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Fisgard Lighthouse (HDR)

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The first lighthouse on Canada's west coast is still in operation! There hasn't been a keeper here since the light was automated in 1929, but every year many thousands of visitors step inside a real l9th century light, and capture some of the feeling of ships wrecked and lives saved.


Built by the British in 1860, when Vancouver Island was not yet part of Canada, Fisgard's red brick house and white tower has stood faithfully at the entrance to Esquimalt harbour. Once a beacon for the British Royal Navy's Pacific Squadron, today Fisgard still marks home base for the Royal Canadian Navy.


Inside the building are two floors of exhibits, dealing with shipwrecks, storms, far- flung lights, and the everyday working equipment of the light keeper a century ago. Right next to the tower stirs on the second floor, a specially-made video evokes the loneliness and isolation that was the lot of the l9th century keeper.


The waterfront sites at Fisgard Lighthouse and Fort Rodd Hill are extremely photogenic, especially with the scenic backdrop of the Olympic Mountains in neighbouring Washington state.


The Strait of Juan de Fuca almost always offers a wide variety of ships, from small sailing vessels, to enormous cargo ships, and the proximity of the Canadian Navy base means that military craft of several nations are often seen at close range.


Wildlife at the sites includes Columbian black-tailed deer, river otters, mink, raccoons, harbour seals, and sea lions.






© 2010 Brandon Godfrey


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Uploaded on March 18, 2010