About Cape Forchu

Cape Forchu Lighthouse is the Beacon to Canada. The Cape has been welcoming visitors since 1604, when Samuel de Champlain landed and named the area "Cap Forchu", meaning forked tongue of land. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Town of Yarmouth was a booming seaport with vessels coming in and out of the harbour and therefore the Cape was the ideal position for a lighthouse and foghorn.

By 1878, Yarmouth was at its peak and was the second largest port of registry in Canada. Here the lighthouse could protect vessels both approaching and entering the harbour. The Cape Forchu light, also commonly known as the Yarmouth Light, was constructed in 1839. The light itself stood 38.4 metres (126 feet) above sea level and 27.7 metres (91 feet) above ground. In 1869, a steam-powered fog whistle was installed. Later in 1873 a long wooden breakwater was built between the island and the mainland to help light keepers travel to the fog building safely.

Cape Forchu at Sunset

Today, the Cape Forchu Lighthouse is a significant tourism draw. The light itself, its 19 acres of well-groomed grounds, the view of Yarmouth's working harbour and the drive to the Cape through the very heart of an active fishing community, are all emblematic of Nova Scotia's coastal heritage. The tower stands as a proud symbol of dedication and service and maintains a 175-year-old tradition of guiding vessels in and out of Yarmouth Harbour. It is truly a historic landmark. As the light shines way across the water, we are reminded of our historic and economic ties to the sea.