Battle Island Lighthouse
Battle Island Lighthouse was placed in operated in 1875. The original lighthouse was described to have exhibited “a revolving catoptric light, showing alternately red and white, and attaining its greatest brilliancy every one-and- a-half minute. It is elevated 105 feet above water mark, and in clear weather should be seen 18 miles. The tower is a square wooden building, 30 feet high from base of structure to vane of lantern, and is painted white.
The station received a few notable enhancements in 1914 when work began on three new structures: a square, wooden building to house a diaphone fog alarm, a thirty-foot- tall, octagonal lighthouse to replace the original wooden one, and a double dwelling to house the two keepers now needed to look after the light and fog alarm.
The new lighthouse was placed in operation on May 12, 1915 and employed a triple-flash, long-focus reflector to produce the following characteristic: flash, four-second interval, flash, four-second interval, flash, sixteen-second interval. For twelve seconds, or half of the light’s revolution, the light was totally eclipsed, while for the other half a light of 450 candlepower was visible, intensified by flashes of 20,000 candlepower. The illuminant for the new light was petroleum vapour, burned under an incandescent mantle. The fog alarm, which replaced a hand-operated foghorn given to Keeper McKay in 1901, sounded a three-and-a-half-second blast every thirty seconds as needed.
The full day trip out and back with Such A Nice Day Adventures covers a distance of 14 miles (22 kms) and is best suited for the intermediate paddler. The route from Rossport follows the western shoreline of Quarry Island and across Willson Channel to the protect waters in Chummy’s Harbour before crossing to Battle Island. Over lunch your guide will retell the tale of the gale force winds and storm surge that once generated waves so high they blew the windows out of the lighthouse. After lunch take a short hike to the lighthouse for a tour of the ground and tower before climbing back into your kayak and making the return trip to Rossport. If time and weather allow, you will make a short stop to view the wrecked boiler of the Ontario.
BATTLE ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE FACTS
The original keeper, Charles McKay, endured an amazing thirty-six seasons on Battle Island.
The only fatality on Battle Island was a drowning that occurred in August 1932
Battle Island became home to a pet moose in 1953 who earned the name “Obnoxious”
Bert Saasto retired in November 1991 as the last keeper of Battle Island