Government of Canada designates first two heritage lighthouses in British Columbia

SATURNA ISLAND, BC, May 25, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced the designation of the first two heritage lighthouses in British Columbia under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. The East Point Lighthouse on Saturna Island and the Fisgard Lighthouse in Colwood were designated on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

"I'm delighted to add East Point Lighthouse on Saturna Island and Fisgard Lighthouse on Vancouver Island, two noteworthy examples of Canadian lighthouses in British Columbia, to the family of designated heritage lighthouses," said Minister Kent. "Our Government is committed to protecting for future generations as many examples as possible of these important symbols of our seafaring heritage."

"Our lightstations are not only active navigation aids for maritime traffic but they are also a treasure chest of community history, stories and economic opportunity, said former Senator Pat Carney, principal author of the private member's bill which initiated the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. Many coastal communities link their community identity with their lighthouses to promote tourism and the work of local authors, artists and crafts people."

Established 125 years ago, the East Point lightstation on Saturna Island was the first to mark the intricate channel between the Juan de Fuca and Georgia straits. The East Point heritage lighthouse designation includes the former fog alarm building which has been adapted for use as an interpretive centre on Saturna Island's rich history.

Construction of the Fisgard lighthouse was completed in 1860. It is Canada's oldest lighthouse in British Columbia and was built to mark Esquimalt Harbour as the home base for the British Royal Navy Pacific Squadron. Today, Fisgard continues to mark Esquimalt Harbour, which is the home base for the Royal Canadian Navy on the Pacific Coast. The Fisgard lighthouse was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1958.

The East Point and Fisgard heritage lighthouses are administered by Parks Canada and can be visited by the public. Saturna Island is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and the Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada is just a short drive from downtown Victoria.

The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act allows for the identification and protection of federally-owned lighthouses on Canada's coastal and inland waters that have significant heritage value. The Act, which was adopted in May 2008 and is administered by Parks Canada, helps ensure the heritage character of these heritage lighthouses is protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. Six heritage lighthouses have been designated to date, with more to come.

For additional information, please see the accompanying backgrounder at www.parkscanada.gc.ca under Media Room.

Backgrounder

Heritage Lighthouse Designations in British Columbia

The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act allows for the identification and protection of federally-owned lighthouses with heritage value and is the most significant piece of federal legislation to protect historic places of the last decade. It will help to ensure that important heritage lighthouses on Canada's coastal and inland waters remain protected for future generations.

On the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC), the Honourable Minister Kent, Canada's Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the following designations on May 25, 2013:

Name: East Point (Saturna Island) Lighthouse (built 1949)
Location: Saturna Island, British Columbia

The Government of Canada established the vital East Point lightstation on Saturna Island in 1888 to mark the intricate shipping channel between the Juan de Fuca and Georgia straits. The original lighthouse was replaced in 1949 with the current 14-metre (46 ft) steel skeleton lighthouse tower, one of the few to be found at major lightstations on the Pacific Coast. The heritage lighthouse designation includes the former fog alarm building, built in 1938, which has been rehabilitated to welcome guests to East Point and inform them of Saturna Island's rich history.

The East Point Lighthouse and fog alarm building on Saturna Island are part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Saturna Island can be reached by private boat, water taxi, float plane and ferry.

Name:  Fisgard Lighthouse (built 1859-1860)
Location: Colwood, British Columbia

The Fisgard Lighthouse is a 17.1-metre (56 ft) tapered cylindrical tower surmounted by a multi-faceted lantern and attached to a two-storey keeper's dwelling. Constructed in 1859-1860 to mark the entrance to Esquimalt Harbour, it is the first and oldest lighthouse on Canada's Pacific Coast. Intimately associated with the early period of development of Vancouver Island and British Columbia as a whole, it also served as an important symbol of sovereignty - British, then colonial and finally Canadian. The designation includes a replica boathouse built in 1978 and a replica storehouse built in the 1960s.

The Fisgard Lighthouse is also a National Historic Site of Canada administered by Parks Canada. Located in Colwood, British Columbia, Fisgard Lighthouse is just a short drive from downtown Victoria.

SOURCE: Parks Canada

For further information:

Office of the Minister of the Environment 
819-997-1441

Media Relations 
Parks Canada 
819-953-8371 
www.twitter.com/parkscanada


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