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.
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.