Lyal Island Lightkeepers

Lyal (Big) Island light house was built in 1885 and the lightkeeper was John McKay. After thirty-seven years as a faithful and effecient keeper of the lights, he was awarded the Imperial Long Service Medal in 1922 when it was pinned on his breast by James Malcolm, M.P. Mr. McKay had undergone many hardships in his long and lonely vigil since he was appointed in 1985. Besides this medal, he was the possesor of President Clevaland’s Gold Medal, preseted to him for assisting in saving the lives of the crew of the merican vessel the “Iowa”, which had been wter-logged and adrift for a week. This was in 1886. Lyal Island is in Lake Huron, off Stokes Bay and is known as “Big Island”.
After his return from serving in the Canadian Army, Walter Knight was appointed lightkeeper of Lyal Island where he served for twenty-seven years 1922-49. For his long and faithful service he received from His Majesty, King George VI a medal and citation.
After the retirement of Walter Knight the following served at Lyal Island Light.

John C. Stewart from July 10th, 1946 to 1949.
Wilbert Kelly Burley from September 1st, 1949 to April 14th, 1951.
Alonzo Burley from April 15th, 1951 to 1956.
Alonzo Burley trabsferred to Kincardine October 16th, 1956.
John Thomas Adams from October 16th, 1956 to April 1st, 1959.
J.T. Adams transferred to Lonely Island April 1st, 1959.
Lyal Island became an automatic light and unwatched.
McIver Burley then became the caretaker until his death in 1971.

On eligible list for lightkeepers were: H.O. Tout, Kincardine; A.L. Wardrop, R.R.1 Miller Lake; Don Graham, Tobermory; Malcolm McDonald, Stokes Bay; Malcolm Smith, stokes Bay.

Page 60 - 61 of Old Timers’ Tales
A History of Stokes Bay and Area
(Bruce Peninsula)
By Helene Scott