Imagine standing at the entrance of Whitefish Bay, taking in the breathtaking views of Lake Superior. Here, at Coppermine Point in Ontario, Canada, history and nature intertwine to create a captivating experience. This scenic location, along with its fascinating stories, has become a must-visit destination for those seeking adventure and tranquility.
A Rich History Dating Back to the Late 1700s
Coppermine Point derives its name from the attempts to extract copper ore that began in the late 1700s. The area has witnessed significant events, including the tragic sinking of the legendary freighter, the Edmund Fitzgerald, on November 10, 1975, just thirteen miles west of Coppermine Point. With twenty-nine crew members onboard, the memory of this unfortunate event lingers in the depths of Lake Superior.
The Legacy of the Roussain Family
In 1845, Charles Roussain, a respected figure with the Hudson’s Bay Company, settled at Coppermine Point. For over a century, his descendants made a living by fishing the eastern shore of Lake Superior. The Roussain family’s connection to Coppermine Point is immortalized in a small private cemetery, where twenty-four family members, laid to rest between 1852 and 1911, have found their eternal peace.
The Guiding Light: Coppermine Point Lighthouse
To ensure the safety of mariners navigating the waters, the Algoma Central Steamship Line established a lighthouse on Coppermine Point in 1901. Initially, the light was cared for by John Joseph Roussain, son of Charles Roussain, until his passing in 1909. Following in his father’s footsteps, Frank Edmund Roussain took over the responsibility of illuminating the way for ships traversing the majestic Lake Superior.
A Beacon of Hope
On September 15, 1908, a permanent lighthouse replaced the original structure. The new Coppermine Point Lighthouse, a wooden building with an octagonal iron lantern, provided a powerful light visible sixty-one feet above the lake’s surface. The lighthouse, erected by J.C. Kennedy of Owen Sound at a cost of $1,200, became a guiding beacon for vessels navigating these waters.
A Shifting Landscape and Enduring Spirit
Over the years, Coppermine Point Lighthouse has weathered the tests of time and witnessed changing landscapes. In 1923, the fixed white light was replaced by an acetylene light, which automatically flickered at short intervals, requiring no continuous watch. Then, in 1969, the lighthouse underwent a significant relocation, finding its new home approximately three kilometers north of Coppermine Point at Hibbard Bay. Although the original restaurant complex is no longer standing, the lighthouse’s spirit remains.
As you visit Coppermine Point today, you’ll find a cylindrical mast with a red and white rectangular daymark, gracefully standing as a tribute to the historic lighthouse. Every four seconds, it emits a mesmerizing white flash that serves as a reminder of the guiding light that once illuminated these shores.
Plan Your Visit to Coppermine Point Lighthouse
For history enthusiasts, nature lovers, and seekers of tranquility, Coppermine Point Lighthouse offers an unforgettable experience. As you explore the rich heritage and captivating surroundings, let your imagination wander through the tales of ships, courageous keepers, and the enduring spirit of Coppermine Point.
Visit Parkside Mansion for more information and start planning your journey to Coppermine Point Lighthouse.
Keepers: John Jospeh Roussain (1904 – 1909), Frank Edmund Roussain (1909 – 1923).