Fisgard Lighthouse

Fisgard Lighthouse

ca Canada

Travel Update: Most places are open. Still, check the official websites and read our crucial BEST TIME tips below to help you AVOID THE CROWDS or secure tickets | Book Tip: 50 U.S. States - 5000 Ideas

When Is the Best Time

When Is the Best Time

Although afternoon may give you the perfect light for Fisgard Lighthouse, you need to consider the opening hours. The Lighthouse is located on the same premise as Ford Rodd Hill, and the building is open all day from mid-March to mid-October. The surroundings can be visited each day during the opening hours.

October 15 - February 28
Open from 10 am to 4 pm
Lighthouse and Historic Buildings only Saturday and Sunday
Outside Area open 7 days a week

March 1 - May 14
Open from 10 am to 5 pm
Lighthouse and Historic Buildings from Wednesday to Sunday
Outside Area open 7 days a week

May 15 - October 14
Open from 10 am to 5 pm
Lighthouse and Historic Buildings open 7 days a week
Outside Area open 7 days a week

The sites are closed on Christmas (December 25, 26) and New Year Eve (January 1).

Make sure to return on time to the parking lot as they close 30 minutes after the site

Top Tip:
If you arrive too late, you may drive to Esquimalt Lagoon. From there you will have a good view towards Fisgard, but you may need a telephoto lens for a good shot.

Victoria has mild winters and receives the lowest annual rainfall on the west coast. Although Winters are mild, you can expect a certain amount of rain and fog. Summer temperature could reach up to 30°C, and it's the driest season. Because of the sub-Mediterranean climate, Victoria is sometimes named "The Garden City". You could find even rare plants in Canada like palms and eucalyptus. In general, the city enjoys plenty of sunshine all year around.


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Where and Tips

British Columbia, Victoria

Almost a century after the light was turned on at Fisgard in 1860 the site was named a National historic site. Fisgard is still in operation although the last Lighthouse keeper left the station in 1929 as it became automated. It was built in 1860 to guide vessels through the entrance of Esquimalt harbor. It was named after HMS Fisgard, a British Navy ship that spent time in the Pacific. Fisgard was the first Lighthouse build on the Canadian west coast shortly followed by the Race Rocks Lighthouse nearby in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. At this time Vancouver Island was a British crown colony and not part of Canada. Together they mark the save anchorage of Royal Roads and also points the way to Victoria harbor for merchant ships and recreational vessels.

During the opening hours, you can visit the inside of the building containing two floors of exhibits, dealing with shipwrecks, storms, far-flung lights and the everyday working equipment of the light keeper a century ago. The lightkeeper had an important job. Every day at sunset he or his assistant climbed the 51 steps to the small octagonal lamp room. In the early days, the lit an oil lamp which had to be serviced all night long. Therefore they climbed the stairs often during their 4 hours shift to trim the wick to avoid any smoke which may dim the beam of the lamp. During stormy nights they may even have to stay in the tiny lamp room to wipe away condensation or during winter time even walk outside to brush away snow. The staircase at Fisgard was unique at the time the lighthouse was built. It was made of steel instead of wood like in many other buildings. Although you cannot climb the staircase today, you can have a look upwards through the lightweights constructed green stairs. In the early 1940s, the acetylene lamp was replaced by a battery powered electric light. In 1958 power lines from Fort Rodd Hill could be used to bring a constant electric light to the tower.

You access Fisgard Lighthouse through Fort Rodd Hill, a coast artillery fort overlooking the entrance to Esquimalt Harbour, built after the lighthouse in the late 1890s to protect Victoria and the Royal Naval base. If you plan to visit the lighthouse and are interested in historic military buildings, you may spend a half day at the Fort. There are plenty of different buildings to visit including the Belmont Battery and the Upper Battery.

Where to stay inside the park:
If you like to spend more time at this historic place you can book an oTENTik tent located close to the Lower Battery from mid-May to end of September. You only need to bring your sleeping back and your camera. Reservation oTENTik

What else to discover
Although there is a direct path from Ford Rodd Hill to the lighthouse, you can take the nature path, near the picnic tables, for a short walk through a forest, with many sights and bird sounds along the way.  As you walk along the trails, you may see some of the year-round residents, including Colombian Black-tailed deer, grey squirrels, raccoons and numerous bird species. The waters around Fisgard Lighthouse are frequented by harbor seals and the occasional sea lion. Close to the Lighthouse you may spot some Oyster Catchers seeking for food.

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