Four PEI Lights

Charlottetown, Malpeque Area and North Shore of Queens County, Prince Edward Island (Map)

Spring 2015


Last June I found myself walking the streets of Moncton as I had some business to attend to in New Brunswick. It's here that I passed this awesome Chinese restaurant, after Holizko and I had just discussed how much we both love Chinese spots with personality.

If only I wasn't on my way to the Dieppe Taco Bell at the time.

^St. Dunstan's Basilica

As I would be in New Brunswick on a Friday, I was certainly going to check in about a weekend visit with my old friends who now lived in Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island).

Getting the go ahead to come on up to the gentle island, the three of us were walking the streets and checking out the church area of Charlottetown in no time.

^Trinity United

This day in Charlottetown was idyllic. We comfortably and lazily strolled about, then stopped in to eat at this touristy seafood spot with outside picnic tables while enjoying the lovely evening.

Of course the next day when I had plans to rent a car, it would be mostly overcast along with the odd bit of drizzle. No big deal though, it would still be nice for Christian & Tasha to get out of Charlottetown and go see some lighthouses.

First up was the Fish Island Lighthouse in Cabot Beach Provincial Park. We pulled into the park and without signage, were left to simply drive whichever road and hope to end up at a lighthouse. It wasn't like the trees were that tall, so there was hope, but what finally did it was the lighthouse being in the day-use area – a big open field with some playground equipment that was visible from the road.

We hadn't crossed a bridge onto Fish Island, rather, this lighthouse was saved from Fish Island after being threatened with erosion and the Coast Guard preparing to destroy it with fire. The local historical society and fishermen sawed this lighthouse in half and the two pieces were flown to this Cabot Beach Provincial Park to be reassembled.

Following being saved from destruction, this lighthouse finished its abrupt turn by then being featured in the background of the CBC series "Emily of New Moon." As we visited, I found that the Fish Island Light looked a bit worn and could use a new coat of paint, but as it looks nicer in pictures, I'll assume it sees periodic maintenance.

My friends were more interested in the beach and skipping stones than the lighthouse.

Silly non-lighthouse people.

Next up would be the Malpeque Outer range lighthouses, but one was in a freshly tilled field & the other was in someone's backyard. I may have ignored the private road sign for Lighthouse Road, but as luck would have it, someone was outside gardening at one of the only three houses out here at the end of said Lighthouse Road.

(If I was thinking, I could have went down to the beach along another road and walked up the beach to the lighthouse. Next time I'm on the PEI-20 highway I guess.)

Driving along to the next one, there wasn't much out here in terms or stores or cafes, so it was funny when Christian needed to use the washroom and the only available one was at the Anne of Green Gables Museum at Silver Bush. Now while I've never looked up anything Anne of Green Gables because it really isn't my thing, the place was jam-packed with Japanese tourists, who apparently love the show and come to PEI just to see the sets and associated scenery. It was an interesting change from our quiet, afternoon lighthouse exploration bubble.

Anyway, the next lighthouse was in a cottage area near a village marked Parks Corner on the map – although Parks Corner was one of those PEI places where there's farms and an old cemetery, but you often don't even realize you're in a community.

Old Cape Tryon Lighthouse is a privately owned cottage nowadays, where when they built a new Cape Tryon, they left the lantern room and only took the lantern itself.

This old lighthouse was used until 1965, then moved to the Parks Corner area afterward. It was moved again in the 1980s & nowadays is owned by the great granddaughter of one former keeper, who is married to the grandnephew of a different former keeper.

I missed the turnoff and was thoroughly confused about how to get to the new Cape Tryon Lighthouse, which left us instead at the New London Lighthouse in no time.

(To give you an idea of the meagre distances involved here, New London is 3.4km (2.1mi) from New Cape Tryon.)

Finding the end of the road here with a handful of houses around, Tash & Christian had enough of walking to lighthouses & left me to walk the few hundred meters over to the New London Light.

New London was built in 1876 and discontinued from use by the mid-1960s. In one of the only cases I've ever heard of this, the lighthouse was then leased out to a family for 40 years until the 2000s, at which point the Coast Guard finally banned leasing lighthouse residences to private individuals.

Peering into the windows through the chicken wire, while thinking about how much I liked this New London Light, I was confused with the interior maps, tables & decor. It was sort of like how you'd expect the inside of a lighthouse to be laid out, but it was also off.

It now makes sense that it could have been a private individual simply decorating the interior in a nautical/lighthouse theme.


Returning to the car, the day was getting into the afternoon and the weather wasn't improving; while I was also now concerned with tiring my friends of lighthouses. We hadn't seen any abandoned houses to mix it up & the lights weren't very far from each other. The day had been almost entirely driving down rural routes and trying to figure out where ho-hum lighthouses stood.

There was only one more lighthouse out here though – the previously mentioned New Cape Tryon – so I pushed forward and let the car know we were on our last one. I then looked at the roads in my GPS & finding a good route to the lighthouse, we were soon passing a sign stating that the road ahead was out, while we turned onto a farming laneway.

It must have been our day as I noticed the Cape Tryon road turnoff ahead, with the road blocked just ahead of said turnoff. In addition, the local farmer who owns the access road was having trouble with people driving over his crops and had blocked off the road, but they must've fixed it, as we were able to drive right out to sea. Lastly, the access road itself was simply cool. It was a rolling farmland lane lined with trees, where we crested the last ridge to see the Cape Tryon Light and then nothing but water beyond.

New Cape Tryon was my favourite lighthouse of the day. This was the type of lighthouse that got me into this: a worn, weathered structure on some quiet point of land, with nothing else all around, while feeling so far away from everything.

Christian & Tash returned to the car shortly, while I dawdled about, snapping more than enough pictures.

This new Cape Tryon Lighthouse was built in 1965 to keep ships away from these red cliffs.

Cape Tryon didn't feel like I was now bothering my friends with lighthouses, but it felt like enough lighthouses as well. We had collected all of the ones we were going to get up here north of Kensington, and now it was time to return to the house to relax and warm up.

Concluding the trip the next day, we had enchiladas and reflected on a pretty good weekend, one where I got PEI lighthouses #10, 11, 12 and 13.


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1 - Lighthouses - Kensington PEI
2 - Cape Tryon Lighthouse - Lighthouses of Prince Edward Island
3 - New London Lighthouse - Lighthouses of Prince Edward Island
4 - Former Cape Tryon Lighthouse - Lighthouses of Prince Edward Island

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