Chapter 203
The Island Lighthouse.

Table of Contents

Title Page
203 The Island Lighthouse.
204 Two Western Piers.
227 The Island in the Forties.
236 Front Street of Old.
237 Canadian Lake Navigation
238 1766 to 1809.
239 Six Eventful Years, 1809-15
240 A New Era, 1816 to 1819
241 A Progressive Enterprise, 1819 to 1837.
242 The Rebellion of 1837-38
243 Complaining Travellers
244 The Trade of the Lake Still Continues to Expand
245 The Royal Mail Line, 1840 TO 57
246 Storms and Shipwrecks -- Great Destruction of Life and Property -- The Commercial Distress in 1857.
247 Gloomy Anticipations for the Spring Trade
248 The Niagara Steamers, 1874-78.
249 Niagara Falls Line - 1883 to 1893.
250 Hamilton Steamboat Co. '87-'93
251 The General History of the Lake Shipping Continued
252 New Steamers
253 Lorne And Victoria Parks.
254 Toronto Ferry Co. 1890-93.
255 Royal Canadian Yacht Club.
256 Canadian Pacific Steamers.
257 The Rochester Route -1889-'93
258 The Ottawa Steamers, 1864-93
259 The R. & O. Company.
260 Tabulated Statements of Various Vessels from 1678 to the Present Time.
Table of Illustrations

The Building on Gibraltar Point Completed in the year 1808.

The Island Lighthouse, 1808
One of the first, perhaps the very first, necessity of a port is a lighthouse. Although such a guide to lake navigators was projected and begun at a very early period it was not finished until York had become quite a village. A lighthouse was begun on what was then York peninsula, but is now Toronto Island at the point known as Gibraltar Point, before the close of the last century and the vessel Mohawk, of which we had frequent mention in the early annals of the town, was employed in bringing over stones from Queenston to build it. Mr. John Thomson, who was still living in 1873, was employed in its erection. The building was then begun, but evidently was not completed, for in 1803 an Act was passed by the Provincial Legislature for the establishment of lighthouses on the south-westernmost point of a certain island called Isle Forest, situated about three leagues from the town of Kingston in the Midland District, and other upon Mississaga Point at the entrance to the Niagara River near to the town of Niagara, and the other upon Gibraltar Point. It was not practicable to carry the Act fully into effect before 1806 at the earliest. According to the Act a fund for the erection and maintenance of these lighthouses was to be formed by levying threepence per ton on every vessel, boat, raft, or other craft of ten tons burden and upwards doubling the point named, inward bound. That lighthouse duty should be levied at a port when there was no lighthouse became a grievance, and in 1818 it was enacted that no vessel, boat, raft, or other craft of the burden of ten tons and upwards should be liable to pay any lighthouse duty at any port where no lighthouse was erected, any local law or usage to the contrary notwithstanding. But the lighthouse at York was not completed until 1808 at the earliest, for in the Gazette of March 16th of that year the announcement is made 'that a lighthouse is about to be immediately established on Gibraltar Point at the entrance to York harbour. The Gazette remarks : It is with pleasure we inform the public that the dangers to vessels navigating Lake Ontario will in a great measure be avoided by the erection of a lighthouse on Gibraltar Point which is to be immediately completed in compliance with an address of the House of Assembly to the Lieutenant-Governor. For a considerable period all vessels were signalled by a flag from the lighthouse. The accompanying illustration shows the lighthouse on the Point.



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This electronic edition is based on the original in the collection of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.