N.S. community rallies around lighthouse
Published Saturday, July 22, 2017 10:23AM ADT
There is cause for celebration in the small community of Cape George, Nova Scotia.
A grassroots effort by the community, including some dedicated volunteers, means the long-term health and survival of the local lighthouse. It faced an uncertain future just a few years ago. This weekend, that uncertainty will be washed away by a community that has rallied around their beacon.
The latest version of the Cape George Lighthouse was built in 1968, and when it ended up on the government divestiture list back in 2010, it raised major concerns.
"The community has always had a great deal of pride in the lighthouse and they also have a lot of affection for the lighthouse. There was a major fear that the lighthouse would be bought by a private person and they would denied access," says Antigonish County Councillor Mary MacLellan.
Albie Falkenham could never imagine being denied access to the lighthouse. His grandfather, Charles Albert, was the lighthouse keeper from 1919 to 1952. Albie still has the medal that his grandfather received upon retirement.
"Because he served to the Queen or King, for 25 years or more. He served for 33 years," says Falkenham.
Canadian children's author Robert Munsch wrote a book about the Cape George Lighthouse, after receiving a drawing from a local little girl. Thousands turned up for the book launch, back in September 2003.
MacLellan says the road to community ownership has been made easier by volunteers.
"For the last twenty years or more, the community volunteers have been maintaing the lighthouse and the road and the grounds. And they take a great deal of pride in keeping it clean and welcoming to visitors," says MacLellan.
"This place would never run, we have to have volunteers to do it, and we have a lot of people that come here and they'll keep it mowed, keep it tiday, and they'll answer questions too," says Falkenham.
On Sunday, there will be a big celebration to mark community ownership of the lighthouse and they're hoping it acts as a beacon to other communities who may want to do what they can to preserve this part of Maritime history.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh.