Drowning at Lawyer Island c. 1904

In the Lighthouses of British Columbia guestbook I came across an entry by an “M. W. Harding”. He stated that his grandfather had been the first lighthouse keeper on Lawyer Island, near Prince Rupert, BC, and had accidentally drowned. I contacted Mr. Harding and got more information from him about his grandfather’s death. – retlkpr

In the words of – Ned Harding (Grandson of Thomas Harvey who was Senior Keeper at Lawyer Island 1921 – c.1905)

Lawyer Island c. 1900s - photo CCG, Prince Rupert.

He said: “I have some information regarding the Lawyer Island Lighthouse. This information was given to me by my mother who was the daughter of the original keeper. The keeper’s name was Thomas Harvey who took care of the light starting approximately 1901. He was married to my grandmother in 1898 and my mother was born in Vancouver in 1899.”

“My mother and grandmother were also at Lawyer Island from about 1902. The grandmother’s name was Hannah G. Harvey, and my mother’s original name was Frances T. Harvey. The light was tended by this duo until 1904 when my grandfather was lost in the sea while rowing to Prince Rupert as was his practice from time to time.” Continue reading

Reprint – DFO Shutting Down Coast Guard Radio Stations, but Prince Rupert’s Will Be Expanded


I wrote an article on January 04, 2012 entitled MCTS To Lose Staff To Save Money. After that date, the department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO or F&O) have changed their plans. They are now closing whole stations instead of a removing a few men! The news article below is well written and explains what is planned for the BC coast. If all goes through we will have only two (2) MCTS stations on the whole BC coast, relying on mountaintop repeaters to reply to ships at sea.

I can also see soon that their plans will include again trying to de-staff the lighthouses. Pretty soon the whole BC coast will be bare of any support for boaters!


By Alan S. Hale – The Northern View
Published: May 18, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: May 18, 2012 4:59 PM

The Coast Guard communication monitoring station in Prince Rupert will be even more important to ensuring the safety of seafarers. The Prince Rupert station will be one of only two “modernized” coast guard stations in the entire province – the other one being in Sydney. Continue reading

In Memorium – Donna (Sheppard) Viereck (1947 – 2012)

Donna Marie (Sheppard) Viereck (January 8th, 1947 Whitney Pier, NS – February 26, 2012 Prince Rupert, BC) – friend of the lightkeepers.

I met Donna for the first time in 1976 when I moved to Green Island lighthouse as Principal Keeper. The ship overnighted at the Prince Rupert Coast Guard Base, and such a reception from CG personnel I had never before experienced. The welcome and help was outside their normal duty.

One of the memorable people was Donna Sheppard, the boss of the Personnel office and a nicer person one could not ever meet. She had almost ten (10) years experience there before me.

Over the years of working out of the Prince Rupert office I had a lot of contact with Donna. She and I fought like brother and sister over Personnel matters but remained good friends throughout. 

I am going to miss you Donna. I only wish that i had been able to say goodbye. RIP.


To include your memories in Donna’s memorial please click this link.

More information on Donna’s life can be found here on the InMemoriam.ca website.


Donna Marie (Fraser, Sheppard) Viereck
Donna Marie (Fraser, Sheppard) Viereck
Born In: Whitney Pier, Nova Scotia, Canada
Born: January 8th, 1947
Passed in: Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada
Passed on: February 26th, 2012
It is with deep regret and sorrow we announce the passing of Donna Marie Viereck, a dear wife, mother, stepmother, daughter, sister and grandma, on Feb. 26, 2012, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Donna was the eldest child of Margaret and the late Donald Fraser and grew up in Whitney Pier, Sydney, N.S.
Besides her father, Donna was predeceased by her husband William Sheppard (1990) and her husband Robert Viereck (2008).
Donna is survived by her mother, Margaret; daughter, Marni; son, Craig (Shelly); stepdaughter, Karmen; stepson, David; grandchildren, Riley, Brock, Jade, Dustin, Taylor, Miranda, Katie and Haiden; sisters, Peggy (Murray), Laurie, Judy (Butch), Francie (Charlie), Cathy, Gina, Patricia (Darren); brothers, Kenny (Janet), Brian (Lydia), Rod (Donna), Donald (Shauna), Stephen (Karen) and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Donna will be fondly remembered and missed by Uncles John and Buddy (Marjorie) Rodgers, Aunt Rita Burt and the Sheppard family.
In 1966, Donna moved to Prince Rupert, enjoyed raising her family and had a long career with the Canadian Coast Guard.
Donna was an avid curler and golfer. She also enjoyed her walks with Lola and Lacy, her trips home to Cape Breton and most recently her annual wine tours. The highlight of Donna’s life was any time spent with her children and grandchildren.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Edmunds, the exceptional nursing staff from the palliative care unit that cared for her and the unconditional support of all her friends.
No flowers by request but donations in Donna’s name can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the palliative care unit.
Email condolences can be forwarded to jmaclean@syd.eastlink.ca.
A celebration of Donna’s life will be held at the Prince Rupert Curling Rink on Thursday, March 1, 2012 from 2-4 p.m. [/private]

