Letter: A fog of neglect is settling over the Mississagi Lighthouse

Without an influx of cash, one of the Island’s feature attractions may wind up on the rocks

To the Expositor:

Not so many years ago the foghorn plant at the Mississagi Lighthouse would send its bellowing wail across the Mississagi Strait warning marine travellers of the hazards hidden nearby. To this day the Mississagi Lighthouse sends its light out across these same treacherous waters in a never-ending warning to today’s travellers. Solid, steadfast and unrelenting, the lighthouse continues to fulfill its intended purpose day after day, year after year; a constant for everyone in these increasingly uncertain times.  

Unfortunately, a no less deadly fog has settled over the lighthouse, the foghorn plant, the museum and even the campground. This internationally recognized federal heritage building (since March 31, 1994) has begun to slip into obscurity and may very soon disappear entirely.  

The Mississagi Lighthouse and its attendant museum and campground is definitely of tremendous value, not only as a Canadian heritage Site, but just as importantly a means by which to draw tourism and commerce to the Western Manitoulin region. Evansville, Elizabeth Bay, Silver Water, Sheshegwaning and especially Meldrum Bay would greatly benefit from any initiatives directed to the Mississagi Lighthouse. There are many reasons to travel to Meldrum Bay such as the Net Shed Museum, The Olde General Store, Dove’s Place, the legendary Meldrum Bay Inn and of course the newly invigorated Meldrum Bay Marina and Campground Complex. But, and it’s a huge “but,” the showcase draw to the west has been, and always will be, the Mississagi Lighthouse.

Why is it closed, aside from the obvious COVID-19 situation? Simply put, the site needs an influx of money to upgrade some basic infrastructure. The money, I am told, had been applied for, subsequently granted but not yet put into action. And why is this whole situation in limbo? I cannot get any answers from DMI (Destination Manitoulin Island) and there seems to have been a heavy fog roll over this entire situation. And so I am sounding a metaphorical “fog horn” as both warning and alert. The time to move ahead with this initiative is now.

I have been visiting Manitoulin since 1983 and that year, and many since, we have travelled to and stayed at the Mississagi Lighthouse. We make good use of the various services available to us along the way be it supplies in Gore Bay, meat products in Evansville, a burger in Silver Water, fuel in Shesh, groceries in Meldrum Bay and dinner on the verandah of the Meldrum Bay Inn. Without any doubt, all of these business and many more along the way benefit from our travels to the Mississagi Lighthouse.  

The Mississagi Lighthouse Museum and Campground is the feature attraction on Western Manitoulin. Isn’t it time it was given the attention and recognition it deserves? I am absolutely certain the required investment will be returned many times over to Manitoulin Island and its business community. Apparently the money has been applied for, granted and is readily available. Now is the time for those making these decisions and putting them into action to move this forward with positive enthusiasm to the benefit all residents of and visitors to Manitoulin Island.

Jack Yard