Not only does Toronto have a majestic lighthouse, Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is known as the oldest surviving lighthouse in the Great Lakes. It is a 15 minute ferry-ride away, on Toronto Island, just south of Toronto. There are a few interesting things about this lighthouse.

It is majestic

This is the kind of lighthouse that demands respect. It is tall (82 feet), and wide (7 to 10 meters diameter at the base), and topped with a perfectly hexagonal wooden cage that once housed a whale-oil lamp. And it is old. Construction was completed in 1808, which makes this tower 205 years old. It is indeed Toronto’s oldest landmark.

It is not on the shore

It sits around 100 meters inland, away from the water. When it was constructed, it was actually on the shore of Lake Ontario. Over 200 years, sand deposits from Scarborough Bluffs and other debris built up along the shore, and extended the size of the island. So the lighthouse stands at the edge of what was the shoreline 200 years ago.

It is haunted

It is haunted. Well, if you believe in that kind of thing. Legend has it that the first lighthouse keeper, John Paul Rademuller, had a hobby on the side – bootlegging. In 1815, a couple of drunk soldiers from Fort York wanted some bootlegged beer. And Rademuller refused to let them have more. They became angry and chased him up the stairs, where they killed him, cut him into pieces and buried him. In 1893, a coffin was found buried near the lighthouse, but no one could confirm if it was Rademuller. Today, many people claim to hear moaning sounds, and see a man walking about.

It is named after The Rock of Gibraltar

Why? You see, back in 1793, a British military officer named John Graves Simcoe, who later became Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant-Governor, named Gibraltar Point after the Rock of Gibraltar, which would be fortified against attack and would protect Toronto’s harbour.


More info:

City of Toronto Parks & Recreation

Discover and Explore Toronto’s Waterfront