The lighthouse which graces Sylvan Lake’s shore has become a defining symbol for this community of 15,000 residents. Modelled after the famous Peggy’s Cove structure, it is viewed daily by residents and visitors to this central Alberta recreational lakeshore town.
First envisioned by the local Tourism Action Committee, it was brought to fruition by the Carruthers family first in 1988 when the Town of Sylvan Lake celebrated its 75th anniversary, and with the financial aid of a provincial legacy grant and private donations from the local sailing club and private citizens. The late Al Carruthers and wife Miriam donated the spit of land adjacent to the marina and oversaw the construction and maintenance for 18 years, until the sale of the marina in 2006. By 2011 the structure had to be demolished as it was in disrepair.
Sadly missed, a committee chaired by Rotary Club member Trevor Sigfusson was formed with strong support from former Tourism Action chair Sue Samson, Town CAO Betty Osmond, and supporting citizens to reconstruct the iconic lighthouse. Betty Osmond, (a maritimer herself) and enthusiast Martha Hart made the project known to the Premier of Nova Scotia who subsequently made duplicate blueprints for the original Peggy’s Cove lighthouse available for use.
Funding was initiated with a $125,000 provincial grant, and the Rotary Club of Sylvan Lake and committee launched a campaign to offer sponsorship of commemorative bricks in the lighthouse base and on the surrounding apron to raise remaining monies towards project completion.
Local companies DynaWest Engineering Ltd. (overseen by Rotarian Jack Van Delden), Proform Concrete, & Falcon Homes were contracted to build the structure to duplicate the Peggy’s Cove one, and in June 2016 construction was complete. On July 1st of the same year a moving ceremony and ribbon cutting was carried out by Mayor Sean McIntyre and celebrated with many contributing community members. The spit of land surrounding and leading to the new lighthouse was named Rotary Lighthouse Park as a tribute to our fine organization.
To date thousands of visitors view our lighthouse annually, and it is featured frequently in photographs by locals and tourists alike. If you search Sylvan Lake online, the lighthouse is a dominant image featured At night Sylvan’s shoreline is lit up by this icon’s changing colours and sunset gives it a golden glow each evening.
The exciting news for 2020 is that the Sylvan Lake Rotary Club is offering a second round of commemorative stones! In a collaborative effort with the Town of Sylvan Lake, the club will be offering up a limited number of Granite Stones offered due to the requests received after the first edition was completed. The 12 x 12 stones will be set in the grass along the walking path leading up the lighthouse. They will be engraved by local Wallah Signs to suit the custom text desired. All funds will benefit local Rotary projects such as youth scholarships, Christmas Bureau, Hospice, Flags of Remembrance, Food Bank, Winterfest, Canada Day festivities, and so much more in our fine community.
If you are interested in a stone or further details, please go to www.sylvanlakerotary.com or contact any local Rotarian. Posters and forms are also available at several local businesses such as The Paint Stop and Pharmasave.
-Submitted by Sylvan Lake Rotary Club