The East Point Lighthouse, the only surviving lighthouse in Canada built in 1867, is being rebranded as Canada's Confederation Lighthouse.
"We did a lot of research through this winter with the Canadian Coast Guard in Ottawa," explained Nova MacIsaac, site manager for the East Point Lighthouse.
"They were able to determine — because you can't just say such a thing, you have to be able to prove this — we're the only lighthouse in the country that was built in 1867, which is the same year as Confederation, that's still a functioning light today."
Lighthouse already popular
There were actually two lighthouses built in Canada in 1867. But the East Ironbound Island Lighthouse at the entrance to Mahone Bay was destroyed by fire a few years later and then rebuilt.
"You have to somehow differentiate yourself from the others and so this gives us a very nice leverage to be the only one in the country," explained MacIsaac.
The lighthouse has seen a substantial increase in visitors in 2016. MacIsaac keeps careful numbers and predicts it's going to jump from 30,000 to 40,000 visitors this season.
The new designation comes along with some special funding to pay for the exterior of the lighthouse being painted and some other upgrades.
The Government of Canada, through ACOA, is putting more than $39,000 toward the Confederation project, with $11,600 from the provincial government, $3,000 from the Eastern Kings Community Council and $500 from the East Point Women's Institute.
The Friends of Elmira Railway Museum Inc., a non-profit organization, operates the lighthouse, and has been waiting for this special anniversary.
"It's just going to be awesome, it's five years in the wait, it's hard to keep paint on the shingles here at East Point," said MacIsaac.
'A sigh of relief'
MacIsaac is looking forward to the painting project being completed.
"Everybody's going to heave a sigh of relief," she said.
We've had a lot of other upgrades on the site as well but the painting is the one thing that's really going to make the most improvement right away."
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