Western Islands Light
Medium: Transparent Watercolour
Image Size: 51/4" x
The Western Islands of Georgian Bay are barren, rocky islets many miles from
shore, extremely dangerous to passing vessels. It was essential that
the lighthouses on the Bay be constantly manned during the shipping season.
The lighthouse keeper (and his family, if he had one) would be deposited on
the island right after spring breakup, with enough supplies to see him through
the season. Once the winter came, they would be picked up and taken into town
where they would live until spring. Since the Bay doesn't freeze until
well into January, and thaws in March and April, it was a very lonely existence. If
freeze-up came unexpectedly early, it wasn't unknown for the keeper to be stranded
for the winter months, without enough food to last 'til spring.