Last Updated on April 17, 2023
Fort Rodd Hill And Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites
For anyone looking for a tranquil and historical escape from the hustle and bustle of Victoria, BC, Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites are an ideal adventure.
Explore Fort Rodd Hill, a 19th-century artillery fortress situated amidst beautiful coastal landscapes. This active duty fortress was operational from 1895 to 1956.
Afterward, visit the Fisgard Lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse on Canada’s west coast. The personal stories of soldiers and lighthouse keepers are sure to leave a lasting impression on you.
The two sites are located on opposite ends of Esquimalt Harbour with Fort Rodd Hill offering a beautiful landscape of grassy hills overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Atop these hills lie gun batteries which harken to its past as a coastal artillery fortress built in 1890-1895 by British Royal Engineers—paving the way for Canadian military history that would shape both national defence and demonstrate early Canadian industrial achievements.
Meanwhile, around one kilometer away sits Canada’s oldest operational lighthouse: Fisgard Lighthouse, constructed in 1960. Now part of Parks Canada’s historic sites family, visitors can explore these well preserved monuments which together tell an important story about remote outposts protecting our coastlines into modern times.
Though these are two different National Historic Sites, you gain access to both with admission to Fort Rodd Hill, so we will mostly be referring to both sites as one location.
Where Are The Fort Rodd Hill And Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites?
The Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites are located in Colwood, British Columbia. It takes around 20 minutes to drive there from downtown Victoria.
Overview Of Fort Rodd Hill And Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites
Located in Victoria, British Columbia, Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites are a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts. With its stunning views of the shoreline, the sites are a fine example of how beautifully nature and history can coexist.
The Fort Rodd Hill section is home to gun batteries, underground magazines, command posts and barracks that date back to the Victorian era. Meanwhile, the Fisgard Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse on Canada’s Pacific coast and is known for its distinctive red and white stripes.
The sites are a living museum that vividly brings to life the battles, struggles, and conflicts of the past.
History Of Fort Rodd Hill
Fort Rodd Hill received the National Historic Site of Canada title in 1958. This was done to honor the importance of the Victoria-Esquimalt fortifications (which were active from 1878 to 1956) in safeguarding Victoria, the naval base at Esquimalt, and ultimately Canada and the British Empire.
The particular significance of Fort Rodd Hill’s heritage is the undisturbed and clear representation of its cultural landscape. The location and arrangement of its defense structures demonstrate nearly one hundred years of evolution in military design and needs.
In the 1890s, Canada and Great Britain made an agreement for the creation of a lasting defense system in the Victoria-Esquimalt area. These defenses would be operated by British troops to protect the interests of the Empire.
Fort Rodd Hill construction started in 1895 and was later taken over by Canada in 1906, where they were then extensively enlarged and rebuilt until World War II ended. However, they were declared obsolete in 1956, and subsequently acquired by Parks Canada to become what it is today.
Marvel at the two impressive fortifications, which stand as enduring testaments to the strategic importance of this location. Take a stroll through the barracks and imagine what life was like for soldiers stationed here during times of conflict. Explore the armories and discover the weapons and equipment that helped defend this site against all odds. And don’t forget the camouflaged searchlight emplacements and magazines- these secret vaults were used for storing ammunition and other vital supplies, and played a critical role in the site’s overall defense.
With so much history to discover, a visit to this site is an absolute must for anyone with an interest in military history or ancient architecture.
Step back in time and explore the fascinating history of this incredible site, boasting a range of key features that are sure to capture your imagination.
Interesting Facts About Fisgard Lighthouse
Fisgard Lighthouse has been guiding ships to safety since 1860, making it the oldest still-operating lighthouse in Canada. However, there’s more to this iconic landmark than just its impressive age.
Fisgard Lighthouse was originally built to help protect the British Empire’s naval base in Esquimalt Harbour. It was the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. The lighthouse was also manned by a keeper and his assistant until 1929 when it was automated.
Today, visitors can explore the lighthouse and learn about its rich history at the Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site, where it stands as a testament to Canada’s maritime heritage.
When Is The Best Time To Visit?
Fort Rodd Hill is best visited during summer from mid-May to mid-October when all areas are open. While other times are also a great choice, the slow season provides limited areas for exploration.
We have been during the busy summer and the quiet spring. Both were enjoyable visits, though summer had more action happening. Spring was nice to have the area very much to ourselves.
Admission To Fort Rodd Hill
Admission rates are the following as of 2023:
- Adult – $8.50
- Senior – $7
- Youth (under 17) – Free!*
*Since January 1, 2018, Parks Canada has not charged any fee for admission of young people who are 17 years old or below. This is a great opportunity for the entire family to make unforgettable memories together.
Have a Parks Canada pass? Use it and get in for free.
Fort Rodd Hill oTENTik Tent Camping
Experience a comfortable camping adventure at Ford Rodd Hill with Parks Canada’s exclusive oTENTik tents. These tents provide a cozy, home-like atmosphere while still offering an outdoor experience. Visitors can enjoy the convenience of a pre-set bed and staying inside the fort. Learn more about this unique camping opportunity at the BC Parks Fort Rodd Hill website.
We camped out in an OTENTik tent at another great National Historic Site in British Columbia, the Fort Langely National Historic Site, and it was an experience to remember!
Other exciting experiences on Vancouver Island you will not want to miss:
25 Things To Do In Victoria BC That Kids Will Love
Exploring The Creepy Crawlies Of The Victoria Bug Zoo
Unlock The Magic Of Victoria Butterfly Gardens
The Malahat Skywalk: Get Ready To Be Awestruck
Experience The Fun And Nostalgia Of Hotel Zed In Victoria
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