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Former Foghorn Building

St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/08/17

General view of the Former Foghorn Building, showing the small, square massing with flat-roof supporting a concrete tower supporting the pierhead light and foghorn, 1988.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parks Canada, 1988.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Former Foghorn Building
Fog alarm, former
le sifflet de brume, l'ancien

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/11/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Former Foghorn Building is integral to the Fort Weller lighthouse station located on Lake Ontario at the northern terminus of the Welland Canal. It is a small, sturdy, square building built of concrete with a parapet roof, stylized flattened neoclassical detailing, and a raised concrete entablature. A concrete tower on the roof acts as a pedestal for the steel frame of the pierhead light and foghorn. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Former Foghorn Building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Former Foghorn Building is associated with the provision of navigational aids to ensure the safe usage of the Welland Canal. The Port Weller lighthouse station achieved international recognition as an important navigational aid on the Welland Canal, and later the St. Lawrence Seaway, as a result of the interest of lighthouse keeper Cyril Williamson and his wife Ethel in ham radio.

Architectural Value
The Former Foghorn Building is valued for its good aesthetic design and, with the adjacent residence is representative of the classical and modern elements of Art Deco. This style of architecture blends a simplified and modernistic neoclassicism with an austere form of geometric and stylized relief sculpture and other ornament. The concrete work exhibits excellent craftsmanship.

Environmental Value
The Former Foghorn Building reinforces the maritime character of its waterfront site, and together with the associated adjacent buildings is well known to local shipping. The structure is also a well-known regional landmark.

Sources: Marilyn E. Armstrong Reynolds, Former Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling (now Search and Rescue Accommodation Building), 1953 Residence (now Search and Rescue Office), and the Former Fog Horn Building (now Outer Navaid), West Pier, Port Weller, Ontario Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 88-095; The Former Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling, Former Fog Horn Building, Port Weller, West Pier, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 88-095.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Former Foghorn Building should be respected.

Its good aesthetic, functional design and excellent quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the small, square massing with flat-roof supporting a concrete tower supporting the pierhead light and foghorn;
- the quality concrete construction and smooth-faced exterior;
- the restrained decoration that includes a raised concrete entablature and capping parapet, and the parapet roof with stylized turrets.

The manner in which the Former Foghorn Building reinforces the present character of the maritime setting at the end of a breakwater, and is a familiar regional landmark for maritime traffic as evidenced by:
- the design and form, which complement the location at the end of a breakwater;
- the structure’s visibility to passing maritime traffic that makes it a familiar landmark.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Navigational Aid or Lighthouse

Architect / Designer

Department of Marine and Fisheries



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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