Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Solstice... the Return of Light!

A number of my West Coast blogger friends have chosen to celebrate the occurrence of the Winter Solstice by symbolically selecting lighthouses to mark the return of Light. Having lived most of my life on the shore of the St Lawrence River, Lake Ontario at Kingston and in Nova Scotia for five years... "I" share a love for these maritime monuments and have painted a good number of them.

There has recently been an initiative, dating to the 1990's on the part of The Canadian Coast Guard to de-staff manned working lighthouses across the country... arguing that it can save money by automating the remainder of its 241 major working lighthouses along our coasts. There are 50 staffed lighthouses remaining in this country: 23 in Newfoundland and Labrador, 27 in British Columbia.

Senator Bill Rompkey has been chairing a review committee in the matter and in the report offered by the committee suggested: "We've fallen in love with technology. It's become the answer to everything. There are a lot of times when it doesn't work. You need human beings to use the technology."

After discussing the issue with lighthouse keepers, businesses and maritime officials on both coasts, the committee has determined that the issue of de-staffing be put on hold at present until a full cost analysis and appraisal of other public services offered by lighthouses and their keepers can be properly evaluated.

Rompkey also stated: "That lightkeepers have a number of useful roles: search and rescue for those in distress, observing oil and other pollutions, monitoring suspicious traffic including drug smugglers, criminal excursions and illegal immigration."

In Ontario. a number of private citizen groups in a number of Great Lakes locations have adopted/ assumed responsibility for structural maintenance for lighthouse that had been threatened by demolition orders issued by The Coast Guard to insure their survival.

It is indeed beyond being a pity... it is a travesty that our government... small "g" fully intended... has so little value for heritage... or for that matter concern for the personal well-being of its citizens. We are a maritime country. It shall always be so. It makes sense to maintain a human presence in the business of guiding marine traffic along our many thousands of miles of often rugged and dangerous coastlines.

My first jpeg (appropriate for this time of year) depicts a "Light in the East" ... located at Rustico, Prince Edward Island. It has been replaced by an automated light. The second is Squamish Light in British Columbia... and I believe, is still manned.

May these magnificent monuments... to our maritime traditions here in Canada... shine on.. to light the way for mariners who so depend upon their luminous presence!

As well... May the True Light of Christmas light the homes and hearts of all my blogging Friends!

Merry Christmas to all... and to all... a good Light!


  1. Hi Bruce,

    I think all of our lighthouses have been automated now. The keepers houses have mostly been sold as private homes, which preserves them I suppose, but a whole way of life has gone.

    Merry Christmas,

  2. Good post Bruce...good paintings! Not sure about the Lakes or the East Coast but we still have a few manned lights out in BC. It is nothing short of a travesty, the disgraceful movement to deman our lights and in many instances to demolish them!

    There outta be a law...


  3. Fantastic paintings! Love the light in both.

  4. Hi again Keith!... Tradition it would seem... more than ever has been given a blind eye by our technologically-driven... and electronically possessed societies.

    I have visited a number of lighthouses in Ontario and the East Coast... that are now private seashore homes. Granted they are still "in use"... and preserved... but as well... "I" share your own sentiments about the loss of a way of life.

    The other roles assumed by lightkeepers... I hope... will preserve the manned ones remaining in British Columbia and Newfoundland-Labrador. Time will tell!

    Merry Christmas... yet again Keith... and thank "You" for religiously visiting... and sharing your own very fine art!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Hi again Jeffrey!... Thanks for visiting... and for you agreement regarding the current state of lighthouse "safety"... and well-being for the future!

    "There otta' be a law"... and perhaps there might be hope for that: Google Toronto Star Wednesday, Dec 22nd edition... "Lightkeepers given a reprieve"... if you're interested!

    "Let there be Light!....."

    Good Painting!
    Merry Christmas and warmest regards,

  6. Hi there Angela!... Thanks for visiting my site and for your gracious comments about the pictures in this post!

    I visited your site and was certainly very impressed with the quality of all of your work... and in particular... your magnificent pet portraiture.

    You have a great start in your journey and obviously have a feeling for what "You" paint!
    Stay that course... and you will always find that Success and Happiness will follow!

    Merry Christmas to "You"! Do drop by again soon!

    Good painting!
    Warmest regards,

    PS Glad that you loved "the Light" in both!HAHA!!! Good one!!!

  7. It seems in these hard times, we must all make cuts to things which are important...
    I'm wondering how important those multimillion dollar weddings are to the Brits.....

  8. Hi there Marian!... Thanks for dropping by and leaving your very valid thoughts and opinions!

    Multi million dollar wedding extravaganzas? Drop the axe... without hesitation!

    Services that insure public safety and well-being... housing for the homeless... providing increases to social assistance cheques which enable impoverished children to have nutritious meals?

    Politicians! Put our money... where your election promises came out of! Pretty simple and logical ideas in my mind Marian. But I haven't got a political bone in my body... or political brain either!

    Less money spent on military spending... diverted to public health insurance might be yet another leap of faith ... and indicate that there's a "Light on"... in the attic of government spenders!Just a few thoughts!

    Good Painting! Happy Holidays!
    Warmest regards,

  9. Merry Christmas to you Bruce and happy painting too! Thank you for the beacons of light to guide us through the dark days of winter. We now look forward to the longer days. Bonny paintings Bruce.

  10. Hi there Caroline!... Thank "You" for your regular visits to this forum... and for always leaving keen comments... and good ideas of your own!

    "We" all can serve as guiding "beacons of Light" Caroline... if we choose to "pass forward" Hope and Optimism to those in the world around us.

    Confucius said: (paraphrased) "One candle can light millions of other candles and not diminish its own flame."

    A childhood hymn my Mom taught "Me" went:

    Jesus bids us shine with a clear, pure light
    Like a little candle, burning in the night.
    He looks down from heaven, just to see us shine.
    You... in your small corner..
    And I in mine!

    Shine on!... Sweet Caroline!... How's that for linking two great songs?HAHA!!

    Merry Christmas back to "You"
    Good Painting...Warmest regards,