Visiting the BC Coast Lighthouses

Do you want to visit some of British Columbia lighthouses? A lot of them are isolated, but there are a few that tourists can easily see. Some of these are manned; some are automated.

One of the best websites for finding the location of the  lighthouses is Ron Ammundsen’s Lighthouses of British Columbia website. On the opening page he has maps of manned/staffed and unmanned lighthouses and their locations. This will show you what is available, and where they are located. To find photos and information on the chosen lighthouses check out Google.


One of the main items you will require is a place to stay. When flying to British Columbia via International Airlines (from another country) your point of entry would be Vancouver International Airport (YVR). From there you have a variety of ways to accommodate yourself – from hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, camp site, hostel, inn, resort, etc. Select from the list on the Hello BC website. Enter your dates, town, and preference, and select a place to stay. Really easy website to find your way around.

The next thing after a room for the night, is a place to eat. Canada is well-known for its diversity in the culinary arts, and British Columbia is no exception. The easiest way is to introduce you to a special webpage called Dining, again from Hello BC. This is an interactive menu connected to a BC map. Pick what type of food you want, where you want to eat, and wait for the results. It is well organized and easy to use.

The choice is amazing! Your selection may be saved as a PDF file for reference. Pick your town, pick your food and grab a cab to good dining. The nice thing is you can look on the map to see if a location is near your place of residence for any place in BC. The map (left) shows the 538 results from just selecting West Coast. Each red flag is a city with multiple locations in each. Each result will give you location, telephone number and website if available. A very comprehensive help page.

Fisgard Lighthouse

Before you come you should decide where you want to go, and what lighthouses you want to see. Most of the available lighthouses will be seen in and around the cities of Vancouver, and Victoria, BC. Others are visible from the ferries, and up and down Vancouver Island. On the Hello BC website on the Things To Do page there are no exact listings for lighthouses but if you type lighthouse in the search box (upper right) you will get a page of lighthouse listings, things lighthouse, resorts near lighthouses, etc. With the map from the website on Lighthouses of British Columbia you can then sort out where you want to go and which lighthouse you may wish to visit..

If you want to get off the beaten track, you can fly into many places or take ferries, hike in, or even rent a local water taxi or fish boat. The opportunities are unlimited depending on your time and finances. On the Hello BC webpage is also a section on Transportation and Maps listing many services available in BC.

Take your time, talk to other tourists, and if you have any questions, maybe I or other readers can help you out. They don’t call it Beautiful BC for nothing. Enjoy!


To help you enjoy the coast more, it might be helpful to read up on a few of the things you might find at the shoreline. A great website for this is Vic High Marine. Check out the information on all things you might stumble across, or see on your trip.

Any more good advice out there? Please send it on and I will post it.

West Coast Recipes – Part One


I thought this might be interesting for people in other parts of the world who read this website. There are many food recipes associated with the West Coast of Canada and USA – many from the First Nations people, and many from the residents be they mariners, lighthouse keepers, villagers, prospectors, hunters or others. I will try and see what I can find. I will try and post about five (5) recipes per post. If others have any contributions, please pass them on. Full credit will be given.


One recipe I have posted can be found here: Thomas Crosby Muffins. Also a book was written about British Columbia lighthouses called The Lighthouse Cookbook by Anita Stewart. It is an excellent book and is available from



1. Salmon Fish Cakes

Now this is one of the simplest recipes to make, and I learned about making them from my wife Karen who’s father used to cook them while out on the West Coast fishing for salmon. His recipe was pretty simple: Use whatever is available! Take some leftover cooked salmon, mix it about half and half with some leftover cooked potatoes, throw in an egg to help hold it together and season with salt and pepper. If available, add a few chopped green onions. Make into patties and fry in one-quarter inch (1/4″) oil, flipping once until brown on both sides. Serve with whatever condiment is available – lemons and/or ketchup.  Enjoy!

Below is a more cookbook style of making the same thing:

Salmon Fish Cakes

1 1/4 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 lb salmon fillets, skin on, scaled and bones removed (or in a pinch try using 2 cans of Clover Leaf’s canned boneless/skinless salmon) Continue reading


photo Paul Kurbis

One of the reasons for the establishment of a lighthouse is to mark the dangers from the effect of extreme tides (low and high) on surrounding lands, islands, waterways, and beaches. 

Look at the photo on the left of my old lighthouse at McInnes Island at low tide (click for a larger version). We can tell it is low tide because the kelp is exposed on the rocks, and the high tide mark on the rocks is marked by a dirty black line. Here on the Pacific Coast of Canada, the tides come in and go out twice a day, and the range is between seventeen (17) and twenty-one (21) feet (6 to 7 meters)!

