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

Salmon Arm homes with dazzling Christmas light displays are wanted for the inaugural Light Up the Night Christmas Light Contest. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Festive contest encourages Salmon Arm to light up the night

Prizes to be won for homes with best Christmas displays

Damage to window panes at the downtown Salmon Arm Askew’s location could still be seen on Dec. 4. It was apparently caused by a pellet gun overnight on Dec. 2. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Windows damaged by pellet gun at both Salmon Arm Askew’s locations

Window panes were shot multiple times overnight on Dec. 2.

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Vote Vernon initiative, presented by VantageOne Credit Union, calls on residents to shop local this Christmas season. (Black Press file)
Small businesses hurt by federal COVID-19 response: North Okanagan-Shuswap MP

Mel Arnold calls for more accessible programming for businesses; supports local holiday shopping

Shuswap Cider Company has applied for a licence that would accommodate a cider manufacturing facility, a tasting room and patio/lounge area at Westgate Market in Salmon Arm. (File photo)
Cider manufacturing facilty, tasting room and patio proposed for Salmon Arm

Council asked to raise a virtual glass to a licence for a cidery and amenities in Westgate Mall

Interior Health logo. (File photo)
Flooding at health centre cancels lab and medical appointments in Sicamous

A burst pipe caused the flooding which has not affected physician services

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of paymens for household incomes up to $175,000

Numerous businesses, including the Roxie movie theater, have closed to try and stop spread of COVID-19. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke COVID-19 cases tick slowly up to 49

An increase of only three cases since Nov. 30

KIJHL games have been postponed through Dec. 31. (File photo)
KIJHL postpones all games through end of 2020

Due to provincial health orders, games up to Dec. 31 have been pushed back

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster kids

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

The Grinch was stolen Wednesday and returned sometime in the night on Friday. (Hughes photo - Facebook)
The Grinch has been returned to Penticton home

“I guess someone’s heart grew three times that night” says April Hughes

An Armstrong resident shared video of a beaver gnawing away on a stick to Facebook Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Robyn Civic Adnoh photo)
WATCH: Beaver gnaws away in Armstrong wetlands

A resident captured video of a beaver chewing happily in a local creek Friday

Two Kelowna flights have been flagged as having COVID-19 cases on board. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 cases on several Kelowna flights

The flights were on Nov. 19, 22, 24 and 27, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control

Most Read