image open today
  • Monday, October 11
  • Thursday, November 11


Monday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1 PM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1 PM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday 10 Am - 12 PM & 1 PM - 4:30 PM
Thursday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1 PM - 4:30 PM
Friday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1 PM - 4:30 PM
Saturday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1 PM - 4:30 PM
Sunday Closed

Archives & Research Room

Monday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1:30PM - 4 PM
Tuesday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1:30PM - 4 PM
Wednesday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1:30 PM - 4 PM
Thursday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1:30PM - 4 PM
Friday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1:30PM - 4 PM
Saturday 10 AM - 12 PM & 1:30PM - 4 PM
Sunday Closed

General Admission

Individual $8.00 + HST
Children (4-12) $4.00 + HST
Student $6.00 + HST
Senior $6.00 + HST
Archives $6.00 + HST
Children (3 & under) FREE

Membership & Passes

Enjoy the many benefits of Membership. Not only will you receive FREE admission for a whole year, but so much more!


                            Fees & DiscountsJoin Today

Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre​

33 Victoria Street North (in the town of Saugeen Shores)
Southampton, ON Canada N0H 2L0

Toll Free: 1-866-318-8889 | Phone: 519-797-2080 | Fax 519-797-2191

Get Involved


Our success is made possible, in part, by the support we receive through our strong relationships with you, our donors. Your generosity ensures that we will continue to inspire, educate and remain the premier destination of choice for exploring our history.


Volunteers are the building blocks of our Museum. All our activities and programs depend on the assistance of dedicated volunteers.

Early Lifesaving

Home | Stories & Artefacts | Early Lifesaving

If you wish to use or purchase any of these images, please contact

Plying the waters of Bruce’s shores have always posed many dangers and the vast amount of shipwrecks stand as a testament to that fact.  Tragedies, such as the sinking of the Saucy Jack at Southampton in 1851 resulted not only in the loss of lives, but also supplies needed for settlers to survive through the winter.  As early as 1859, the village of Southampton requested a lifeboat from the government for lifesaving efforts.  Unfortunately, the Dominion of Canada didn’t begin establishing a Life-Saving Service until the early 1880s.  Prior to government life-saving stations, it was often the heroic efforts of lighthouse keepers and ships’ crews that kept disasters from becoming all-out tragedies.

In October of 1876, off the coast of Michigan, Captain John Spence and the crew of the Nemesis rescued the shipwrecked crew of the propeller New York. The Nemesis had to circle the New York’s crew, who were in a lifeboat, twelve times during a large storm, and managed to save all but one of the crew members, while at the same time losing most of their own cargo. For their efforts, the crew were awarded medals, and Captain Spence received a silver tea set from the village of Southampton.

Captain William McGregor Lambert, lightkeeper of Chantry Island between 1880 and 1907, is credited with saving many lives over his 27 years of service.  In particular, he was awarded a medal for bravery by the Canadian Humane Association for his efforts in rescuing the crew of the Cavalier, which wrecked at Southampton August of 1906.

Finally, after years of petitioning the government, Southampton received the funds to create a life-saving station in 1907 and it was completed in 1908.  Originally located at the lakeshore, just north of what now is the foot of Palmerston St., the station was moved in 1918 to the end of the Long Dock, where the lifeboat could be dropped into the water in bad weather, around 100ft from the shore.  Throughout its time, the lifesaving station in Southampton was kept busy.  The station was closed in 1937.

To explore lifesaving related items in the online collection Click Here

Share this:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest


One of the earliest permanent settlers, and one of the most week-known, in the Bruce was Captain John Spence. Captain Spence was born in