What to do in PEI #12 : Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick

Every since my parents decided that they would visit us in PEI, visiting and crossing the Confederation Bridge was on my dad’s bucket list. I think he’s seen about every documentary on the building of the bridge. So on their last full day in PEI, we left our cottage on the West Cape and made a detour to the Cape Jourimain Nature Center in New Brunswick. You can get some phenomenal views of the bridge along visiting a very decent nature center along with the Cape Jourimain Lighthouse.  Cape Jourimain Blog Cape Jourimain Blog Cape Jourimain Blog Cape Jourimain Blog

For 10 interesting facts about the confederation bridge - Click here!!

Facts about Confederation Bridge

  1.  The toll bridge:
    The Confederation Bridge has two lanes of toll.
    At Route 16, you can the Trans-Canada Highway takes the people to Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick.
    At Route 1, it takes you to Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island. Facts about Confederation Bridge
  2. The design:
    The Confederation Bridge is made with the structure of post tension concrete box girder.
    It is included as a type of multi span beam bridge. Confederation Bridge Facts Confederation Bridge Facts Facts about Confederation Bridge
  3. The curved bridge:
    The height of the curved bridge above the water elevation is around 131 feet or 40 m. Due to the ship traffic, it is made with the navigation span at 197 feet to 60 meters.
  4. The piers:
    There are 62 piers which hold Confederation Bridge. The gap of 44 primary piers in the bridge is 820 feet or 250 metres. The width of the bridge is 36 feet or 11 meter.
  5. The speed limit :
    If you are interested to cross the bridge, make sure that you have already known the speed limit. You should never ride the vehicle more than 50 miles per hour or 80 km per hour. To cross the bridge, it will take 12 minutes.
  6. The toll:
    When you leave Prince Edward Island, you have to play the toll. In October 2016, the rate of the toll was C$46.00 for the two-axle automobile. If you ride motorcycle, you have to pay C$18.50.
  7. The cyclists and pedestrians:
    You can cross Confederation Bridge if you take motorcycle or automobile. If you are a cyclist or pedestrian, you cannot cross it. However, you can use the shuttle service
  8. The shuttle service
    The shuttle service was free before 2006. Now it charges the cyclist C$8.75 and pedestrian C$4.25 when he or she leaves Prince Edward Island.
  9. The official opening:
    On 31st May 1997, Confederation Bridge was officially opened. At 5:00 pm, the first traffic crossing was conducted.
  10. The Bridge Walk
    During the Bridge Walk, there were around 75,000 people who participated in the opening of the bridge. Get facts about Brooklyn Bridge here.

I highly suggest visiting the Cape Jourimain Nature Center during the off-season … if you’re expecting a tourist trap, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to instead find a lovely little lighthouse on the edge of a wetland and salt marsh, at Cape Jourimain.  Because it’s a haven for birdlife, the nature center does a great job of educating visitors about all the birds in the area.  This is a home to egrets and herons, duck ponds and hiking trails, with lovely coastal views.  From the lookout tower you can see Confederation Bridge disappear into the distance, and in the other direction the historic Cape Jourimain Lighthouse.

For some detailed information about the Cape Jourimain Lighthouse - click here

Thanks to Lighthouse friends for the following blurb : Cape Jourimain is defined as the northern extremity of the Jourimain Islands, which are situated a few kilometers northwest of Cape Tormentine. The islands are linked together and with the mainland by sand bars and were considered navigational hazards being located at the narrowest part of Northumberland Strait, which separates New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

In August of 1868, John Page, Chief Engineer of Public Works, proceeded to Northumberland Strait and examined Indian Point, Cape Tormentine and Cape Jourimain to select the most advantageous spot for a lighthouse. Page determined that Cape Jourimain was the best position, “it being the extreme point of land to vessels passing in either direction through the strait; whilst those in the ordinary track from the eastwards by bearing directly for it, would fully clear the dangerous Tormentine reefs, and could proceed westwards, within a mile and a half of the light with safety.” The Chief Engineer recommended that a forty-foot-tall tower and detached keeper’s dwelling be constructed, with the tower preferably being built of non-combustible materials. If stone were used for the tower, the projected cost for the pair of structures was $8,500, while if a wooden frame tower was selected instead, the cost was estimated at $3,500.

