It’s a new year, a new day, a new morning. A new opportunity. A fresh start.
Many have New Year’s resoltions. Others choose to turn a new leaf by greeting the day – by treking to meet the sun at the first sunrise in the nation.
That place is Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site. Located 25 minute’s drive away from St John’s, it is Newfoundland’s oldest lighthouse and the most eastern point of Canada. It is also the most eastern point in North America if one excludes Danish controlled Greenland.
The lighthouse is closed for the winter – that’s too bad because it is a place with plenty of history.
A lighthouse has operated at Cape Spear since September 1836. The original Cape Spear lighthouse was the second lighthouse built in Newfoundland (the first was built in 1810 at Fort Amherst, at the entrance to St. John’s Harbour). In 1832, the first legislative assembly for the colony created a lighthouse board. Cape Spear was chosen as the site for a new lighthouse because it was on the rocky eastern coast near the entrance to St John’s harbour.
Because of its proximity to convoy routes during the WWII, a gun battery was installed at Cape Spear to defend the entrance to St. John’s harbour. Barracks and underground passages leading to the bunkers were built for the use of troops stationed there.
A new concrete building was built to house the light in 1955. The lighthouse is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland and the location has been designated a Canadian National Historic Site. The original lighthouse building and the light keeper’s residence have since been restored to the period of 1939, and are open to the public. The visitor centre includes a gift shop.
The World War II bunkers and gun barrels that located at the site afford a sheltered view of the ocean.
But on this New Year’s Day the attraction is the sun – the first sunrise in Canada.