A View From the North Shore

A View From the North Shore

Have you seen the two lighthouses that guard the Lake Erie entrance to the Welland Canal at Port Colborne Ontario? Most people have not seen these two antique and off shore beauties that have been declared surplus by the federal government. Modern technology wants to replace them. It’s that impression of replacement that needs to be clarified. Our federal government has laid out a procedure to follow for a group of people who want to preserve our two lighthouses as well as take care of them and have them blessed with heritage status. The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act is where our group, Save Our Lighthouses, has applied for such status and to date has received a five year lease and permission to bring visitors by boat offshore and let them tour our two active lighthouses. Further permissions are expected in the near future.

The inner light was built in 1903 and the outer light in 1928. Today, both lights are solar powered although tourists are amazed that a submerged cable allows for old fashioned electrical power if necessary. And more amazing is the half mile cement tunnel between the two light houses that allowed the lighthouse keeper to walk safely from one lighthouse to the other, protected from massive waves breaking over head. A unique form of protection.

The inner light has always been a weather station as well as a beacon of safety to large and small boats and flotillas of blue, yellow walleye and perch anglers. As a weather station today this lighthouse reports on wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure that are measured by the automatic instruments mounted to the metal tower at the top of the lighthouse. Hourly readings are relayed by a wireless internet modem to a central office in Montreal for quality control processing. This data, along with the info from many other area stations, helps to form our local forecasts and helps severe storm forecasters monitor hazardous weather stations. Everything considered, you can see why so many people are already in favor of heritage status for our off shore beauties. And the anglers give the loudest cheer.

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