A new museum exhibit highlights the society’s work to save the lighthouse

The Nottawasaga Lighthouse Preservation Society fears a piece of history will be lost if the lighthouse cannot be restored

The Collingwood Museum’s Community Collectors Series returned this month with a collection of artifacts on loan from the Nottawasaga Lighthouse Preservation Society (NLPS) to shed light on the history of Nottawasaga’s iconic lighthouse.

One of six “Imperial Towers” ​​built on the Great Lakes, the Nottawasaga Lighthouse has been an iconic local landmark for over 150 years. Although its traditional role of guiding ships to safety is no longer necessary, the NLPS believes towers like the one on the Collingwood coast still serve a purpose.

“It is certainly a major part of Collingwood that should be preserved and protected,” said Robert Square, vice-president of the NLPS. “If people don’t step in to restore it and take care of it, it will fall. And much of our history will be lost.

Founded in 2015, the society is a volunteer-run non-profit and registered charity dedicated to the restoration, preservation and protection of the lighthouse.

The museum has hosted the Community Collectors Series since 2018 to showcase private collections in a designated case at the museum, and museum staff wanted to collaborate with the NLPS to do a joint exhibit at the museum. The series was put on hiatus during the pandemic.

Items on display include a kerosene oil lamp, a portable fog horn and a replica of a gargoyle that once adorned the top of the light, as well as archival records, letters, a collection of photographs and pictures of lighthouse drone.

“The Nottawasaga Island Lighthouse is such an amazing standing artifact of Collingwood’s history,” said Lindsay Cook, Museum Coordinator. “So to not only have the history of the lighthouse on display, but to have some of the unique artifacts on loan to us to help bring it to life is amazing.”

As part of the exhibit, a Community Collectors Night will also be held at the museum on August 24 at 7 p.m. The event will include an informal get-together with NLPS members, museum staff, and community members as well as a short presentation by Carré on current preservation efforts.

Shortly after its establishment, the NLPS sought to protect the tower from decay and in 2016 wrapped its exterior in weatherproof material to prevent moisture from entering the interior of the lighthouse while the company took steps to secure ownership of the structure and raise funds. for its restoration. However, transferring ownership is a lengthy process and Square had been cooperating with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Chippewas of Nawash on the land transfer for several years.

According to Square, the pandemic has brought many of society’s preservation efforts to a halt, so it hopes the exhibit will not only serve as a kick-start to greater community involvement in society, but also bring greater awareness of their efforts. .

“It’s a great way to promote the lighthouse and also promote the museum,” Square said.

If all goes as planned, Square hopes to make a special announcement at Community Collectors Night about the next steps in the restoration process.

The exhibition will be visible until the end of October 2022.

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