The oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland and Labrador, the historic Cape Spear Lighthouse, is located on Canada's easternmost shore and provides an insight into the experiences of 19th-century lighthouse operators and their households.
Atop a rugged coastline, the striking white Cape Spear Lighthouse strikes a sky teeming with seabirds. It views out over a great stretch of indigo ocean, with icebergs gliding by, Humpback whales breaching, and pods of porpoises spouting hazy spouts into the Atlantic.
Cape Spear is preserved as a National Historic Site now for two primary reasons. The lighthouse's antiquity and design, and its historical importance as a gun station during WWII. The place is also well-known for being Canada's farthest eastern spot, with stunning scenery of rare seabirds, dolphins, and icecaps.
Getting To Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site
Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada's most eastern region. The Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site is situated on the island of Newfoundland's farthest eastern point of land. The island may be reached by regular airline flights, ferries, or cars.
- Nearest Aiport- St. John's International Airport- 23.3 km
- Marine Atlantic runs ferries all year through Port aux Basques, Nova Scotia, and North Sydney.
- North Sydney to Port aux Basques takes roughly 6 hours, while North Sydney to Argentia takes nearly 11 hours.
- Travel west on Water Street to Leslie Street once you've arrived in St. John's.
- At the traffic lights, turn left and cross the bridge to the stop sign.
- Continue straight through the crossroads for 15 kilometers; you've reached Route 11, popularly known as Cape Spear Drive.
- Cape Spear National Historic Site is located at the end of the route.
What To Do
Explore Tthe Historic Lighthouse
- Cape Spear Lighthouse, built-in 1836, is a perfect demonstration of the era's peculiar lighthouse design.
- The all-important beam, which rose from the heart of the square lightkeeper's dwelling, served as a symbol of safe movement until 1955 when it was used to construct a new lighthouse building close.
- The Cantwells' narrative is the recorded history of Cape Spear Lighthouse. Descendants of this prominent family of lightkeepers have lived at Cape Spear for almost 150 years, working ceaselessly to retain a light so crucial to sailors.
- Experience the life of a 19th-century lighthouse keeper by entering the reconstructed lighthouse.
- Travel back in time to see the ruins of Fort Cape Spear, a World War II coastal defense station. Follow the lead of Canadian and American soldiers who defended St. John's against German U-boats lurking nearby.
- Visitors will enjoy the stunning scenery and expansive landscapes while exploring the paths of Canada's Cape Spear National Historic Site!
- The Blackhead Path and the Cape Spear Path are two paths of the East Coast Hiking trails that lead to Cape Spear.
- Distance (One way): 3.7 km
- Time: 1.5 hours
- Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous
- The hike is beautiful with spectacular scenery back to the Southside Hills peaks, Cabot
- Tower, Cape Spear, and the Cape Spear lighthouse.
Note: It's worth noting that this trail has modest growth and is highly exposed to climatic elements.
Cape Spear Path
- Distance (One way): 10.3 km
- Time: 4-6 hours
- Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous
- This hike is a wonderful adventure with hills, extensive sights, a plank bog crossing at Staffordside, erratics along the shore, and two river crosses. In Maddox Cove, the trail travels through a Nature Conservancy. Weather is frequently windier and damper than in St. John's.
Visit The Art Gallery
- In what used to be the Associate Light Keeper's residence, the Canadian Coast Guard Association runs an art museum.
- There are more than 60 paintings depicting lighthouses in Newfoundland and Labrador on exhibit.
- Each artwork, painted by Leslie Noseworthy, will captivate visitors with intricacies that are typically missed while viewing lighthouses in reality.
Visit the Heritage Shop
- The Historic Monuments Society of Newfoundland and Labrador runs the Cape Spear Historical Center.
- This souvenir shop, situated in the Visitors Center across from the Art Gallery, sells a variety of local art, crafts, and trinkets, with proceeds benefiting culture and heritage programs in the region.
Where To Eat
Visting a National Historic Site can be exhausting, especially if visitors choose to hike along the trails leading to the lighthouse. As a result, it's essential to keep track of where to dine near Cape Spear Lighthouse.
- A cozy local restaurant with gluten-free choices offering vegetarian and vegan Chinese and Asian cuisine.
- The meals are delicious, and it's all prepared by hand with locally grown produce.It's also quite reasonable.
- Address: 250 Duckworth St, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador A1C 1G6 Canada
- An elegant and sustainably sourcing restaurant with wine pairings and a taster menu.
- The restaurant takes a sustainable commitment to gourmet dining, using locally farmed products from independent vendors.
- Address: 95 Water St, St. John's, NL A1C 1A4, Canada
- Piatto's pizzaiolo has undergone extensive training and is skilled in preparing Neapolitan pizzas, ensuring that you receive a traditional pizza flavor comparable to that found in the bustling pizzerias of Naples, Italy.
- They also have vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free choices.
- Address: 377 Duckworth St, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador A1C 1H7 Canada.
- In the center of downtown St. John's, enjoy casual and pleasant eating, fresh seafood, and special appetizers.
- Canadian fine dining, traditional dishes, seafood, vegan choices, and gluten-free selections are all available at the restaurant.
- Address: 320 Water St, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador A1C 1C1 Canada.
In Canadian history, Cape Spear Lighthouse stands as an important monument serving a purpose in the second world war. It's an excellent source for learning about the history of lighthouses and their keepers. For history geeks, this is a must-see attraction!