Parks Canada signed an agreement with Huron Township in 1987 that allowed the community to set up a museum in the keeper’s dwelling. Gwen Harrison was hired and given a budget of $50,000 to establish the museum, and the site was opened to the public on June 18, 1988. Deteriorated stone on the face of the tower was determined to be a safety hazard in 2010, forcing the closure of the lighthouse.
In 2011, a $622,000 contract was awarded for the restoration of Point Clark Lighthouse National Historic Site. On announcing the action, Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, said “Last year, Parks Canada developed a plan to restore the Point Clark Lighthouse and reopen it to visitors. Today I am pleased to announce that the Government of Canada is contributing to preservation of this regional icon of marine heritage.”
The work, which was to include complete repair and refinishing of the tower’s stone exterior, repairs and repainting of the glazed lantern and metal roof, and some interior and below-ground repairs, was contracted to Heritage Restoration Inc. of Uxbridge, Ontario. Once restoration worked started and the exterior surface treatment was sandblasted away, it was discovered that the tower had four significant cracks, not just the one known vertical crack. In addition, after the joints of the tower were raked in preparation for rejointing, it was found that the original mortar behind a two-inch-thick modern layer had no supporting strength. Given these unexpected issues, work on the tower stopped, as moisture had penetrated the rubblestone core of the tower through the top eight courses of stones, prompting the contractor’s engineer to recommend the removal of the lantern room so more effective repairs could be made.
On September 10, 2013, the government announced that a contract of up to $1.7 million had been awarded to Toronto-based Limen Group Construction Limited to complete the restoration. Work on the tower was wrapped up during the fall/winter of 2014.
In June of 2015, the Point Clark Lighthouse was open to the public again. Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb, Mayor Mitchell Twolan of Huron-Kinloss Township and staff from Park Canada reopened the lighthouse after 6 years of repair work.
Ben Lobb indicated that in 2009 the lighthouse was deemed structurally unsafe because some of the limestone rocks which were used to build the lighthouse had deteriorated over the years. As work progressed on the lighthouse, contractors discovered more problems and deterioration than the original scope of work in the initial engineering studies had predicted and the contracts for restoration had to be renegotiated for extra work that had been discovered. The total cost for the restoration was 3.7-million-dollars.
Visitors can now climb up to the top of the Port Clark Lighthouse for a magnificent view of Lake Huron.