Just 20 minutes outside of St.John's,Cape Spear National Historic Site of Canada was designated as historically significant in 1962 for the age and the architecture of the historic lighthouse. In order to protect the commemorative integrity of the site, Parks Canada restored this lighthouse to its original appearance and Cape Spear was officially opened to the public in 1983 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana. Today, Cape Spear continues to be protected as a National Historic Site for two main reasons: the age and architecture of the lighthouse and it's significance as a gun battery during the Second World War. The site is also very well known as being the most easterly point of Canada and boasts great views of rare seabirds, whales as well as icebergs.
The Historic Lighthouse
Built and put into operation in 1836, the Cape Spear Lighthouse is the oldest standing in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was the first of its kind built along Newfoundland's rugged coastline to help ships navigate the unpredictable waters. The architecture is quite unique and follows a style of British Classicism, portrayed in its size and symmetry. The very first Light Keeper was Mr. Emanuel Warre originally from Scotland. His predecessor, Mr. James Cantwell was the first of several generations of Cantwells to hold the post with the last, Mr. Gerald Cantwell, leaving the job in 1997.
Fort Cape Spear
During the Second World War, St. John's became a major port for naval convoys bringing supplies to support the war effort on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Because of this, the water's outside of the Harbour became a potential target for enemy attacks and a gun battery was put in place at Cape Spear to deal with this matter. On June 16th, 1941, "A" Troop of the 103rd Coast Artillery of the Royal Canadian Artillery arrived at Cape Spear with the responsibility of two 10 inch disappearing guns installed near the water's edge. These guns and their adjacent ready rooms and magazines are the only pieces left on site of Fort Cape Spear.
Most Easterly Point
Located at the most eastern edge of Canada, Cape Spear is not only historically significant but geographically as well! Each year, thousands of visitors come to this easternmost land to watch for seabirds, whales or icebergs! Between May and September, the water surrounding the Cape is filled with migrating Humpback whales as well as Minke and Fin, and occasionally Orcas or Blue whales!