Lighthouse Centre

Photos, Research and Maps of Lighthouses in the Maritimes and beyond

The Collection Donor

In 2006, E.H. "Rip" Irwin presented the Board of Directors with a donation of his entire collection of research. This collection include a library of over 110 books, pamphlets, maps, magazines, over 34 volumes of lighthouse research related to Nova Scotia, and 20 volumes of research on other Maritime lighthouses.

It also includes indexed volumes of material, over 18,000 photographs & data that is now an instrumental part of the Museum and a focal point, and a unique draw for lighthouse enthusiasts and maritime historians from all over the world.

E.H. "Rip" Irwin was a local historian, author, lighthouse expert and founder of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society was sadly passed away on October 23, 2021. His legacy will live on through this incredible collection.

Ready to Buy Tickets?

Featured Lighthouses

There are hundreds of lighthouse dotting the shores of Nova Scotia. It is a difficult task to select a few to be featured. Below you will find four of our Top Picks. In addition to the information provide by Tourism Nova Scotia, you will discover much more on each of these at the Lighthouse Centre. Join us to learn more about Nova Scotia and the Maritimes lighthouse history.

Five Islands Lighthouse

Five Islands Lighthouse is the star attraction of Five Islands Lighthouse Park. The historic lighthouse stands like a beacon, welcoming to the park visitors from near and far. This wooden, “pepper pot” lighthouse was built in 1913 at nearby Sand Point. In 2008 it had to be relocated and now sits perfectly in its new home overlooking the islands.

The lighthouse is closed to the public until further notice, however, visitors can enjoy the surrounding 8.8 ha (22 acre) coastal park with a panoramic view of the Minas Basin, ship playground, walking paths and benches, beach access, large picnic shelter and accessible washrooms.

The spectacular view includes all Five Islands as well as the Old Wife (part of Five Islands Provincial Park), the Brothers, Cape Blomidon and Cape Split. This is notably among the best scenery in the Bay of Fundy.

Cape Forchu Lighthouse

A light like no other! This unique “apple core” lighthouse is the only one in Nova Scotia that can be climbed and has an intact lightkeeper’s dwelling open to the public. 

Explore the rugged landscape and take in the breathtaking vista. Offering a unique perspective no matter the season, visit this beacon to Canada year-round. Located just 11km (7mi) from the Town of Yarmouth on the Cape Forchu Scenic Drive in Yarmouth & Acadian Shores. 

The Climb the Light experience will satisfy the more adventurous visitor - you’ll climb 77 steps into the lantern room of this narrow tower. Your guide will share some history and stories about the surrounding area and you’ll have plenty of time to take some amazing photos from 123 feet above sea level. 

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

Nova Scotia is home to over 160 historic lighthouses and these majestic beacons can be found throughout the province. Some of our lighthouses are world famous! Peggy's Cove Lighthouse is one of Nova Scotia’s most well-known lighthouses and may be the most photographed in Canada. Located in the quaint fishing village of Peggy’s Cove along the South Shore, Peggy’s Point Lighthouse was built in 1915.

Spend the day watching the waves and exploring around the rocks. (Stay off the wet, dark rocks and do not swim). The safest way to enjoy the view is to make sure you are walking on dry, white rocks.

Peggy’s Cove is famed for its picturesque and typically East-Coast profile, with houses perched along a narrow inlet and on wave-washed boulders facing the Atlantic. 

Cape Saint Mary Lighthouse

Cape Saint Mary Lighthouse Park is located at a natural look-off site where visitors and locals come year-round to enjoy the scenic ocean views and sunsets while overlooking the dramatic cliffs of St. Mary’s Bay.

In 2017, the Municipality of Clare took ownership of the property and developed a lighthouse park. Exterior renovations to the lighthouse and site improvements, including a new parking lot, were added. In July 2018, a granite monument was unveiled, commemorating those lost at sea in the Municipality of Clare.

Other site amenities include picnic tables, an accessible picnic shelter, restrooms (portable toilets seasonally), a viewing scope, and bilingual interpretive panels explaining the founding of the village, history of the lighthouse, local marine ecology, and even the fog.