Nova Scotia

American woman sues Colchester County after fall from historic lighthouse

A tourist from Pennsylvania is suing Colchester County, N.S., over a fall from an historic lighthouse nearly six years ago.

Pennsylvania tourist suing county for negligence after fall 6 years ago

The lawsuit names both Colchester County and Five Islands Lighthouse Preservation Society as respondents. (CBC)

A tourist from Pennsylvania is suing Colchester County, N.S., over a fall from a historic lighthouse nearly six years ago.

The woman was visiting the lighthouse, which sits on the shores of the Minas Basin in Five Islands, when she fell down the inside ladder that led from the light platform to the second floor.

The extent of her injuries is not revealed in the lawsuit, but she's suing the county for negligence and breach of its duty under the Municipal Government Act.

The lighthouse was built in the winter of 1913-14 and served as a navigational aid for more than 80 years.

By 2017, when the accident occurred, the lighthouse had been moved to a park where it stands as a landmark.

The county owns the lighthouse, but it's operated by the Five Islands Lighthouse Preservation Society. The lawsuit names both the county and the society as respondents.

Court says woman deserves day in court

People were allowed to enter the lighthouse and climb the interior ladder to the light platform until September 2019.

The county had maintained the exterior of the lighthouse and the park where it now sits, but according to the lawsuit, no work was done on the interior.

That year, the Nova Scotia Department of Labour received a complaint about the safety of the interior. By the time the complaint was received, the building had already closed for the season.

The county notified the society and instructed that no one was to use the internal ladder. The hatch at the top of the ladder was padlocked and a new lock was put on the exterior door.

That door has since been screwed shut and no one has entered the building since the fall of 2019.

Colchester County tried to get the lawsuit thrown out, arguing it shouldn't be held responsible for conditions inside the lighthouse.

But in a decision released Thursday, a judge of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled the woman deserves her day in court and dismissed the county's motion.


Blair Rhodes


Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 40 years, the last 31 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at

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