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Lord Western Shipwreck

Sydney Inlet, near Estevan Point, Hot Springs Cove, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/03/16

Lord Western Shipwreck; Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia, 2007
Mast Step
Lord Western Shipwreck; Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia, 2007
Ballast Pile
No Image

Other Name(s)

Lord Western Shipwreck
Sydney Inlet Mystery Wreck

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2013/01/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Lord Western Shipwreck provincial heritage site consists of the remains of the three-masted barque Lord Western, which lies on the sea floor in Adventure Bay at Sydney Inlet, near Estevan Point on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The Lord Western was built in Scotland in 1840 and wrecked in 1853. The wreck site measures 38 meters by 12 meters; with the bow lying in 10.5 meters of water and the stern in 22 meters. The remains of the vessel rest on a sloping sand/mud bottom.

Heritage Value

As the oldest located shipwreck in British Columbia, the Lord Western is valued as a monument to Vancouver Island's early economic development and to nineteenth-century maritime history.

The Lord Western is of significant historical interest in that it is a rare example of an East Indiaman wrecked on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. Built as commercial trading vessels for long sea voyages, East Indiamen typically sailed between Great Britain and India. This shipwreck is significant because it is a testament to the high standards and specifications of nineteenth-century shipbuilding. It is significant that the remains of the barque, including the inner hull consisting of quality shipbuilding materials such as teak and mahogany with brass fittings and fastenings, have retained their archaeological integrity since the ship foundered and sank in Adventure Bay on December 4, 1853.

The surviving remains of the Lord Western's cargo, which included Douglas fir pilings, squared timbers, and salted salmon, are of particular significance because they represent some of the first exports of products from the new colony of Vancouver Island.

Source: Province of British Columbia, Heritage Branch files

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Lord Western Shipwreck include:

- The location of the wreck in Adventure Bay
- Remains of the ship which identify it as an East Indiaman, including the stoutly constructed keelson, and the timbers and planking made of hardwoods (teak and mahogany) with brass fastenings and fittings
- Surviving remains of the ship's original cargo of fir piles
- Surviving artifacts which remain on the sea bottom, or which lie buried at the site



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Province of British Columbia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Conservation Act, s.9, s.13(1)(a)

Recognition Type

Provincial Heritage Site (Designated)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1853/01/01 to 1853/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type




Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Province of British Columbia, Heritage Branch files

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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