The less expensive plan was evidently selected, as Parliament approved the expenditure of $3,500 for the construction of a lighthouse on Cape Jourimain in Westmorland County, and a contract was entered into with the Department of Public Works in New Brunswick to build a keeper’s dwelling and a tower for $2,974. Work on the structures was completed during 1869 with the exception of the installation of the lighting apparatus, which still had not arrived by the end of the year. John Bent was appointed keeper of Cape Jourimain Lighthouse at an annual salary of $200, and on May 15th, 1870 he first exhibited a temporary light consisting of three lamps, which was used until the intended lighting apparatus, three lamps set in twenty-three-inch reflectors, was installed on June 7th.

Cape Jourimain Lighthouse in 1907 with keeper’s dwelling
Photograph courtesy National Archives of Canada

Lewis Wells was paid twenty dollars for watching over the buildings from the time they were completed in December of 1869 until John Bent was appointed keeper on April 1, 1870. A well for fresh water and a landing were not provided when the lighthouse commenced operation, but seventy dollars was requested so that they could be built. Purchasing land for and obtaining a right-of-way to the lighthouse also took additional time, but they were finally obtained at an expense of $200 from M. Allen. Work on a turnpike road to connect the lighthouse to the public road was commenced in 1872 under a $100 contract to George Allan.

On June 14, 1875, Keeper John Bent and three others drowned while returning to the lighthouse in the station’s sailboat from Summerside on Prince Edward Island. Silas Ross, who had a family of four at the time, filled in as a temporary keeper until Arthur W. Bent was hired. The station’s boat was recovered, but the cost of repairing it was too much, so a boat formerly used at Quaco Lighthouse was provided to Cape Jourimain along with a marine telescope and flag.

The original lantern room, which had a diameter of just four-and-a-half feet, was always considered too confining as it prevented the keeper from passing around the lights and made it difficult for him to trim the lamps. A new lantern room was installed in 1876, and the light source was upgraded to circular-wick lamps set in three twenty-four-inch reflectors and four twenty-two-inch reflectors. The characteristic of the light remained fixed white. The seven lamps were soon found to be too many, as the excessive heat broke a number of glass panes in the lantern room, so the number was reduced to five.

On June 15,1878 the characteristic of the light was changed from fixed white to flashing white through the installation of a revolving apparatus equipped with four lamps, each backed by a reflector. The apparatus made one revolution every forty seconds, producing a white flash every ten seconds. The salary for Keeper Arthur W. Bent was raised from $250 to $300 owing to the increased labor required in attending the revolving light.

The following work was done at the station in 1895 by Milton Walsh, foreman for the Marine Department on Prince Edward Island.

The old sills of the tower were removed and replaced with new sills. The lower floor was taken up and replaced with new sleepers and new plank. The foundations were rebuilt, use being made of the stone in the old foundation. The support braces were taken down and iron anchor posts were attached to each of the octagonal posts of the tower and secured in the foundation, being firmly screwed down by nuts at their attachment to posts.The walls of the lean-to or kitchen attached to the dwelling have been shingled and a well sunk in the kitchen.

The fence around the grounds has been repaired by placing twelve new stone posts, as also new boards and rails where found necessary, and a new gate was placed at the entrance of the grounds. A new door was also put in the dwelling. A new fence six feet high has been erected around the garden.

In 1910, Cape Jourimain Lighthouse was moved to a new site by day labour under the direction of B.W. Allen at a cost of $400.54. The illuminating apparatus was improved in 1914 through the installation of a fourth-order dioptric lens.