Note the small rock at dead center, bottom of the photo. At high tide that would be covered and become a menace to navigation. In this case this is not a marked shipping channel so no marker is necessary. The reason for the lighthouse (visible on the left of the large island) is that it was listed as a landfall light. A marker for ships coming in from the Pacific Ocean to the British Columbia coastline, and also a marker for the entrance to Milbanke Sound. It really doesn’t mark the island as dangerous; just an indicator of a mariner’s location on the ocean.

Example of a floating dock

To return to a docked boat on the BC coast after a few hours of sightseeing or shopping is sometimes a surprise for many tourists. The docks for the boats are built to float up and down on fixed pilings to accommodate the 21 foot tides (see photo left). To get onto the dock you walk up or down a ramp. A roller on the lower end rolls along the dock as the tide rises or falls. The top part of the ramp is hinged.

The tides change approximately every six hours, so if you left your boat and walked up the steep ramp to the topside dock at 10 AM (low tide) and came back at 2 PM (4 hours difference), the ramp would be almost horizontal (high tide). If you had lots of heavy groceries to move it was always a good idea to plan at what time of day you wanted to move them! Continue reading

More Lighthouse History, BC – 01 (1899-12-17)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers called The British Colonist. Full information can be found here: The British Colonist Online: 1858 – 1910

Below is the first extract from The British Colonist with news other than from Victoria, BC 

The department of marine and fisheries under date of November 28 [1899] has issued a circular notice to mariners regarding navigation in British Columbia waters. The two new lighthouses – on Point Island and on Dryad Point, Campell island, respectively-are described, together with hydrographic notes affecting the same. Notice is given of an unchartered rock in Methhlacatlah bay and also of the removal and change in color of the Hodgson Reefs’ buoy.

A lighthouse erected by the government on Pointed island, Fittzhugh sound, east entrance to Lama passage, was put in operation on the 5th instant, latitude 52 degrees 3 minutes 48 seconds, longitude west 128 degrees 58 minutes, and 40 seconds. The light is a fixed white light, elevated 42 feet above high water, and should be visible 12 miles over an arc 214 degreesw bewteen the bearings of S. 56 degrees E. (S. 31 degrees E true) through south and west to N. 22 degrees W. (N. 3 degrees E. true). The illuminating apparatus is dioptric of the seventh order.

A lighthouse, erected by the government on the extremity of Dryad point (Turn point) Campbell island, northern entrance of Main passage, Seaforth channel, was put in operation on the 7th instant latitzude north 52 degrees q11 minutes 14 seconds, longitude west 128 degrees 8 minutes and 24 seconds. The light is a fixed white light, elevated 36 feet above high water mark, and should be visible eleven miles over an arc 257 degrees, between the bearings E. 63 degrees E. (S. 37 degrees E. true) through south, west and north to N. 14 degrees E. (N. 40 degrees E. true). The illuminating apparatus is dioptric of the seventh order. The lighthouse is on the point named on the admiralty charts Turn point. In order to dostinguish it from Turn point, Stuart island, on which a lighthouse is already maintained, the geographic board will change its name tp Dryad point, commemorating the name of a brig belonging to the Hudson’s Bay Co., which was engaged in company with the brig “Lama” in 1833, in carrying materials, etc., for the construction of Fort McLaughlin, near the site of the nearby existing village of Bella Bella.

The captain of the D. G. S. Quadra reports, in connection with the establishment of the above lighthouse, that dryad points extends nearly 300 feet east of the shore line shown on admiralty chart No. 2.449; that the islaet shown east of the point is not visible in coming from the westward until the extremity of Continue reading

Lighthouse History – continued

May 18, 2012 – Up to number fifty (#50) of these issues of the Lighthouse History, I was borrowing the information from Victoria’s Victoria, a production of the University of Victoria (UVIC) who also have Victoria, BC newspaper archives online. For now, they have stopped reprinting the Victoria, BC news from the newspapers – it goes as far as 1926.

Please Note: December 01, 2012 – I am continuing this series with Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse! Look for #51 soon!

This is quite an extensive collection of Victoria, BC newspapers from 1858-1926. A small history of the papers and name changes appears below.

The History of the Times Colonist and other newspapers that merged with them over the years.

