Cape Spear, located south of St. John's on the island of Newfoundland, is the easternmost point of North America. Cape Spear creates the southeastern tip of St. John's Bay, seperating it from the Atlantic Ocean.
A lighthouse was commissioned by the Newfoundland legislature in 1832, and a site was chosen on Cape Spear which was within sight of the original St. John's lighthouse at Fort Amherst. The Cape Spear Lighthouse was completed in 1836; a two-story structure with the tower located directly in the center. The first lightkeeper was Emmanuel Warre. In 1845, James Cantwell was appointed lightkeeper, and a member of the Cantwell family has been in charge of the light ever since. A foghorn was added to the light in 1876 to further aid navigation during inclement weather. In 1955, this lighthouse was decommissioned in favor of an unmanned facility located farther inland.
During World War II, the Canadian government acquired two ten-inch artillery guns from Fort Mott, New Jersey, and placed them on opposite sides of the cape in order to protect St. John's harbor. Some barracks were erected near the lighthouse to house those stationed there, but these buildings have since been demolished. The army also built a tunnel connecting the two battery sites, which still exists, but is closed to the public.
Today, Cape Spear is a part of the Parks Canada system, and is open year round. The lighthouse, now the oldest remaining in Newfoundland, has been restored to the condition it was in at 1840, and is open to visitors from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, May 15 to October 15. Whale watching tours depart from the park daily, and there are also several hiking trails. While getting into the park is free, entrance to the lighthouse is $3.50 for adults, $3.00 for seniors, and $1.75 for those under 16, or $8.75 for families of up to seven.