Case Study: Cape Forchu Lighthouse

About the Site

The Cape Forchu Lighthouse has guided vessels safely into Yarmouth Harbour since 1840 when the first lighthouse was opened.

The current one, built in 1962, now houses a museum, gift shop and restaurant with a surrounding park featuring a picnic area and walking paths.

In 2013 it was named Canada’s Best Public Space by Great Places Canada, a competition sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Planners. It is Nova Scotia’s only intact light station that is open to the public.

Case Study

2015 THIS LIGHTHOUSE MATTERS Crowdfunding Competition

How one lighthouse stood out in a crowd.

The Challenge

The Friends of the Yarmouth Light Society were able to secure the original lens that had been in use in the lighthouse from 1908 to 1962. They wanted to restore and re-assemble it as an interactive display that would give visitors a great opportunity to experience life as a lightkeeper. To raise the money needed, they competed in the National Trust’s 2015 This Lighthouse Matters crowdfunding competition which supported Nova Scotia communities who were working to save their lighthouses. But how does one lighthouse stand out in a crowd of 25 lighthouses that also have great stories to tell and projects to fund?

The Approach

In all the resource materials The National Trust prepared to support lighthouses in the competition, they stressed the power of using photos and videos to tell a story. So, the Friends of the Yarmouth Light Society enlisted a young filmmaker to produce a video for their crowdfunding page.

The result was one of the best videos in the competition. It was lighthearted and fun, it told the story of the lighthouse, introduced the people who worked there, explained the impact the project would have, and concluded with a great call to action. It was narrated by their summer student who collaborated with the filmaker and its youthful approach was refreshing and appealing.


Cape Forchu Lighthouse won 3rd prize in their category in the This Lighthouse Matters crowdfunding competition – $25,000. They were also one of only a few lighthouses to reach their crowdfunding goal of $10,000.

The light has been installed as an interactive display in the lighthouse and is drawing old and new visitors alike.

The video they produced for the competition has been used by the National Trust as a great “how to” example.

When the project was completed in 2017, the group put their new knowledge to work and produced a “thank you” video for all their supporters.

Lessons Learned

01. Use video.

Videos are a powerful tool when you need to grab people’s attention and focus them on your story.

02. Reach out.

People in your organization may not be familiar with the technology needed to produce a video or the social media platforms to promote it, but young people in your community are. Reach out to them for help.

03. Engage youth.

In the heritage world we are trying to interest youth in becoming involved in our organizations. Learning how to use social media and new technologies effectively is a great way to do that. Youth bring a fresh perspective that can really help you take advantage of these new communications tools.