Nova Scotia is home to no fewer than 160 historic lighthouses and these majestic beacons can be found throughout the province. We are also home to the oldest working lighthouse in North America, located on Sambro Island, as well as the world-famous Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse.
Several Nova Scotia lighthouses offer guided tours by masterful storytellers, while many others can be viewed while driving or walking along Nova Scotia’s seacoasts or along Nova Scotia’s Lighthouse Route.
The Most Lighthouses in Canada
Nova Scotia has the largest number of lighthouses of any province in Canada. It’s not surprising since Nova Scotia has thousands of kilometres of coastline that lighthouses are such a common site along the sea coasts. Today they remain an important symbol of the past, as well as beautiful highlights of our picturesque coastal landscape.
With 160 lighthouses to visit, there are some that are more easily accessible to visitors than others. Some lighthouses even offer tours where these giant watchtowers come alive with stories of lives saved and lost along Nova Scotia’s coastal waters. The Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society provides a list of lighthouses along with information as to which lighthouses are accessible to visitors.
Some of our lighthouses are world famous. One of Nova Scotia’s most well-known lighthouses, the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove was built in 1915 and is located just an hour from Halifax. The ground floor of this lighthouse, until 2009, operated as a post office where visitors could mail their postcards in the summer months – the only lighthouse post office in North America at the time. While the post office is no longer there, the image of this famous lighthouse on top of the giant rocks with the sea waves crashing in is just as beautiful as it has been for almost a century.
The lighthouse at Cape Forchu was established in 1840 to guide vessels into picturesque Yarmouth which was one of the leading ship-owning ports in Canada. The current lighthouse was built in 1962 and was staffed until 1993 making it the last lighthouse in Nova Scotia to be tended by resident light-keepers. The Cape Forchu lighthouse stands right over the Yarmouth Harbour where you can watch fishing boats and ferries arriving and departing throughout the day.
The Cape d’Or lighthouse is perched on a cliff that sticks out into the Bay of Fundy over 35-foot tides. The lighthouse was originally established as a fog horn station in 1875 – a crucial warning to ships of the very cliff that supports the structure itself. In addition to its unique position, perched as it is, another unique feature of this lighthouse is the option to spend the night in the former light-keepers’ home. The Lightkeepers Kitchen & Guest House are available May 1-October 15, and offer you a rare lodging experience with a spectacular view of the sea.