The Friends of Cabot Head, a not-for-profit organization, was formed by a group of concerned area citizens to take over the restoration, maintenance and management of Historic Cabot Head Lightstation. Agreements were made with the Canadian Coast Guard and then Lindsey Township and now the municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula, and in the period from 1994-1996, major renovation work was done on the Lighthouse using limited grant money and volunteer labour and expertise.
Get to know your Board of Directors below. Learn how long they have been a part of the Lighthouse and what their hopes are for our beautiful heritage site in the future. Also learn what they like to do in their spare time when they aren't volunteering endless hours to Cabot Head.
Helen Fry – Chair
I first visited Cabot Head Light-station less than 10 years ago, and it was love at first sight! I have always been drawn to locations near water and love visiting the Bruce Peninsula for its varied shoreline.
I joined the Board about 5 years ago serving at large and then as Secretary before becoming Chair in April 2015.
My hope for The Friends Of Cabot Head is to keep the Mission Statement alive. A simple enough statement, but the concept is broad-reaching. As a former high school special education specialist, and with a background in history and archaeology, I am especially interested in the upkeep of the Light-station as an educational resource. For it to be able to tell its history, and that of the local area, and, as well, the story of the unique biosphere in which it resides, Cabot Head also has to operate successfully as tourist attraction in season, because that is FOCH's "bread and butter", the visitor donations being the main means to ensure public access to the resource continues.
I would hope that in the future we can continue to re-engage the next generation local population to embrace this historical site as an integral part not only of their history, but of the local economy too.
In my spare time I enjoy painting and mixed media creative pursuits, reading, a little gardening, singing, and I'm a big fan of live theatre, jazz and many other genres of music festivals and concerts.
Ina Toxopeus – Past Chair/Treasurer
I first came in contact with Cabot Head light in the early 80s when Brent Skippen was the official government light keeper. I often visited the lighthouse once or twice during the summer season for a day trip. In 1992/93 I was with the group that sat on the road in order to draw attention to the issue of privatization of the light and thus closing the site to the general public.
I have been on the Board of The Friends of Cabot Head since it's inception in 1994 as a Not-for-Profit Corporation. I have held the posts of Treasurer, Vice-Chair, Chair, Membership and Board member at large, at one point in time, with Chair and Vice Chair more than twice.
My hopes for the light have not changed since the 1990s when I joined the board. I want to see the site kept open and accessible to the public, especially the boaters using Wingfield Basin. I want restore the lighthouse and hopefully the other buildings and grounds to reflect a working lighthouse. I also want to develop programs and activities to educate the public about the history and importance of lighthouses in general including safe boating etiquette as well as the rich human history of the area and its geological and ecological significances.
Other hobbies and interests are many and varied! However, major limitations arise when brain and body parts have strong disagreements over type and level of exertion needed in the chosen activity.
One of my main interests is education and sharing my love of the sea and history with others.
Diane Huber - Secretary
My Dad (retired CCG) tells me that we visited Cabot Head a number of times when I was a kid but it was only two years ago that I really appreciated the charm of the site. This was during a visit made so that I could take photos to encourage the DFO to consider some work at the site. The enthusiasm of the young woman working at the site that summer was inspiring. I have been a Board Member for one year.
I believe that the Cabot Head Lightstation is sustainable as a heritage tourism and educational site. The site works as a reflective, restorative and passive recreational area. This is an accessible but remote site that doesn’t need to be developed beyond maintaining the existing structures and enhancing the educational components of the site. Providing visitors with the opportunity to climb a lighthouse and to imagine the life of a lightkeeper contributes greatly to the story of the significance of the Bruce County coastline during the past 150 years.
When I am not helping maintain Cabot Head’s history, I am a volunteer crew member and guide for the Chantry Island Lighthouse tour program that operates from the Southampton Harbour. For almost ten years I have been able to work with a Marine Construction company that does facilitates repairs, remediation and restoration of lighthouse sites in the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay. Recent contracts involved lead paint remediation and soil clean ups at the Cove Island, Killarney and Gereaux Island Lighthouse sites.
Pat Barton – Member at Large
I first came across Cabot Head hiking the Bruce Trail in the 1970s. I joined the board approximately 5 years ago. My hopes for Cabot Head are to continue to develop the museum and property true to its working life beginning in 1896. Attract more members for FOCH and develop some fund raising strategies. Some of my other hobbies include; choral music, hiking, gardening, x-country skiing, volunteering at Royal Botanical Gardens and for Bruce Trail.
Sue Ratcliffe – Member at Large
In 2005 or early 2006, I came across a small article about the ALK program in the Guelph Mercury - I showed it to my friend and we thought we would like to apply. Our first stay was in Oct. 2006. After acting as ALK for a few years I became part of the board in Spring 2015.
I hope that the ALK program can continue to attract enough people who love or come to love this special place. I hope that we can make the conditions to allow us to apply for government grants. I hope we can get more money from our visitors. I hope we can have some kind of celebratory festival at the site once per year. I hope we can develop intelligent and thoughtful uses of the site that would be sustainable.
I am a dedicated and probably very mouthy heritage advocate. I have been a tour guide for Guelph for 27 years and enjoy sharing the heritage of my city with visitors and residents alike. I also enjoy reading and work to share my love of Canadian authors through the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. I also like to travel on my own through adventures with groups like Outward Bound and Earthwatch.
Scott Parent - Member at Large
Info Coming Soon.