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Visiting the Inner Light, Prescott, Ontario: overlooking a marina on the St. Lawrence

Updated on February 2, 2013
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Prescott, Ontario
Prescott, Ontario | Source
Map location of Leeds and Grenville United Counties, Ontario
Map location of Leeds and Grenville United Counties, Ontario | Source

An historic and picturesque harbour area

This striking lighthouse at Prescott (1), Ontario, is known as the Inner Light, to distinguish it from another lighthouse known as the Outer Light. More formally, it is the G. Judson Newell Memorial Inner Light.

The Inner Light, which also houses a visitor centre, provides light to the adjacent harbour and marina, and was provided in 1989 by the Rotary Club of Prescott, with which G. Judson Newell, for whom it is named, was associated. Its lantern room contains a Fresnel lens supplied by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) - Garde côtière canadienne (GCC) . The Outer Light shines across the St, Lawrence Seaway. The structure is 12.2 metres tall.

The harbour at Prescott, with its deep water facility, was once the largest between Montreal and Toronto. As such, Prescott took on a strategic importance in Canadian history. While in terms of commercial traffic, Prescott's harbour has been somewhat eclipsed by other port facilities on the St Lawrence, its marina remains a popular tourist attraction. This facility, with its 148 berths, is known more formally as the Sandra S. Lawn Harbour and Marina (2).

As well as with sailing enthusiasts, Prescott is also popular with surfers and scuba divers, some of whom search for various recorded shipwrecks in this area of the St. Lawrence.

An amphitheatre near the marina hosts the St Lawrence Shakespeare Festival during some of the summer months.

Visitors should bear in mind that some of the facilities at the Harbour are seasonal in availability (3).

Prescott is located in in Leeds and Grenville United Counties, Ontario. The Inner Light and Visitor Centre is situated on Water Street.

February 2, 2013


(1) Prescott was named for Governor-in-Chief of British North America Robert Prescott, who served between 1796 and 1799.

(2) Named for a former Mayor of Prescott, Sandra S. Lawn, who served in that capacity from 1976 to 1991, and a leading promoter of the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. Canadians may recall that, in 1984, Prime Minister of Canada the Rt. Hon. John N. Turner requested that HM The Queen delay a scheduled trip to Canada until after a Federal election, which resulted in Mr Turner being replaced in his office by the Rt.Hon. Brian Mulroney; later in 1984, Mayor Lawn subsequently hosted a visit to Prescott by The Queen.

(3) The Harbour authority may be contacted at .

Also worth seeing

In Prescott itself, Fort Wellington National Historic Site of Canada attracts many visitors, as 19th century fortifications which give a reminder of warlike conditions on the St Lawrence in the early to mid-19th century.

Ogdensburg , New York (distance — by road —: 15.5 kilometres), also on the St Lawrence, its visitor attractions include the Frederic Remington Art Museum, and the Fort de la Présentation site at Lighthouse Point.


How to get there: Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, Ottawa is the nearest large airport to Prescott (distance: 84.1 kilometres). Car rental is available from Ottawa Airport. VIARail maintains a service to Brockville , 20 kilometres from Prescott . Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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