'On a sure footing': Jay Scotland learns how erosion affects the Cape Bear lighthouse
136-year-old lighthouse has been moved twice due to shoreline errosion
The team that maintains the lighthouse in Cape Bear, P.E.I., has to keep a watch on the shoreline to make sure erosion doesn't put the building in jeopardy.
The Cape Bear lighthouse was moved from its original spot in 1946 to protect it from falling into the water — and then it had to be moved again in 2015, because it was about 12 feet from the cliff.
"It's accomplishment of a goal that we set out to fulfil was to put the lighthouse on a sure footing, sure foundation for hopefully another 70 years," said Charles MacNeill of the Cape Bear Lighthouse. "We're very thankful that it all came together well."
The shoreline in the area erodes at an average rate of about one metre per year, but MacNeill told CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland the actual amount varies from place to place and year to year.
"I've seen as much as eight feet go in certain spots," he said. "Then other years there'd be none."
1st in Canada to receive Titanic SOS signal
The lighthouse was built in 1881, making it 136 years old, and holds some important Canadian history.
On April 15, 1912, the nearby Marconi station was the first place in Canada to receive the distress signal of the sinking RMS Titanic (Newfoundland wasn't part of Canada yet).
"Thomas Bartlett was on duty and he received the SOS from the Titanic," MacNeill said. "It was the first land signal. He relayed the message to Charlottetown, but by the time it was received in Halifax, they had already heard."
Lights on until December
While the lighthouse has technically been decommissioned, the light is still on, and stays on until December.
"We leave it on till the fishermen are done scalloping," explained lighthouse manager Dawna MacNeill, who added the bulb has to be replaced every two years.
The lighthouse is also open to visitors June through September, and she said getting to go up to the top is often a highlight.
"We encourage them just to stay a while, enjoy the scenery," she said.
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