If you travel through Barrington, Nova Scotia, you may scratch your head as you pass by this lighthouse. It’s a beautiful structure and that light looks like it means business, but it stands in a very unlikely place for a lighthouse to actually do any good to any passing ships or boats or even dingy’s. Typical lighthouses sit on islands, on capes, on some point of land surrounded by ocean – the closest this light gets to sea-faring vessels would be those being towed along the highway for some reason.
This lighthouse is a 35 foot replica of the 67 foot lighthouse on Seal Island. When the original lighthouse, activated in 1831, was automated in 1977, the light was brought here and the lighthouse reproduction was built to house it. This light is the only installed Fresnel lens in Nova Scotia. If you want a reason to visit here during non-tourist season, the light is lit during Christmas week.
The replica lighthouse, aside from the light itself, is also furnished with equipment and memorabilia from the area and visitors are permitted to wander through a “real” lighthouse to imagine how life might have been.
Sadly, our travels brought us here at 9am and the museum doesn’t open until 10:30am. We didn’t see any signs posted to state this, though it’s possible we missed them somehow, so only saw the outside. Based on other lighthouses we’ve seen, if you’re passing by, this might be a great stop to get a feel for an important part of the coastal history. The Seal Island lighthouse was built after a great many shipwrecks in the area and while it didn’t prevent shipwrecks from happening, it did greatly diminish the number and the amazing people living in the lighthouse were a huge help in saving lives when wrecks did occur. Life at sea had and still has many challenges that we landlubbers know nothing about.
More information about this museum, along with hours and cost, can be found here.
The lighthouse is difficult to miss when travelling the Lighthouse Route highway through this area. It’s in Barrington Head, on the inside of the sharp turn shown in this map, to the left of the Barrington Head label.
Seal Island Light Museum