Save Our Swallowtail

Swallow Tail or Swallowtail as seen from Fish Head. 
A herring weir is in the foreground.
 Swallowtail Lighthouse is one of the most picturesque in the Canadian Maritimes. Build in 1860, it is one of a few pre-Confederation wooden light towers still remaining. The light house was destaffed in November, 1985 and unlike most light houses that have been destaffed, many of the buildings used by the light keepers including the house and boathouse still remain.

Swallowtail partially shrouded in fog.

In 1994, ownership of part of the long peninsula was transferred to the Village of North Head (now part of the amalgamated Village of Grand Manan). This includes the top of the hill and buildings, stairs, bridge, keepers house and boat house. The end of the peninsula including the light house is still owned by the Canadian government, but under the federal Heritage Lighthouse Act, the light house may again become part of the light keepers property and be owned by the Village of Grand Manan.

Reflection of the full moon in the water beneath Swallowtail.
Leased as a Bed and Breakfast from 1996-2004, the buildings were empty since the business closed and were in need of repair and a purpose. In December, 2007, the Village of Grand Manan council decided to sell the property after receiving a number of unacceptable proposals. This raised much concern in the community and abroad that one of Grand Manan’s icons would be in jeopardy of privatization. A huge effort to change council’s mind resulted in the decision being reversed and the creation of a non-profit organization, the Swallowtail Keepers Society.

Keepers house, boat house and light tower at Swallowtail
SKS members worked hard to create a charitable organization and sign both a Memorandum of Understanding and a long term lease with the Village of Grand Manan.  A business plan was developed with provincial funding from the Regional Development Corporation and Built Heritage.  One of the results of the business plan was a restoration grant in 2010-2011 from both of these provincial bodies. This allowed major work to be done on the buildings to restore them to a usable state.  A further grant from Heritage Canada Legacy Fund in 2011 will fund upgrading the parking area, stairs, foot bridge and trail.    he bronze fog bell donated to the Grand Manan Museum in the 1960s will be returned to the site and act as a tribute to all of the former lightkeepers that worked at Swallowtail.

We are always looking for support, whether it is monetary, in kind or volunteer labour to help with the restoration.  As a registered charity we can offer Canadian tax receipts for donations of goods or money.  Please contact us, Swallowtail Keepers Society, 50 Lighthouse Road, Grand Manan, NB E5G 2A2 Canada.