Although the hazardous nature of the east shore of the Bruce Peninsula was well known (and emphasized in the public mind at least by the occasional shipwreck), it was not alarming enough to prompt government action.
Except for a small light at Lion’s Head village, no beacon marked the coast all the way from Cove Island, in the entrance to Georgian Bay, to Griffith Island, lying off the mouth of Colpoys Bay, a distance of sixty miles. By the 1890s, however, the volume of steamer traffic passing Cabot Head to and from the ports of Owen Sound, Collingwood, and Midland had increased to such an extent that the necessity for a major improvement was conceded. In July, 1895, the Department of Marine and Fisheries called for tenders for the construction of a light and fog-alarm station at Cabot Head. The main building consisted of a wooden dwelling house and light tower combined, painted white.
The fog-alarm plant was constructed on the shore below and east of the light. The lantern atop the tower contained several parabolic metallic reflectors utilizing light produced by kerosene lamps. Manufactured by the Chanteloup Company, of Montreal, this “catoptric” apparatus was fixed to a rotating frame which, driven by a clockwork mechanism, cast a beam of
white light, with three flashes twenty seconds apart, then an eclipse of forty seconds.
The fog-alarm consisted of a steam powered horn, the boilers and machinery for which were manufactured by Canier, Laine & Company, of Levis, Quebec.