Queen's Wharf Lighthouse

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Queen's Wharf Lighthouse
Fleet Street Lighthouse.jpg
The lighthouse at its Fleet Street location
LocationLakeshore Boulevard at Fleet Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates43°38′09.2″N 79°24′17.9″W / 43.635889°N 79.404972°W / 43.635889; -79.404972Coordinates: 43°38′09.2″N 79°24′17.9″W / 43.635889°N 79.404972°W / 43.635889; -79.404972
Constructed1838 (first)
Constructionwoode basement and tower
Height8.5 metres (28 ft)
Shapeoctagonal prism tower rising from a basement
Markingsbrown tower, dark red lantern
OperatorToronto Transit Commission Edit this on Wikidata
First lit1861

The Queen's Wharf Lighthouse (also known as the Fleet Street Lighthouse, after its current location) is a lighthouse in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is situated at Fleet Street just east of the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place. The octagonal building was originally part of a pair of lighthouses built in 1861 at Queen's Wharf, replacing an earlier 16-foot lighthouse built in 1838.[1] The 11-metre (36-foot) three-storey wood structure is one of two surviving 19th-century lighthouses in Toronto (the other being Gibraltar Point Lighthouse).


The lighthouse, which projected a red light, was designed by the architect Kivas Tully. This lighthouse, along with a second, larger white light lighthouse, marked the entrance to the Toronto Harbour from 1861.[1] The two lights were lined up to guide ships into Toronto Harbour, which had a narrow and shallow (14 feet (4.3 metres) deep) channel over bedrock and shallow sandbars. The building is a bare frame structure and was never meant to be used as a dwelling by a lighthouse keeper, who stayed in a nearby cottage.[2] The harbour master's residence was also nearby.[3]

The shifting in direction of the deep water channel to Toronto Harbour necessitated the moving of the red light lighthouse in 1885.[4] Both lighthouses became redundant when a new western channel to the harbour was opened with a pair of new range lights (a short tower on concrete base and a taller skeletal tower)[5] and were deactivated in 1912.[1] The new range lights were destroyed by fire in 1918. By 1925, the Queen's Wharf Lighthouse was surrounded by new lands filling in the area around the Queen's Wharf, 1,400 feet (430 metres) from the water.[6] The other lighthouse was demolished but the Toronto Harbour Commission moved the remaining lighthouse to its present Fleet Street location in 1929.[7] The new location was on the northern approach to the old western channel.[7] Its ownership was transferred to the City of Toronto.[1]

The lighthouse currently sits at the eastern edge of the Gore park about one block north from the current shoreline and is contained within a small Toronto Transit Commission streetcar loop.[8] The building was listed in the Toronto Heritage Register on June 20, 1973.[9] The Historical Board of Toronto did some restoration of the lighthouse in 1988. The light is no longer functional.[2]

Fleet Loop[edit]

Fleet Loop
Fleet lighthouse loop wide clip.jpg
General information
Operated byTTC
Line(s)BSicon CLRV.svg  509   511 

Fleet Loop is a turning loop, encircling the lighthouse, used for short turning the 509 Harbourfront and 511 Bathurst streetcar routes of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The lands are leased from Exhibition Place on a renewable ten-year term.[10]

When the loop first opened on June 22, 1931 it could only turn westbound streetcars back east. The loop was rebuilt in 1982 and reconfigured so that streetcars on Fleet Street could enter and exit in both directions, allowing them to return to the Exhibition Loop or loop-the-loop.[11] Passengers cannot access vehicles here and must board streetcars at a stop just east of the loop.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Doors Open Toronto 2007: Queen's Wharf Lighthouse". Toronto.ca. City of Toronto. Archived from the original on February 13, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Unknown Toronto: Queen's Wharf Lighthouse". Retrieved July 4, 2009.
  3. ^ Boyd, J. H. (August 15, 1925). "BUILDINGS REMINISCENT OF EARLY TORONTO". The Globe. p. 13.
  4. ^ "TORONTO HARBOUR: Improvements and Alterations at the Queen's Wharf CHANGE IN THE RANGE LIGHTS A NEW CRIB AND PIER PREVENT FURTHER DAMAGE". The Globe. April 21, 1885. p. 6.
  5. ^ "Queen's Wharf Lighthouse".
  6. ^ Boyd, J. H. (August 15, 1925). "Small, Ancient Lighthouse, Once Right on Waterfront Now Stands Far Inland: Recalls Days When Queen's Wharf Was Busy With Traffic of Great Lakes, and Steamboat Began to Displace Sailing Vessel RESTS AS CURIOSITY BESIDE BOULEVARD". The Globe. p. 13.
  7. ^ a b "ANCIENT LIGHTHOUSE GUIDED 300,000 SHIPS; NOW CARS SKIRT BASE: Beacon Built in 1861 Moved to Point of Gore Formed by Fleet Street end Boulevard Drive--Commemorates Pioneer Shipping, Marks Development of Toronto Harbor and Recalls Many Thrilling Tales of Shipwreck and Rescue". The Globe. November 27, 1929. p. 9.
  8. ^ "Queen's Wharf a/k/a Fleet Street Light". www.rudyalicelighthouse.net. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008.
  9. ^ "651 FLEET ST". City of Toronto Heritage Register. City of Toronto. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  10. ^ Dianne Young, Interim General Manager (April 7, 2000). "Renewal of Lease Agreement with TTC for Fleet Loop" (PDF). City Council report. Board of Governors of Exhibition Place. Retrieved August 25, 2014. This report recommends the renewal of the current Lease to the TTC of the lands known as the Fleet Street Streetcar Loop for a ten (10) year term, with an option for a further renewal of up to ten (10) years.
  11. ^ James Bow. "Exhibition Loop and Fleet Loop". Transit Toronto. Retrieved August 25, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Crompton, Samuel Willard & Michael J. Rhein. The Ultimate Book of Lighthouses (2002) ISBN 1-59223-102-0; ISBN 978-1-59223-102-7.
  • Jones, Ray, & Roberts, Bruce (Photographer). Eastern Great Lakes Lighthouses (Lighthouse Series) (Paperback) (Old Saybrook, CN: The Globe Pequot Press) p. 69. ISBN 1-56440-899-X.
  • Jones, Ray.The Lighthouse Encyclopedia, The Definitive Reference (Globe Pequot, January 1, 2004, 1st ed.) ISBN 0-7627-2735-7; ISBN 978-0-7627-2735-3.
  • Oleszewski, Wes. Great Lakes Lighthouses, American and Canadian: A Comprehensive Directory/Guide to Great Lakes Lighthouses, (Gwinn, Michigan: Avery Color Studios, Inc., 1998) ISBN 0-932212-98-0.
  • Penrose, Laurie & Penrose, Bill T., (1994-05) A Traveler's Guide to 100 Eastern Great Lakes: Lighthouses (Paperback), Friede Publications, 125 pages ISBN 0-923756-09-4, p. 82.
  • Wright, Larry and Wright, Patricia. Great Lakes Lighthouses Encyclopedia Hardback (Erin: Boston Mills Press, 2006) ISBN 1-55046-399-3

External links[edit]