Where will you find a lighthouse in Alberta? In Sylvan Lake, of course!
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 in Nova Scotia, it’s viewed daily by residents and visitors to this central Alberta recreational lakeshore town.
First envisioned by the local Tourism Action Committee, the lighthouse 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 1 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 the local Rotary club.
To date thousands of visitors view the lighthouse annually, and it’s 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.
-By Sylvan Lake Rotary Club
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