Lighting the way

Community Beat

CARIBOU ISLAND – The view from John and Nancy MacLeod’s summer home could not be any more spectacular.

From the deck of their cosy wooden home you can enjoy the whisper of green grass bent with a stiff breeze blowing off the cool blue waters of the Northumberland Strait; a plethora of birds can be seen dive bombing the sea life in the ocean, pecking at small objects along the sandy shore or bathing in the shallower rippled waves. Fluffy white clouds drift lazily by on blue sky and the last bees of summer feast on what is left of the flora.

Yes, it’s a stunning view alright, from the very tip of Caribou Island. And it just got a little better.

A couple of weeks ago, a section of the Caribou Island lighthouse was torn down. According to John, it was badly in need of repair – or a coat of paint at least. It served no purpose other than to house a generator, long since removed. And a large number of birds and other small animals.

With its razing, the MacLeod’s view has improved. As has the view for other visitors to the point.

The MacLeods currently live in Alberta but they grew up in Nova Scotia, John in Upper Musquodoboit and Nancy in the Truro area. They had never been to Caribou Island before buying their home there in 2007. But they love it.

“Just look at that view,” said John, a recently retired oil patch geologist.
All that remains of the former automated lightstation is the tower, a structure that stands two storeys high at the edge of the land. “We kind of like it better,” John says.  “It looks more like a lighthouse now. It almost looks Italian.”

At its base can be seen adventurous people scrambling over   the rocks to walk along the shoreline and view the hooked spit or the ferry to PEI passing by, or others playing fetch with their dogs. It’s a busy spot but it’s also peaceful.

That’s one of the reasons why they want to ensure it maintains its serenity. “Why not just leave it natural, the way it’s been for years?” Nancy asks. “People come to walk on the beach and the tidal flat in all seasons, and every year the sand bars are arranged a little differently.”

A local Facebook Group, Friends of Caribou Island Lighthouse, has started an online petition to preserve the lighthouse. A post on their site points out there has been a light there since 1868.

Dane Grant, a member of the group and a neighbour of the MacLeods said, “We do not have a date settled yet for a meeting but we are getting close.”
“A green argument can be made for keeping it the way it is,” John notes. “People come to pick the flowers and herbs that grow here and it is also home to hundreds of birds.”

For now, the Caribou Island residents are in a wait and see mode: They are waiting to see what the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which manages the lighthouse. has in store for the area.

“Once it’s got a fresh coat of paint…” Nancy suggests. “And maybe some red stripes, it should look pretty nice from the ferry.”

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