Despite being whipped by the rain, people flocked to Victoria-by-the-Sea to watch a historic moment.
Victoria lighthouse, the most photographed site on the tiny hamlet, was unveiled as a Heritage Designation Place with the stamp of a plaque. The ceremony paid tribute to the founder of the town on its 200th anniversary by incorporating James Bardin Palmer and his family as costumed characters.
Like many residents in Victoria, Brenda Boudreau has a deep affection for preserving the landmark of the town that was built in 1879.
“It’s unique because it has two lights; the front that faces the town is called Leards Front Range Light and the back overlooking the sea is the Palmer’s Rear Light,” said Boudreau, the chairwoman of the Victoria Historical Association, who attended the unveiling on Monday morning.
Victoria lighthouse is the second oldest on the province, decommissioned in 2011 and turned over to the municipality of Victoria.
Heritage Designation recognizes the historical value of a property and provides protection by law under the P.E.I. Heritage Places Protection Act.
Victoria has four designated properties that include the lighthouse, community hall, former Bank of Nova Scotia, and former village inn.
“It’s now protected from demolition or any serious alterations to its exterior. It will be here in the community for future generations,” grinned Boudreau while indicating the plaque on the outside proves this protection.
Connie McCardle, the vice-president of the Victoria Historical Association, said events like this raise awareness on the rich heritage of P.E.I.
“It’s about keeping people aware and excited about preserving our past,” she said.
Those attending the ceremony has a chance to “Meet the Palmers” during the Canada Day festivities. Costumed characters included James Bardin Palmer and his wife Millicent, and their son Donald William Palmer and his wife Jane.
“Victoria has turned into what it used to be years ago when it was a bustling seaport and there were hundreds of people weaving their way around the homes and hotels. It’s great to see the town alive again in a slightly different way with tourism, but people are discovering what a beautiful village it is,” added McCardle, who grew up in Victoria and attended the former two-room schoolhouse and then later became a kindergarten teacher in the school now listed as a historic property.