Friends of the Toronto Islands

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Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

Gibraltar LighthouseHistory

The lighthouse at Gibraltar Point is the city's earliest landmark and one of the oldest surviving buildings in Toronto.  Built around 1808 the lighthouse originally operated as a fixed white light by burning sperm whale oil.  From 1863 coal oil was used, and in 1872 a revolving mechanism was installed so that the light rotated once every minute and 48 seconds.  Electric lighting was first used around 1916, and the current lighting system was installed in 1945. 

The lighthouse was originally built at the water's edge but over time sand has built up so that it now stands some distance inland.  In 1958 the building was transferred to the city's parks department and no longer operates as a lighthouse.  For more information on the history of the lighthouse check out the City of Toronto's website.

The Haunted Lighthouse

Local legend has it that the Gibraltar Point lighthouse is haunted.  In 1815 the first keeper, J.P. Radan Muller was murdered.  The usual tale told is that Muller was murdered by either two or three soldiers from the Fort at York. They evidently called on him late in the evening and asked him to produce his beer keg. This he did, but when he saw his friends were having more than was good for them, he refused a further supply. The refusal ended in a fight and the fight ended in the death of Muller.

Muller was buried west of the lighthouse near the lagoon and many believe that his ghost haunts the lighthouse to this day.  Some have reported that the sound of moaning can be heard on misty nights and others claim to have seen an apparition wandering the grounds that is believed to be Radan Muller's ghost.

The Lighthouse Today

Although no longer operating as a lighthouse and locked, the building is occasionally opened to the public to have a look inside.  Keep an eye on our website for upcoming Lighthouse events.