Cape Jourimain Lighthouse was automated in 1970, and then was decommissioned in 1997 with the opening of the Confederation Bridge. The wooden, octagonal lighthouse was designated a Federal Heritage Building in 1991 due, in part, to “classically inspired details such as the elongated bracketed cornice, the use of belt courses and crown trims and the prominent gallery guardrail.”

Cape Jourimain, an important stopover for migrating birds, was designated for protection by the Canadian Wildlife Service in 1980. The communities near Cape Jourimain were hit hard by the closure of the Cape Tormentine – Borden ferry service and declines in the fisheries, but the opening of Cape Jourimain Nature Centre in 2001 has provided new jobs and tourism.

Although Cape Jourimain Lighthouse is now surrounded by the Nature Centre, the Coast Guard remains responsible for the tower. In 2010, Greg Fallon, executive director of the centre, noted that his organization would love to assume ownership of the tower, which desperately needs to be moved away from an eroding shoreline, but the group can’t afford to maintain the historic structure. Cape Jourimain Lighthouse is one of the most picturesque and historic lighthouses in New Brunswick and certainly merits special consideration.

In 2015, Cape Jourimain Lighthouse was recognized under the Lighthouse Heritage Protection Act, and ownership of the structure was transferred to Cape Jourimain Nature Centre. During the summer of 2016, Mervil Rushton Building Movers, who had previsouly moved two lighthouse, successfully moved Cape Jourimain Lighthouse back from the eroding shoreline. With the lighthouse now protected, the nature centre hopes to raise funds to restore it.

Keepers: John Bent (1870 – 1875), Arthur W. Bent (1875 – 1901), A. J. Percy Bent (1901 – 1938), Arthur Welsley Bent (1938 – 1949), Merrill William Trenholm (1949 – at least 1966).

In the nature center, you can play a version of Cape Jourimain bird jeopardy … along with learning about the crossing of the Northumberland strait before there was a bridge.

Or if you’re like my mom … you can make a new friend …

As for the views of the bridge, when it’s sunny I’m sure that it’s a spectacular view but on the only rainy day of my parents’ visit, it was anything but spectacular. However, the panoramic vistas from the viewing tower are definitely worth it, regardless of the weather.

You can easily spend a couple hours at the bridge by visiting attractions on both sides of the bridge. We definitely enjoyed the nature center and learning about the variety of conditions around the bridge, the engineering that went into the construction along with the views.

For more information on their guided tours ... click here!

The nature center offers free daily guided adventures for individuals and families from July to August

  • Programs are 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Extended guided tours are also available; please make a reservation at least a week in advance to ensure a park interpreter will be available.

Osprey Nest:  Witness some of the 200 species of birds who visit Cape Jourimain throughout the year. During the summer months the Osprey are nesting, and lucky visitors may experience their majestic flight as they soar over the salt marshes and coastlines in search of food.

Lighthouse:  During a short hike down our lighthouse trail, visitors will learn about the natural and human history of the Cape Jourimain area, including the Ice Boat service, submarine cable, and the life of a lighthouse keeper.

Beach Life:  Discover the creatures who live beneath the waves and on our shores.  Learn about our different clams, mussels, crabs and other sea life – how they live their lives and what they leave behind, all beneath the stunning backdrop of the Confederation Bridge.

Renewables & Museum Tour:  Learn about the different sustainable technologies Cape Jourimain uses in our day-to-day operations.  Afterwards, experience how our museum weaves natural and human history together into single story encompassing everything Cape Jourimain has to offer.

Travel Instructions:
From Highway 16 traveling from Port Elgin towards Prince Edward Island, take the last exit before the Confederation Bridge to arrive at Cape Jourimain Nature Centre. An entrance fee is necessary to access the trail system, which includes a 1.8 km Lighthouse Trail loop that passes by Cape Jourimain Lighthouse. The lighthouse is owned by Cape Jourimain Nature Centre. Grounds open, tower closed.

Cape Jourimain Blog Cape Jourimain Blog Cape Jourimain Blog Cape Jourimain Blog

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at rishi@rishiray.com

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