Rendezvous at Porphyry Island, A Celebration of Lighthouse History

The Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior will celebrate their restoration efforts of the Porphyry Island Lighthouse with a rendezvous event this summer.

Rendezvous is a familiar term associated with Thunder Bay and its history, dating back to the early days of the fur trade when the Great Rendezvous at Fort William was the event of the year. Voyageurs, after a year of trapping and hunting to the west, would assemble at the fort to trade their pelts for supplies brought by their counterparts from Montreal in the east. The Rendezvous was a time for business, but also a time of great celebration.

It is in that spirit that Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior are holding their “Porphyry Island Pan Superior Rendezvous” this August at the Point Porphyry Lighthouse. The dates are Saturday August 13 and Sunday August 14.

The Lighthouse is located on Porphyry Island, 45 km east of Thunder Bay at the end of the Black Bay peninsula on Lake Superior. It was built in 1873 and has helped guide ships to or from the Lakehead ever since. 

After the lighthouse was automated around 1989, the residence fell into disrepair, and the trails became overgrown.  

Over the past two summers, the non-profit group has worked to restore the lighthouse residence and grounds.  All that hard work will be showcased this August 13 and 14 during the Rendezvous celebration.  Group tours of the main station will be offered. 

There will be games for the entire family and additional activities will include hiking on the island’s trails with opportunities to view rare plant life and do some birdwatching or rockhounding.  Following a potluck supper of sausages, hot dogs and pop, there will be a bonfire.  

While admission for the Rendezvous activities is free, visitors to the island can pay a fee to camp overnight or rent accommodations in the residence.  Camping on Porphyry Island or accommodations in the lighthouse is also available throughout the summer. 

Although the island is accessible only by boat, you don’t need to have one to get there.  Four charter companies in Thunder Bay can be hired to get you there.  Archie’s Fishing Charters and Sail Superior Big Lake Adventures can get you there by boat or, if you want to get there faster, book transportation through a helicopter ride with Wisk Air or land on a float plane with Wilderness North Air.

For more information about the Rendezvous and the Point Porphyry Lighthouse, including rates, visit the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior website.

About Richard Boon

Richard Boon is a Thunder Bay native who spends much of his spare time hiking and doing nature photography.  He is a past member and hike leader with the Thunder Bay Hiking Association and a former broadcaster..

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