The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
The oldest landmark of Toronto is a testament to shifting sands.
While this lighthouse isn’t exactly on the shore anymore, it hasn’t moved since it was built. Thanks to the build up of sand since its construction around 1808 it’s now about 100 meters from the beach it watched over for 150 years.
It’s located on what is now Centre Island, the largest of the small group of islands that were part of a peninsula for most of the 19th century. The light helped guide ships, boats and rafts as they approached the city of York, before it became Toronto. Construction started in 1803 and finished in 1807 or 1808 at 52 feet, and was taken a bit higher in 1832 to top off at 82 feet. While originally working off of whale oil, it was switched to coal oil in 1863 and moved to electric in 1916.
As with any building over a certain age in North America, there is a rumour of a haunting at the lighthouse; the first keeper died under mysterious circumstances. J.P. Radan Muller took care of the light until 1815, when, on January 2nd, he passed on. Questions on how and why remain, though it is suggested beer was involved.
It’s locked down now, but there are occasional events where it is opened up to the public. On misty evenings, there have been reports of ghostly moaning, which serves to attract curious ghost hunters.
It’s currently the oldest landmark in Toronto, one of the oldest buildings (fourth, after three cabins) in Toronto and possibly the oldest lighthouse in the Great Lakes.
Know Before You Go
The ferries to the islands are found at Queens Quay at the bottom of Bay St.
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