Strait of Georgia, Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Zephyr Shipwreck provincial heritage site consists of the remains of the barque Zephyr, which lie on the sea floor between David's Cove and Edith Point off the northeast shore of Mayne Island in British Columbia. The Zephyr was built in 1855 and wrecked in 1872. The remains of the vessel lie within a site measuring approximately 84 meters in length by 23 meters in width. The Zephyr is oriented northwest to southeast from stern to bow and lies in 9 to 12 meters of water.
The remains of the Zephyr are significant because they represent an important part of British Columbia's early trade and export system. Wooden barques such as the Zephyr were used extensively in the nineteenth century in British Columbia's growing export industry, to transport natural resource commodities like coal and forest products to overseas and American markets. The surviving elements of the ship, including the capstan, some concreted deck fittings, and portions of the hull sheathed with copper, are representative elements of this early mode of marine transportation on the British Columbia coast.
The remains of the cargo that the Zephyr was carrying at the time of her loss are particularly noteworthy, as they reflect the integral role this vessel played in the oceangoing trade and commerce links developed between British Columbia and San Francisco in the period between the Fraser River gold rush of 1858 and the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885. The Zephyr was laden with two columns of Newcastle Island sandstone and a large number of sandstone blocks intended for use in the construction of the San Francisco Mint.
The remains of the Zephyr are also acknowledged as a gravesite and serve as a memorial to two mariners – Captain Hepson and one crew member – who lost their lives when the ship sank on February 13, 1872.
Source: Province of British Columbia, Heritage Branch files
The character-defining elements of the Zephyr Shipwreck include:
- The location of the wreck off the northeast shore of Mayne Island
- Key structural elements, decking and fittings, such as the buried remains of the vessel, the copper sheathing, the concreted deck fittings, and the capstan
- The remaining Newcastle Island sandstone blocks from the original cargo
- The continuing function of the wreck as a gravesite and memorial to the tragic loss of life of the barque's captain and one crew member
Province of British Columbia
Heritage Conservation Act, s.9, s.13(1)(a)
Provincial Heritage Site (Designated)
1872/01/01 to 1872/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
Function - Category and Type
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Province of British Columbia, Heritage Branch files
Cross-Reference to Collection