Fisgard Lighthouse celebrates its 160th birthday on Nov. 16. (Photo courtesy of Parks Canada)

Fisgard Lighthouse celebrates its 160th birthday on Nov. 16. (Photo courtesy of Parks Canada)

Famed Vancouver Island landmark lighthouse celebrates 160 years

Celebrations abound online for 2020 party

This bonne fete needs one heck of a cake and a whole lot of candles.

Fisgard Lighthouse, one of the centerpieces at Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites in Colwood, celebrated its 160th birthday Monday (Nov. 16).

Completed in 1860, Fisgard Lighthouse is the oldest of its kind on the West Coast, said Michelle Holmes, site and visitor experience manager.

“It’s significant because it helped support growth, trade and settlement in Victoria by making the waters safe and protecting the entrance to Esquimalt Harbour,” Holmes explained. It was named after HMS Fisgard, a Royal Navy ship that served in the Pacific. It was built partially in response to the gold rush of the 1850s.

The first lighthouse keeper was William Bevis, who served from 1861 to 1879. His wife, Amelia, and niece, Mary, took over after Bevis died. While it was recommended they continue as they had been assisting Bevis for 20 years, women were not allowed to be lighthouse keepers at that time. Holmes said the widow and niece served for nine months before a “suitable” replacement could be found. Amelia and Mary were believed to be the first female lighthouse keepers in Canada.

READ MORE: Sun and smiles at Fisgard Lighthouse in Colwood (photos)

Keepers remained until 1928 when the lantern was automated. Steel shutters were added to the lantern room because the percussion from Fort Rodd Hill’s twin-barrelled six-pounder guns kept breaking the glass. Torpedo netting connected Fisgard Island to the shore until the causeway was completed in the 1950s.

Images of the iconic lighthouse can be found throughout Victoria, whether in a doctor’s office or part of a mural, Holmes noted. “It’s part of our local identity.”

It’s also the most visible navigation landmark for boats sailing from the Juan de Fuca Strait to Esquimalt Harbour, and is well known to foreign vessels.

Although an in-person birthday celebration was not possible due to COVID-19, the site is holding an online celebration in the form of a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter at #Fisgard160 with fun facts and photos. People are encouraged to contribute by sharing their own photos and memories as well.

Visit twitter.com/FortRoddHill and facebook.com/FortRoddFisgardNHS to share photos and stories.

The site is open free of charge during the week, with COVID protocols in place. Visit ParksCanada.ca/FortRoddHill for information on admission on weekends and hours of operation.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazete.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Children run toward the Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site, which saw its 160th birthday marked on Nov. 16. (Photo courtesy of Parks Canada)

Children run toward the Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site, which saw its 160th birthday marked on Nov. 16. (Photo courtesy of Parks Canada)

Just Posted

Condemned building of the Twin Gables Motel in Crofton is not safe and yet a teen has been climbing around on the roof while others were ripping the siding off the building. (Photo submitted)
Destructive behaviour by teens wreaking havoc on Crofton

Residents becoming fed up with the constant vandalism and fires

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Bus link between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley expected by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in Regional District of Nanaimo budget

A drug bust on Government Street in Duncan on Tuesday, March 30, led to a “substantial seizure” according to the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP. (File photo)
OPINION: School police liaison programs help keep kids and community safe

School liaison programs help build trust between youth and police, Duck Paterson writes

After many years of hard work, the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary completed its expansion and earned a VIREB commercial building award in the process. (Submitted photo)
Ladysmith Thrift Store wins VIREB commercial building award for best renovation

The renovated space was unveiled on November 14, 2020

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
UPDATE: Black bear tranquillized, being relocated by conservation officers

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Indigenous leaders are calling for an investigation into the conduct of Mounties on Vancouver Island after two police shootings of members of a small First Nations community in three months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Indigenous leaders call for clarity, investigation into RCMP after B.C. shooting

The RCMP declined to comment on the requests by Indigenous leaders

Colleen Price, Vancouver Island University’s bachelor of science in nursing program chairperson, says she is impressed with how students have persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Next generation of B.C. nurses already showing resilience

University program head says learning had to be adjusted amidst pandemic

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old B.C. bike rider already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Most Read