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Fisgard Lighthouse and Dwelling

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/08/28

General view of lighthouse and dwelling; J. Mattie, NHSD-HSB, Parks, 1997
Fisgard Lighthouse
Detail of Fisgard Lighthouse, showing pointed corbelling below lantern platform, and position of Gothic window in north side, 1997.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, J. Mattie, 1997.
Detail of Fisgard Lighthouse
View of the back side of Fisgard lighstation during the Second World War, showing buoys holding up the submarine net. The balcony above the back door is visible on the left side of the image .; PAC, DND, RCN E-3194
Figard lighstation during the Second World War

Other Name(s)

Fisgard Lighthouse and Dwelling
Fisgard Lighthouse and Keeper’s Dwelling
Phare et résidence du gardien de Fisgard

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/07/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Fisgard Lighthouse and Dwelling at Fort Rodd Hill is a tall, slightly tapering round shaft supporting a multi-facetted lantern which is built into a rectangular two-storey gabled-roofed dwelling. The 56 foot high tower has a projecting lantern platform with brick corbelling below. Built on Fisguard Island the tower and the dwelling are the defining feature of the narrow entrance into Esquimalt Harbour. The tower is the most prominent navigational landmark for vessels passing in the adjacent strait of Juan de Fuca. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Fisgard Lighthouse And Dwelling is a Classified Federal Heritage building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
The Fisgard Lighthouse and Dwelling is one of the best examples of the establishment of permanent coastal navigational aids along the British Columbia coast. It is also associated with the theme of safe shipping in the Strait of Juan de Fuca during the early developmental stages of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. The tower is the oldest and the first pre-Confederation lighthouse on the west coast.

Architectural Value:
The Fisgard Lighthouse and Dwelling is an excellent example of an early cylindrical type lighthouse. Although its basic form and massing are typical, it is characterized by clean elegant lines and is finely proportioned. The round and smoothly tapered brick tower has an elegant profile. Gothic Revival influences are seen in the pointed-arch windows and brick corbelling below the lantern platform. Inside the tower, the cast iron stairway is of aesthetic note, partly due to its open geometric pattern. The simple massing and footprint, and the clear delineation of two separate forms reflect the dual functional purpose of the structure. The integrated Keeper’s Dwelling complements the tower and creates a well-scaled design of simply detailed brick construction. Granite is used for the lighttower base and the upper cap supporting the lantern.

Environmental Value:
The picturesque lighthouse tower and reinforce the maritime coastal setting of Fisgard Island and Esquimalt Harbour. Standing sentinel on the rocky island outcrop at the harbour entrance its tall, white tapered profile dominates the immediate maritime landscape. It is well known to both the local and the greater shipping community.

Joan Mattie, Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites (29 buildings), 603 Fort Rodd Hill Road, Colwood, British Columbia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 96-096;Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site and Keeper’s Dwelling, Fisgard Island, Colwood, British Columbia, Heritage Character Statement 96-096.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Fisgard Lighthouse and Keepers Dwelling. should be respected.

Its role as an illustration of the establishment of the navigation system and the provision of aid to navigation along the B.C. Coast.

Its standard design and good quality materials and craftsmanship as evidenced in:
-the building’s form and massing which consist of a tall slightly tapered round tower lantern platform, lantern and light with attached two-storey rectangular dwelling;
-the building’s sturdy construction of brick and stucco covered brick;
-the buildings clean lines and subtle ornamentation such as the gothic windows and the corbelling below the lantern platform;
-its colour and picturesque silhouette.

The manner in which the building reinforces the picturesque, maritime coastal setting of the Fisgard Island Light Station and its associated seascape through its dramatic setting.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type


Navigational Aid or Lighthouse


Architect / Designer

Joseph Pemberton and John Wright



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada

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General view

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada

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