National Trust for Canada’s Regeneration Project Leader Rob Pajot updates us on the This Lighthouse Matters, one year later.
Last July, we announced the nine winners of the hugely successful This Lighthouse Matters competition. Even from our offices here in Ottawa, we could feel the excitement being generated in Nova Scotia, as small groups rallied local supporters and inspired Canadians from across the country to cast their online vote in order to save these beloved local lighthouses. Almost 220,000 votes were cast in support of the 26 competing lighthouses.
The competition was a run-away success. Not only did it direct close to $300,000 in funding to worthy renewal projects, it raised much-need awareness for these important Canadian landmarks, built capacity and expanded the networks of dedicated local organizations.
And now, one year later, we are seeing the tangible outcomes of those projects. As Janet McGillen says of her project at Gabarus “Had we not won the second prize, our lighthouse would have been destroyed when the cliff on which it sat eroded away into the Atlantic”. Standing just a few feet away from the edge of a 30-foot cliff and already starting to tilt towards the ocean, the lighthouse was literally pulled back from the brink last November, and now sits securely on a new concrete base a safe distance away.
And in Digby, after a 40-year absence, their historic lighthouse is now once again overlooking the Annapolis Basin. Just two weeks ago the lighthouse was moved back to its rightful spot, after the community rallied to have it repatriated from across the Bay of Fundy. Final repairs and shingling are now underway to finalize their project.
Another great outcome from the competition is the lasting connections made on some sites: competing teams were paired with young people to help them better use social media, but these blossomed into longer term support for the site, with many young people staying on to help with the projects.
Other winning projects are now fully underway.
If you are traveling around Nova Scotia this summer, keep your eye out for people working on their lighthouse – they may be one of our winners! Do stop by and congratulate them on their excellent work in protecting a part of Canada’s history.
And now, communities across the country have the chance to think big about the future of their main streets. The National Trust is inviting community organizations to forge partnerships, engage youth and think creatively about their downtown with the chance to win one of two $40,000 prizes. Have an idea? Learn more.