In the article “The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes” in the Summer 2021 issue of ON Nature Conor Mihell states that a storm in January 2020 “washed away the century-old Lion’s Head Lighthouse.” The lighthouse that the storm destroyed was not a century old. It was a replica of the lighthouse that was built in 1911.
The 1911 lighthouse was knocked over and damaged by the Great Storm of 1913 and reinstalled. It was then destroyed by fire in 1933 and rebuilt. The Coast Guard dismantled the tower in 1967 and replaced with a steel tower, much to the annoyance of residents.
The replica was built by teacher Brian Swanton and students from the Bruce Peninsula District School in 1983, using the plans for the original lighthouse. It was installed on the nearby shoreline and at that time was not a functioning lighthouse. Another violent storm in 2000 damaged the steel tower light and the Coast Guard replaced it with the student-built replica.
Brian Swanton, now retired, and a number a volunteers constructed a new replica, and it was installed in a, hopefully, safer location about 20 feet back from where it had been, in the fall of 2020.
I realize that the story of the Lion’s Head Lighthouse is not the focus of the article, but as written it leaves the impression that the high water and storm in 2020 were very unusual and destroyed a structure that had stood for 100 years. Several storms over the years destroyed or damaged the light.
You can find more information about the Lion’s Head Lighthouse in Canadian Lighthouses – From Goderich to Christian Island, by Laura M. Gateman, and the website www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=1057. (Dates in the book and on the website differ. I have used Gateman’s.)
– Sandy Richardson, Town of South Bruce Peninsula