Shine on: lighthouses turned hotels offer travellers the ultimate room-with-a-view.
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Oh, the romantic life of a lightkeeper—panoramic ocean vistas, blissful serenity and a sense of purpose. Idealized though it may be, any traveller can now delve into the salty life with a night or two in Canada’s lighthouses turned hotels. Serenity and vistas are guaranteed—but the only purpose is to relax and enjoy.
Newfoundland & Labrador is home to a pair of lighthouse hotels, both stationed in The Rock’s western region. Quirpon Lighthouse Inn offers accommodation in two lightkeeper houses at the tip of its namesake island—Newfoundland’s northernmost point. Butted up against Iceberg Alley, springtime guests can view massive icebergs and spot up to 22 species of local whales. To the south, Cape Anguille Lighthouse Inn, a Registered Heritage Structure, sits perched on a peninsula near Port-aux-Basques. To the delight of guests, ospreys and eagles often soar above the lighthouse, and the occasional blue whale announces its whereabouts by spouting in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
A famed St. Lawrence lighthouse in Quebec’s Bas-Saint-Laurent region, Pot à l’Eau-de-vie beamed light at the gateway to the continent from 1862 to 1964. Open for visits since 1989, guests of this charming three-room inn and Federal Heritage Building roam the trails of Île du Phare by day and enjoy the 19th-century decor of the lighthouse by night.
Quebec’s oldest lighthouse, Maisons du Phare de l’Île Verte B&B, awaits on pastoral Île Verte. Dating back to 1809, the former lightkeeper house and assistant lightkeeper house now boast nine cosy rooms from which to wander island pathways and spot marine life in the St. Lawrence River Estuary.
Travel to the otherworldly limestone formations of Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve and rejuvenate in Île aux Perroquets’ historic lightstation-turned-high-end-hotel. Aside from a few fellow adventure-seeking guests, puffins and razorbills will be your only companions in this isolated preserve on Quebec’s Côte-Nord.
Set in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, restful Anticosti Island is home to one more lightstation in La belle province. Pourvoirie du Lac Geneviève d’Anticosti tempts with stays in former lightkeeper houses (now four-star lodges) on Anticosti’s north coast.
Jutting up 21 metres (70 ft), West Point Lighthouse Inn is Prince Edward Island’s tallest lightstation—noted for its square-tapered design and broad black stripes that served as “day marks.” Originally built in 1875, it was converted to an inn and museum during the ‘80s, offering beachy getaways near Cedar Dunes Provincial Park.
Nova Scotia’s sole lighthouse hotel, Cape d’Or, overlooks the Bay of Fundy near the town of Advocate Harbour. Along with views atop a seascape manipulated by the world’s highest tides, guests can savour the local seafood chowder, fishcakes and craft beer served onsite.
For those who prefer freshwater to saltwater, Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior Inc. restored Porphyry Point Lightstation, east of Thunder Bay, ON, and opened it for overnight guests last summer. Access is by boat, floatplane or kayak; rooms are nestled within the lightkeeper’s home. The not-for-profit CLLS hopes to restore more stations along the Lighthouse Trail on Lake Superior and, for 2016, will host an artist in residence at Porphyry.
Lighthouse hotels are beaming from Canada’s coasts. Only one question remains: when it’s time to sleep—is it lights out, or lights on?
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