More than a century old and well traveled, Borden Wharf Lighthouse in Canning, Nova Scotia, now has a new lease on life thanks to the Fieldwood Heritage Society. The 27-foot wooden “pepperpot” style tower was built on pilings on the south side of the Habitant River in 1904 and was nicknamed the “Lighthouse in the Hayfield” because marsh grass around it was harvested for salt hay.
Its active days were over by the early and, in 1959, the lower half of the structure was moved to Stewart Brown’s farm where it served as a home for pigs. It was later given to a local man named Al Hazel who used it as a storage shed for tools. Its long road back began in 1990 when it became a tourist information kiosk for the Village of Canning.
The structure was later given to the Fieldwood Heritage Society. Volunteers worked to spruce up what was left of the original lighthouse, and about 200 high school students from Northeast Kings Education Centre helped create a new replacement for the upper portion under the direction of teacher Kevin Wood. In July 2004, a new replica lantern was mounted on the tower.
After its complete restoration, the lighthouse now stands on public display in back of the Canning Library and Heritage Centre on the waterfront not far from its original site. The restoration was made possible by a $27,000 matching grant from the U.S.-based J. M. Kaplan Fund through the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society.
A celebration was held on September 4, complete with a cookout, music and a ceremonial relighting at sunset. It marked the first time the lighthouse exhibited a light in about 70 years.
With two lighthouses lost to fire and another destroyed by a storm in the past year, it’s been a discouraging year for preservationists in the province of Nova Scotia. But the comeback story of the old Lighthouse in the Hayfield, the oldest lighthouse in Kings County, has had a happy ending that should put a smile back on many faces. And after its long years of undignified uses, it’s easy to imagine that the lighthouse itself is beaming with relief and gratitude.
This story appeared in the
December 2004 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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