British Colonist – December 11, 1858 – 1860

British Daily Colonist – 1860 – 1862

The Press 1860 plus The Chronicle 1860 became the                    Chronicle until 1862

Daily British Colonist and Morning Chronicle – 1862 – 1873

Daily British Colonist – 1873 – 1887

Victoria Daily Times June 09, 1884 – 1951

The Daily Colonist – Jan. 1, 1887 – 1951

(Colonist and Times under Victoria Press Ltd. In May, 1951)

Times-Colonist Sept. 2, 1980 with morning and evening editions

Times-Colonist dropped the evening paper   1983 –  present

*********************************** Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 50 (1925-04-12 to 1926-10-29)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.


photos: Donald Henry McNeill recalls 3 generations of BC Pioneers… Photos of McNeill, Beaver in Victoria Harbour in 1870s, Fiddle Reef lighthouse… Full page… [Colonist, 1925-04-12, p. 40]


Died Sep 7, 1925 at Victoria, BC, Levan Cullison, 74, of Esquimalt, native of US, resident here 36 years, 27 of which he was employed by Marine Department, in the capacity of foreman erector of lighthouse apparatus, from which he retired 3 years ago. Leaves widow, son, 2 daughters. ROBP [Colonist, 1925-09-09*] Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 49 (1924-02-28 to 1925-03-10)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.


12 – Entire crew of Norwegian freighter Tatjana, a total wreck on Village I, Bamfield lifeboat rescues 7, and 21 make shore on Breeches Buoy…; Feb 28, 11 – phs/Barkley Sound thrives on herring harvest…; Feb 29, 1; 11 – dead reckoning errors fatal, crew to arrive in Victoria on HMCS Armentieres…; Mar 1, 5 – rescued crew reach shore by slender line… Victoria boy, Harry Brown, 19, hero of disaster…; Mar 6, 4 – wreck of Tatjana…; Mar 9, 14; 15 – Capt Chris Cholberg demands additional lighthouse at Barkley Snd… ph/wireless station and light at Pachena Pnt…; Mar 14, 17 – Tatjana in danger of splitting up…; Apr 2, 15 – Pacific Salvage Co will attempt to salvage [Village I]…; Apr 23, 17 – ph/Tees sails for wreck with more tackle…; May 6, 5 – more patches for salvaged Tatjana, reclaimed vessel anchored at Sechart…; Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 48 (1923-04-11 to 1924-02-03)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.


Pt San Juan likely to get station…; WC will be well guarded… Carmanah, Pachena, Beale to have radio phones… Clayoquot lifesaving station to be linked by cable with Lennard I lighthouse…; 18 – Bamfield life-saving crew’s work appreciated…; Apr 13, 1; proper safeguards on WC…; Apr 17, 5 – confirmation, WC to get wireless station – Pachena Pnt…; Apr 18, 19 – will test Pachena as wireless site… [Colonist, 1923-04-11, p. 17]

Continue reading

Mother’s Day Brunch in Canada 2012

Many Canadians celebrate Mother’s Day by showing their appreciation for Mothers or Mother figures. The Mother’s Day date in Canada is on the second Sunday of May each year and it will be on Sunday, May 13, 2012 this year.

Lighthouse Bistro and Pub, Nanaimo, BC

For all of you living on southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada (or in Vancouver) there is a special Mother’s Day Brunch at the Lighthouse Bistro and Pub in Nanaimo, BC (Vancouver island). Continue reading

Books on BC Lighthouses

Over the years since I started this website in 2005 I have collected many books on British Columbia lighthouses. Some with only a reference to lighthouse, others dedicated exclusively to BC lighthouses like Donald Graham’s books.

Later I will dedicate a page to each book as I have to some earlier ones, but right now I am more interested in showing newcomers what is/was available so that they will recognize them when they are found in a flea market or garage sale.

If you click on the photo left, it will take you to a modified page from my old website which lists books that I have collected over the years. It will also specify if the book is available for sale or not.

Listed below are a few more lighthouse-related books that did not make it onto that list before I created this new website. If you can, please send me an email or comment about a new book that you have found. I will add it to the list and we can make this as complete as possible. Also, if possible, would you please also send a scan of the front cover so I can add it to the pages. You know the old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Thank you.

Shipwrecks Along the West Coast Trail – Richard E. Wells – Sono Nis Press

Silent Seige III – Bert Webber – 301 pages – Webb Research Group (December 1992) 

The Last Island – Alison Watt – Harbour Publishing – 978-1-55017-296-6 · 1-55017-296-4
$34.95 · Hardback 6.5 x 9.5 · 192 pp · September 2002 (Available)
ISBN-10: 0936738731, 10.7 x 8.3 x 0.9 inches

There’s A Landing Today – Richard E. Wells – Sono Nis press