The first lighthouse built in Newfoundland and Labrador was located at Fort Amherst, near the entry way to St. John’s Harbour, also known as the Narrows and was constructed in 1813. With our rugged coastline that stretches out over thousands of kilometers, coupled with our oft times less than ideal weather, and the reliance of our people on the fishery and other marine-based activities, lighthouses were an absolute necessity in Newfoundland and Labrador. Prior to modern technologies like global position systems and telecommunications, sailors and fishermen often relied on the light from these structures to guide them home and keep them clear of dangerous rocks and cliffs.
With the advent of modern technology many lighthouses are now automated, no longer requiring a lighthouse keeper. As a result, many lighthouses across the province/country have gone without maintenance for some time. Recognizing the increased cost in upkeep, the federal government over the past number of years has launched a lighthouse divestiture program along with a heritage designation program. Through these programs, the federal government has been trying to encourage provinces, municipalities, local community groups, and regular citizens to take ownerships of these structure, finding creative and unique to make them sustainable and profitable. Newfoundland and Labrador has several excellent examples of lighthouses that have been converted into museums/interpretive sites (e.g. Cape Race), bed and breakfasts (e.g Quirpon), restaurants/picnic sites (e/g/ Ferryland Head), craft shops (e.g. Crow Head) all doing wonders to promote and attract tourism activity in their respective areas.
We’ve often mentioned lighthouses before on the blog, and we strongly feel that they’re an interesting historic feature for many coastal communities and thus make great locations for geocaches (at least in our minds). Below we’ve provided a list of some of the more significant lighthouses within the province and of course we’ve indicated the closest geocache for your searching convenience.
As noted above, this is the location of the first lighthouse in Newfoundland and Labrador which helped guide ships around the treacherous rocks outside of St. John’s Harbour.
Closest Geocache: The Fort Amherst Cache (GCZ7BX)
Location of the first wireless communication station in Newfoundland and Labrador, also known for receiving the Titanic’s distress signal in 1912. The lighthouse is located in Cape Race, on the southern tip of the Avalon Peninsula.
Closest Geocache: Cape Race Cache (GCXAKV)
This lighthouse has been converted into a Bed & Breakfast, offering a unique accommodations and spectacular ocean views. It’s located on the Northern Peninsula, near Lanse Aux Meadows.
Closest Geocache: Quirpon Lighthouse Inn (GC1F75M)
The most easterly point in North America and about a 15 minute drive from St. John’s! Also the site of the oldest original lighthouse structure in the province. We’ve mentioned this area before, check out our blog post all about Cape Spear!
Closest Geocache: Cape Spear Light (GCEE24)
Related Blog Post: Cape Spear Caching
This lighthouse is located approximately 40 minutes south of St. John’s. Be sure to check out the lighthouse picnic if you visit! In relation to the point above about lighthouse divestiture, the Town of Ferryland took possession of their lighthouse just yesterday (August 23, 2012)! What a sense of pride for that community!
Closest Geocache: Ferryland Head (GCG4H2)
Related Blog Post: Ferryland
This is where John Cabot made landfall when he discovered Newfoundland way back in 1497, needless to say there’s a lot of history here!
Closest Geocache: Bonavista Light (GCGBBJ)
Perhaps your best bet for icebergs and whale watching (in season)! There are many fantastic trails to explore in the area, however be mindful of the cliffs.
Closest Geocache: Sailors Be Warned (GCA4F2)
Located near Rocky Harbour in Gros Morne National Park.
Closest Geocache: Lobster Cove Head (GCGGEE)
Site of the second tallest lighthouse in Canada! To access this one, you will need to find your way to the South Coast of Labrador.
Closest Geocache: Point Amour Lighthouse #2 (GC1FMM7)
Located along the South Coast of Newfoundland.
Closest Geocache: Rose Blache Light House (GCJEYE)
We figured we should include a montage of the lighthouses we have found over the past number of years. Enjoy!
How many of these lighthouses have you visited? Have you found any of the caches listed above? Why not share your favorite lighthouse moments below!