Race Rocks Lighttower
Phare de Race Rocks
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Lighttower at Race Rocks dominates a small barren island in the Juan de Fuca Strait in an area of strong tides and reefs. A lantern surmounts the tall tapered stone structure. It has limited decorative detailing and is distinguished by a black and white colour scheme. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Lighttower is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Lighttower is associated with the provision of navigational aids on the Pacific Coast in response to increased maritime traffic arising from the Fraser River Gold Rush. Its location on an island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca aided merchant and passenger ships heading to Victoria and also naval vessels destined for Esquimalt naval base. The influx of settlers due to the gold strike quickly changed Victoria from a fur-trading fort to an incorporated city, and ensured the continued need for a lighttower.
The Lighttower is a Canadian example of a British design employed in ‘Imperial’ lighthouses which were associated with colonial trade routes. Built by local craftsmen of local stone, the lantern and original light were supplied from England.
The Lighttower stands alone on the eight-acre island in the Juan de Fuca Strait apart from smaller secondary structures. Surging tides make the island relatively inaccessible except by helicopter. The Lighttower is still operational and well known to the shipping community and is a regional landmark.
Race Rocks Lighttower, Race Rocks, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 90-085; Race Rocks Lighttower, Race Rocks, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Heritage Character Statement 90-085.
The character-defining elements of Lighttower should be respected.
Its aesthetic design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the building’s form and massing which give it stately proportions and which consists of a tall tapered profile, with a platform surmounted by an iron lantern.
-the building’s limited decorative detailing and stately proportions.
-the robust rusticated blocks of granite that comprise the stonework of the base and lantern, and also the similarly finished sandstone in the body of the tower.
-the raised door and lower level windows set in arched openings in the thick masonry wall.
-the black and white identifying colour scheme.
-the exterior stairs to the second floor entrance.
The manner in which the lighttower reinforces the picturesque, maritime setting of Race Rocks, and acts as a regional landmark as evidenced by:
-its isolated location atop an eight acre island in the Juan de Fuca Strait.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Navigational Aid or Lighthouse
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection