Gibraltar Point Lighthouse











Photograph by
Michel Forand






Gibraltar Point Lighthouse was built in 1808 and is the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes. Only one lighthouse has been recorded earlier: the Mississauga lighthouse was built around 1804 near Niagara, but it no longer exists. Until Gibraltar Point was decommissioned in 1958, it was also the oldest functioning lighthouse on the Great Lakes, but that honor has now passed to the Marblehead lighthouse in Ohio, built in 1821 and still operational.

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is also the second oldest surviving lighthouse in Canada. Only Sambro Island light in Nova Scotia (built in 1758 and still active) is older.

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is located on Centre Island, one of the Toronto Islands, just offshore from downtown Toronto. Centre Island is a 15-minute ferry ride from the Harbourfront area of Toronto, and once you get there, it's about a 10- to 15-minute walk to the lighthouse; in season, there is a free shuttle train from the ferry dock to the lighthouse and beyond. The lighthouse is quite accessible.

Like many early lighthouses, Gibraltar Point has a ghost. The first lightkeeper disappeared in 1815 and was never seen again. One story is that soldiers from nearby Fort York visited him one night and got drunk, and they beat him to death when he refused to serve them more liquor. Some years later, a human skeleton was found near the lighthouse, and some say it is the former lightkeeper's.

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