Final look

Taking a final look at the keepers dwelling, Donny Wabasse spent the last four months taking pictures and cooking up a storm while living on Porphyry Island.

While laying in bed an extra 30 minutes, I reflected upon my last day of the season on Porphyry Island.

With continuing fair seas and warm temperatures, it was a good day to be leaving.

After seeing off seven host keepers, four artists in residence, two Canada Summer Jobs students and 13 Builders on Superior Shores’ participants, I could empathize with how it feels to leave.

I’m happy, but sad the season is now coming to a close. Porphyry had over 900 visitors exploring, learning and taking a step towards understanding how shipping works on the largest fresh water lake in the world.

The colder spring, higher gas prices and two years of delay of out-of-town family events made for a slower start. As the summer progressed, numbers improved and so did the weather.

Considering that Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior is one of the only market-ready experiences in the National Marine Conservation Area, it was a pleasure to meet visitors from around North America and the world.

Our annual fundraiser in July was well attended with much help from businesses such as George’s Market and 99.9 FM. Many boaters also volunteered their time to help support the lighthouse.

Members from the Thunder Bay Yacht Club held their annual north shore regatta awards night on the island in August, providing a venue to boaters and sailors.

Porphyry Island, situated on the east side of Black Bay across from Silver Islet, played host to other groups who came for photo opportunities, environmental studies, geological research or to delve into exploring family history.

Many thanks to all our partners, such as Silver Islet Harbour Association, Thunder Bay Yacht Club, Canadian Coast Guard — Thunder Bay SAR Base, Lakehead Transportation Museum Society, Ontario Parks, Tourism Thunder Bay and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada. Without the support of these partnerships we would not have been able to flourish.

Canadian Lighthouses is also thankful for support from the Canada Summer Jobs program with MP Patty Hajdu’s Thunder Bay-Superior North office, Thunder Bay Community Foundation and the many donations we received from visitors, members and the general public.

Our summer staff, Abby Beatty and Annie Ross, were exceptional in hosting visitors and the new BOSS program.

As a collective approach, everyone brings something to the table. It’s through these actions we can continue to provide an avenue and outlet for our region, province and country to share in the history. Volunteers, board of directors and members all make their contribution providing time, resources, knowledge and finance.

Next season will see some more changes with expanded services and in 2023 Porphyry Island will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. Celebrations are planned.

During the winter months, Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior will be providing a speakers series on lighthouse history in the area. There will also be our annual fundraising dinner in the early spring and applications will be open for host keeper, artist in resident or a summer student in late February or early March.

It is with thanks that I acknowledge the opportunity provided by The Chronicle-Journal to share the stories from Porphyry this summer.

Now that the light station is wrapped up for the season, I can change gears and prepare for next year, until then enjoy your winter.

Paul Morralee is the managing director of the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior. He shared stories from Point Porphyry Island Light Station throughout the summer.