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Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse:

The National Historic Site housing Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse is conveniently located just 14 km from downtown Victoria on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Built by the British in the 1890’s it was used as a coast artillery fort to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base. The British Empire originally used this area as part of a worldwide chain defending their empire and eventually becoming an overseer of the Pacific west coast for Canada’s security and sovereignty.

The Fisgard Lighthouse located on the grounds of Fort Rodd Hill was the first permanent lighthouse in the country’s west coast and has been in continuous operation since 1860. Numerous fascinating artifacts, exhibits and displays can be seen in what was once the lighthouse keeper’s residence. Visitors can even spot large numbers of seals and even the odd sea lion from this vantage point.

The grounds and structures of Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse have been perfectly preserved and is one of the most extensive examples of original structures requiring only nominal restoration. There is plenty to see at this historic site including command posts, barracks, guardhouses, gun batteries, searchlight emplacements and underground magazines. Visitors can spend the day immersed in the exciting pages of history then relax on the grounds with their home-brought family picnic. Whether you picnic under the shade of the trees on the main field, inside the sites or at one of the three available beaches, it is certain to be a day of exploration and fun. Kids of all ages will delight in exploring the many tide pools while parents take in the breathtaking views of the nearby sea and mountains. The scenic snow capped Olympic Mountains of nearby Washington State makes for the perfect backdrop for novice and avid photographers alike.

Gazing out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca one can marvel at the wide array of small sailing vessels as well as massive cargo ships. With the Canadian Navy base so close by, visitors are often treated to military craft belonging to a number of different nations at extremely close range. The grounds are also frequented by local bird watchers to view an array of meadow and pelagic birds such as blue herons, bald eagles, eider and harlequin ducks as well as a wide variety of small songbirds.

Although there has not been an actual lighthouse keeper since Fisgard’s 1929 automation, thousands of curious visitors each year still come to experience this exciting part of Canada’s fascinating history. The Royal Canadian Navy still makes Fisgard their home base. The exhibits on two floors of the lighthouse depict the many storms and shipwrecks that occurred over the years. One can also see the actual equipment that is still in working condition and was used by the light keeper more than a century ago. Visitors can get a glimpse of the isolation and loneliness that made up the life typical of the period light keeper from watching the specially made video next to the tower stairs on the second floor.

Numerous special events are held at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse annually such as the Historic Military Encampment in May, the July 1st Canada Day Celebrations and the Old English Car Show in September.

For more information about Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse you can contact the National Historic Sites of Canada via e-mail at fort.rodd@pc.gc.ca or directly by phone at (250) 478-5849.