Nottawasaga Island Lighthouse, Collingwood, Ontario, Canada

|
9
Nottawasaga Island Lighthouse, Collingwood, Ontario, Canada

You can blame lightning -- not the sea -- for the destruction of the Nottawasaga lighthouse at Collingwood, Ontario, on the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. A beautiful, white-painted, round limestone tower 97 feet (29 meters) high, the light is one of the six "Imperial Towers" along Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.

The problem is that it was built in 1858 without a lightning rod, and lightning strikes over the years have taken their toll. The outer wall is cracked in many places. Large chunks have fallen off. Moisture gets between the outer and inner walls, causing more damage. When lightning strikes, the moisture is heated, and steam causes yet more destruction.

The Canadian Coast Guard runs the lighthouse and has closed it for safety reasons. A local group, Friends of Nottawasaga Lighthouse, hopes to preserve it. The town is small, the area is remote, and prospects for raising the $4.5 million that experts say it would cost to fully restore it are daunting. Some work has been done, and the lighthouse is now grounded to stave off further lightning damage.

|