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Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada

603 Fort Rodd Hill Road, Colwood, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1958/11/03

General view of Fisgard Lighthouse, showing its pointed windows, brick corbelling below the lantern platform, and arrow-shaped weathervane and lantern.; Ian Doull, Parks Canada Agency, 2010 / Ian Doull, Agence Parcs Canada, 2010
Detailed view
View of Fisgard Lighthouse, showing its massing comprising two simple forms, a cylindrical tower with attached rectangular house.; Ian Doull / Agence Parcs Canada, 2010 - Ian Doull / Parks Canada Agency, 2010
View of lighthouse
Interior view of Fisgard Lighthouse, showing the the quality and workmanship of original materials, particularly the original fabric cast iron staircase in the tower, and the interior brickwork.; Ian Doull, Parks Canada Agency, 2010  / Ian Doull, Agence Parcs Canada, 2010
Interior view

Other Name(s)

Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada
Fisgard Lighthouse
Phare de Fisgard

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1859/01/01 to 1860/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/06/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Fisgard Lighthouse and its light keeper’s residence comprises a two-storey residence with attached cylindrical light-tower, located on Fisgard Island on the east side of the entrance to Esquimault Harbour, just north of Juan de Fuca Strait.

Heritage Value

Fisgard Lighthouse was designated a national historic site in 1958 because it was the first permanent lighthouse on the Pacific Coast of Canada.

Fisgard Lighthouse was built in 1859-60 by the British and Colonial governments to mark the entrance to Esquimalt Harbour. It was designed by Joseph Pemberton and John Wright of Victoria, and built by John Wright and John J. Cochrane. It was in continuous operation until 1957 when a fire at the lighthouse temporarily halted its use as a navigational aid. Once repaired, it became a national historic site and has since been restored for public viewing. It remains in service as an aid to navigation.

The heritage value of Fisgard Lighthouse lies in the strategic location of the lighthouse, and the legibility and completeness of the tower, lantern and house as a landmark on their island site.

Sources : Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, 1958 Minutes; Commemorative Integrity Statement, November 1996.

Character-Defining Elements

Key features contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- the prominent location of the lighthouse at the entrance to Esquimalt harbour;
- its complex massing comprised of two simple forms, cylindrical tower and attached rectangular house;
- the tapered proportions of the 17,06 metres (56 ft.) lighthouse with its delicately balanced walkway and recessed lantern, and vertical subdivision into base, tower and lantern;
- the light residing in the lantern and evidence of previous lights (and light technology);
- the tower’s Gothic Revival exterior details including its pointed windows, brick corbelling below the lantern platform, arrow-shaped weathervane and lantern;
- the tower’s Gothic Revival interior details, particularly the open-work geometric pattern of the stairway;
- the distribution of space in the lighthouse and its physical and functional connection to the residence;
- the simplicity of the house design with its symmetrical proportions, central chimney, balanced apertures, and gable roof;
- the Gothic-Revival style ground floor windows and weatherproofing shutters of the house;
- the quality and workmanship of original materials, particularly imported original fabric such as the lantern and cast iron staircase in the tower, the granite base and cap of the tower, the exterior brick of the house, the cement covered brick of the tower (painted white since 1863);
- evidence of the mode of life at the station such as the storehouse cistern and foundations;
- evidence of the purpose of station operation such as the mooring rings and the walkway of the tower, walkways on the island, the meteorological structures, cable anchors and causeway and remnants of early buildings and structures at the station;
- the orientation of the lighthouse tower and light keeper’s house on the island;
- viewplanes from the lighthouse to Esquimalt harbour and naval dockyards, Hatley Park, the Juan de Fuca Strait and back across the causeway to Fort Rodd Hill.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Navigational Aid or Lighthouse

Architect / Designer

Joseph Pemberton


John J. Cochrane

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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