Nathan Phillips Square

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Overview

Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square is located directly in front of Toronto City Hall, where you will find the famous Toronto sign.

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Tripshepherd
100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N1

Welcome to Cape Spear, the home of the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland and the crown jewel of North America's easternmost point. This iconic beacon stands tall as a testament to the region's rich maritime history, guiding ships safely through treacherous waters for generations.

As you approach the Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site, prepare to be enchanted by the breathtaking panorama of the Atlantic Ocean stretching as far as the eye can see. Witness the mighty waves crashing against the rugged coastline and soak in the awe-inspiring scenery that surrounds you.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled, for if you visit at the right time of year, you might be lucky enough to catch sight of majestic humpback whales breaching the surface or glorious icebergs floating gracefully by.

A visit to Cape Spear is a must for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and historical significance of this remarkable location. Don't miss the opportunity to witness this true gem of North America's easternmost point and one of the most significant National Historic Sites of Canada!

See The Bustling Nathan Phillips Square With Us!


What to Know

Nestled on the stunning Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland lies a headland of immense historical significance - Cape Spear. As you venture towards this awe-inspiring location in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, you'll discover a breathtaking landscape that's steeped in legend and lore.

At a longitude of 52°37' W, Cape Spear is renowned as the most easterly point of both Canada and North America, excluding the vast landmass of Greenland. This makes it a truly remarkable destination that's revered by locals and visitors alike.

While Cape Spear may be within the municipal boundaries of the city of St. John's, it's a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown life. In fact, it's situated approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) from the city center, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the tranquil surroundings.

History buffs will be intrigued to learn that Cape Spear was originally named Cabo da Esperança by the Portuguese, which translates to "cape of hope". This title was later adapted to Cap d'Espoir in French, before finally becoming known as Cape Spear.

As you explore this remarkable location, be sure to take in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you. From the rugged coastline to the sweeping vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Spear is a feast for the senses that you won't soon forget.

And for those who are feeling adventurous, Cape Spear also serves as the trailhead and trail end for two components of the East Coast Trail - the perfect opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the natural splendor of this remarkable location.

How to Get There

It takes only 20 minutes by car to reach Cape Spear from downtown St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada. But if you're planning a trip to Cape Spear National Historic Site, the best way to get there is by booking the Best of St. John's Tour. This tour offers an array of facilities, including a narrated drive through downtown St. John's and nearby Quidi Vidi Village, where you'll pass by multiple points of interest such as Jellybean Row, the Rooms, and the Terry Fox Memorial. Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to explore Signal Hill National Historic Site and Cabot Tower while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding area. 

The best part is that the tour includes an entrance to and a guided tour of Cape Spear National Historic Site, so you'll be able to experience the beauty and history of this iconic landmark firsthand. Plus, the intimate, guided tour experience ensures that groups are limited to six people, ensuring that you get the most personalized and enjoyable experience possible. With pick up and drop off from anywhere in downtown St. John's, the Best of St. John's Tour is the perfect way to get to Cape Spear National Historic Site hassle-free!

Best Time to Visit

Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Newfoundland's rich history and breathtaking scenery. While the site is open year-round, the best time to visit is during the operating season, which runs from May to October. This is when visitor services and facilities are available, ensuring you have access to all the amenities you need to fully enjoy your experience.

From informative exhibits to guided tours, there's so much to see and do at Cape Spear Lighthouse during the operating season. So, if you're planning a trip to this iconic landmark, be sure to visit during this time to make the most of your visit!

Highlights

Nestled atop a magnificent bluff, overlooking the striking approaches to St. John's harbor, lies the Cape Spear Lighthouse - an awe-inspiring visual emblem of the province of Newfoundland. Lovingly restored by Parks Canada to its early 19th-century roots, this magnificent neoclassical cube boasts an exquisite domed light tower rising from its very core. With a functioning light sharing the site, this historic treasure is now open to the public, beckoning visitors from far and wide.

It's no wonder Cape Spear Lighthouse was designated a national historic site of Canada - its age and architecture alone are reason enough. The heritage value of this stunning beacon is rooted in the tangible remains of the 1830s lighthouse, from its physical form to the materials used in its construction. But it's not just the structure that's significant - its strategic location and remote surroundings make it a true testament to the resilience and determination of those who built and maintained it over the years. Don't miss your chance to experience this one-of-a-kind site for yourself!

History 

Dating back to 1836, the Cape Spear Lighthouse stands tall as a remarkable testament to the unique lighthouse architecture of the time. Its impressive design, rising from the heart of the lightkeeper's residence, served as a beacon of hope and safe passage for countless mariners navigating the treacherous Atlantic waters. The lighthouse kept on guiding the mariners until the original light was used for a new lighthouse tower that was constructed nearby in 1955.

For over 150 years, the Cantwell family of lightkeepers made Cape Spear their home, tirelessly tending to the lighthouse and ensuring that its light shone brightly for all who needed it. Today, visitors can step inside the restored lighthouse and discover what life was like for these dedicated 19th-century lighthouse keepers and their families.

But the human history of Cape Spear doesn't end there. During World War II, the site served as an important coastal defense battery known as Fort Cape Spear. Canadian and American soldiers guarded St. John's against lurking German U-boats, and remnants of this historic period can still be explored today. Follow in the footsteps of these brave soldiers and immerse yourself in the rich history of this remarkable location!