The Act providing for the establishment of a lighthouse at Cape Bonavista was
passed in the House of Assembly of Newfoundland on April 26, 1941. Construction
on the light house began that year. It took two years to build and on Sept. 11,
1843 the light was put into operation.
The completed light house was a square two-story wooden structure built around a masonry tower, which rose through the centre of the building to support the light. The light came from Inchcape (Bell) Rock in Scotland. It had been in use at Inchcape Rock since 1811.
In 1895, the light was replaced with another, which came from the Isle of May in Scotland. This replacement was decommissioned in 1962 when the light at the Cape was automated and placed on an exterior steel tower.
The first lightkeeper was Jeremiah White who also was a native of Ireland. Mr White served in this capacity until his death in 1876. His sons continued in the family tradition of light keeping until 1895.
Cape Bonavista Lighthouse was transferred from the Federal Department of Transport to the the provincial government in 1970 to be developed as a provincial historic site. With the exception of the tower and the light room, the lighthouse have been restored to the 1870 period. The living quarters have been furnished and decorated as they would have appeared in 1870 when Jeremiah White, still lightkeeper at 80 years of age assisted by his son Nicholas the assistant keeper and his family still live there.
And in season, watch whales, icebergs and puffins just off the cape.
Facilities and Services: Interpretation centre, interpreters in period clothing, guided tours, craft shop and public washrooms.
Season: May - Oct , Call for dates 800-563-6353
Location: Route 230, Bonavista
P.O. Box 8700
St. John's, NL, A1B 4J6
Off Season Telephone: 709-729-0592
Off Season Fax: 709-729-0870