Storm takes down iconic lighthouse on Georgian Bay
BRUCE PENINSULA -- Mother Nature's fury over the weekend unleashed on an iconic lighthouse north of Owen Sound, reducing it to its cement foundation.
The Lion's Head lighthouse on the Bruce Peninsula was torn apart by the large waves driven by northeasterly gale-force winds.
"It's a combination of high water and climatic conditions that are causing these major storms," explained local resident Brian Swanton.
The lighthouse was a replica of the original, first erected in 1903 and later dismantled in the '60s. Swanton and a group of local high school students rebuilt the lighthouse using the original plans in 1983.
The Lion's Head lighthouse quickly became a major tourist attraction.
High water and a succession of storms this fall had already taken their toll on the structure.
"The municipality has not experienced three or four of these with this magnitude back to back in recent history," said Bill Jones, CAO of Northern Bruce Peninsula.
The municipality has received multiple offers of assistance to reconstruct the lighthouse.
"Lighthouses are icons. They are iconic. Everybody who comes to a harbour wants to have a picture taken near a lighthouse. The history of lighthouses seems to be something people in Ontario enjoy, and for that reason, nobody likes to see them go," Jones added.
Swanton is starting plans to rebuild the lighthouse to withstand the forces of nature. "The method of structure will be slightly changed."
The planning process to build a new lighthouse is in the beginning stages, but there is an ambition to have a new lighthouse built by this summer.