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‘Just something about a lighthouse’: Port George light gets facelift

The Port George Lighthouse got a facelift as members of the community – including committee president John MacDonald, left, and past-president Bill Mahar – came together June 27 to help paint the structure.
The Port George Lighthouse got a facelift as members of the community – including committee president John MacDonald, left, and past-president Bill Mahar – came together June 27 to help paint the structure.

PORT GEORGE - For people on the water, a lighthouse is a beacon of safety and home. But to a Maritime community, it’s much more.

The Port George Lighthouse has visitors daily, says the lighthouse committee president, John MacDonald.

“People are just drawn to it. There’s just something about a lighthouse,” he says. “If you’re not from Nova Scotia, not from the Maritimes, one of the things visitors want to see are really cool, old lighthouses – and Port George is an ideal one. You don’t see those old, ancient lighthouses everywhere now.”

The Port George Lighthouse has visitors daily, says the lighthouse committee president, John MacDonald.

“People are just drawn to it. There’s just something about a lighthouse,” he says. “If you’re not from Nova Scotia, not from the Maritimes, one of the things visitors want to see are really cool, old lighthouses – and Port George is an ideal one. You don’t see those old, ancient lighthouses everywhere now.”

Built originally in the mid-1800s, the committee lovingly maintains the small, wooden light. It still works faithfully; MacDonald has seen fishing boats drop anchor and line-up with its bright red light in the fog, ensuring they are safe in bad weather.

 “It’s really something to see that, when the fog lifts, and know that the red light is shining to help ensure their safety. When they see that red light, they know exactly where they are,” he said. “It’s not just pretty – it’s a safety thing.”

The entire structure remains as accurate to its origins as possible, easily bringing visitors back in time. The light is now electrical, but a touch of the lighthouse’s past still lingers, MacDonald says.

The Port George Lighthouse got a facelift as members of the community came together June 27 to help paint the structure.

“When you open the door, after it’s been closed for a few days, you can still smell the faint scent of kerosene, the smell is still there from when it was used,” he says.

The lighthouse has caught the fancy of the entire community – and they came together to help with much-needed recent maintenance. Shingles had to be replaced, so Craig Parsons of Middleton Construction did fairly extensive roof repairs for free during the past two weeks.

“They replaced the red shingles, inspected the wood underneath and rewrapped the roof – four guys, all working for free for a few days,” MacDonald said. “Now, if a shingle does blow off, it won’t leak.”

That’s not all. A member of the community donated special rough-cut lumber, cut in the same two-inch lengths that were used on the original light, to replace a few damaged sections, and Paul Roach Landscaping Services cuts the grass throughout the season for no charge.

“We don’t want to change the look or dimensions of it – we want to keep it as close to the same as possible,” MacDonald added.

On June 27, about a dozen people from around the community came out, paint brushes in hand.

“We did some fairly extensive scraping this time, and then we started painting it,” MacDonald said. “None of us work in construction, so it took time, and we’ll have to go back out to finish the job. But we wanted to do a thorough job this time so we can just do general maintenance for the next few years.”

If the weather co-operates, they plan to return July 4 to finish the job.

 

If you go: From Highway 101, take Exit 18A and head towards Port George. The lighthouse is located on Shore Road. Donations are accepted.

 

Go online: See photos and get news at www.facebook.com/FriendsOfPortGeorgeLighthouse

 

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