The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, built in 1808, is the oldest landmark in Toronto as well as one of the earliest lighthouses built on the Great Lakes. Originally, sperm whale oil and later coal were used to light the lantern and guide ships through York Harbour, but today the lighthouse is no longer in operation. It eventually got replaced by a fully automated, electric tower and the historical grey stone building with the bright red door and railings is now only occasionally opened to the public during special events. As the island has grown and evolved over the centuries, the lighthouse moved further away from the water and now, it stands in a quiet meadow surrounded by a thicket of trees.
Local legends portray the hexagonal lighthouse as being haunted, blurring the line between facts and myth, and most locals have heard some camp fire stories or other about the events having seemingly transpired here. Apparently, the first lighthouse keeper who watched over the mighty beacon, John Paul Radelmüller, was murdered by two drunken soldiers from Fort York in search of bootlegged beer, chopped up and buried around his lighthouse. Some claim that the vengeful ghost of Radelmüller can be seen wandering the grounds and strange lights have been reported when there should have been none.
The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is located on Centre Island of the Toronto Islands and can be reached by taking the ferry across from the Mainland Ferry Docks to either Centre Island, Ward’s Island or Hanlan’s Point. From these ferry stations, it’s a further 1-2 kilometer walk to the lighthouse.