Tagged with " Vancouver Island"
Apr 15, 2010 -

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse

Forts and Lighthouses are high on my interest list, so these two unconnected sites, Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse at the same location were a perfect combination for me. We were able to stop here after going to French Beach since it was literally on the way home from there.

From the websites:

Fort Rodd Hill – a National Historic Site – is a coast artillery fort built in the late 1890s to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base. The Fort includes three gun batteries, underground magazines, command posts, guardhouses, barracks and searchlight emplacements.

and

The first lighthouse on Canada’s west coast is still in operation! There hasn’t been a keeper here since the light was automated in 1929, but every year many thousands of visitors step inside a real 19th century light, and capture some of the feeling of ships wrecked and lives saved.

Built by the British in 1860, when Vancouver Island was not yet part of Canada, Fisgard’s red brick house and white tower has stood faithfully at the entrance to Esquimalt harbour. Once a beacon for the British Royal Navy’s Pacific Squadron, today Fisgard still marks home base for the Royal Canadian Navy.

The fort has two batteries and several outbuildings to explore, and Parks Canada was generous with accessibility to all the nooks and crannies. One building had me climbing a metal staircase to a widow’s walk to another staircase that descends to a room where there is a small exhibit. It was quite fun to get there and I was pretty impressed that I got up and down that staircase.

The lighthouse is one of the prettiest I have ever seen. They are working on making the inside a museum. There are a few exhibits and they are promising. I especially liked the stacks of ‘crates’ that had doors and drawers you can open to see what’s inside.

Both locations were excellent and could provide at least a full half-day of entertainment if you bring a picnic. We were there for several hours.

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Apr 15, 2010 -

Boots in the Juan de Fuca Strait

There is no logical or explainable reason for this, but one of my bucket list items was to one day touch the waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait, one of the most contested boundaries between the US and Canada. There is a mythical quality to such places as they provide truly clear borders. Here I am in Canada; there I am in the US. It doesn’t feel like political whim because there is a flowing fence between the two nations.

Even though you can see the Strait from Victoria, I decided to push west a bit to get a clearer shot of it, so Mrs. H suggested we drive to French Beach Provincial Park, where the cobblestone beach is unique. It was a perfect idea and I am once again grateful to have had a local guide.

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Apr 14, 2010 -

A Coastal Drive and the Ross Bay Cemetery

The final thing Mrs. H wanted to show me today was her old stomping grounds along the water front. It was a beautiful drive and exactly the sort of thing I miss out on when I don’t have a local guide. She also recommended I check out Ross Bay Cemetery, where many prominent Victorians are buried, including Emily Carr a writer and painter. I didn’t find that grave, but I did photograph quite a few interesting ones.

Today was a rich, full day. Thanks, Mrs. H!

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