Risking it All – Oil on Our Coast


Risking it All – Oil on our Coast is a short film that outlines the plans for the pipeline and tanker route and what it means for our beautiful coast. It is produced by Twyla Roscovich in association with Hartley Bay & Gitga’at Nation, Oil on our Coast is meant to inspire, empower and help fuel the battle to save what sustains us. – Twyla Roscovitch

Risking it All – Oil on our Coast from Twyla Roscovich on Vimeo. Continue reading

Do You Have a Photo of Me Mid-1978?

– Rand Grant (relief keeper on Triple Island June – July 1978)

Melville Island - looking NW from Triple - photo Rand Grant (Flickr)

The story is in reference to the photo at right, Rand writes: 

The large Island is Melville. Prince Rupert lies just beyond this. The tanker is on it’s way into Prince Rupert Port. One of the deepest and busiest on the west coast of British Columbia. 

One evening back in ’78 [while stationed on Triple Island], I noticed an Alaskan Cruise ship on it’s way by. I walked up to the roof; it was a beautiful summer evening; I was curious, so started waving my arms over my head, back and forth. I actually witnessed that ship light-up with so many flash-bulbs that it made me laugh.  Continue reading

Prince Rupert’s New Coast Guard Vessel Arrives

The Coast Guard vessel Cape Dauphin sits docked at the Seal Cove base.

By Shaun Thomas – The Northern View

Prince Rupert’s new Coast Guard vessel, the Cape Dauphin, was on display at the Coast Guard station today and those who work with the ship outlined the role it will play in search and rescue on the North Coast.

 She ship is a 47 foot cape-class vessel with a combined 900 horsepower. It can house a crew of four with a maximum speed of 25 knots and is designed to withstand 80 knot winds and 30 foot seas. The ship is also self righting, which means if it flips over in rough seas the engines won’t cut out and the boat will automatically roll back into the proper upright position.

 “This is the standard boat across the country and across the continent. America has about 200 and we have a significant number here in Canada. They fulfill their mission perfectly because of their speed and nimbleness,” said Kevin Tomsett, superintendent on small vessels.

 “They’re a good size and can get into a lot of the areas that other big boats can’t access.”

 The Cape Dauphin, named after a cape in New Brunswick, also features side decks that can be lowered to bring someone out of the water more efficiently and will carry the same medical equipment as the much larger Point Henry, which was decomissioned earlier this year. The two 450 horsepower engines are rated for fuel efficiency and longevity, with the Cape Dauphin able to cover 200 nautical miles on a tank of gas at full speed and the top 2,120 RPM, and up to 800 nautical miles at lower speed.

 A dedication ceremony for the ship will take place later this afternoon.

– photo by Shaun Thomas – The Northern View

In Memorium – Ed Harris (1925 – 1987)

Ed Harris

Edgar (Ed) Dennis Harris Born November 12th 1925 at Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Islands, BC. A second generation Salt Spring Island Hawaiian. Ed married Margaret (Greta) Carlton in Victoria on October 19th, 1946. he had 4 daughters: Lonie Belsey, Lynne Donaldson, Lorna Carrigan and Lorie Palmer and stepdaughter Linda Varcoe.
Ed lived in Victoria, BC and started work with the Canadian Coast Guard in the early 1950’s. In April of 1958 Ed was accepted into the Scholarship Program for Ships Officer training. Based out of Victoria agency, Ed served on the CGM Berens , CGS Estevan, CGS Sir James Douglas and other CCG vessels too numerous to mention.
In 1960 Ed successful competed for the position of Superintendent of Lights with the Department of Transport, Prince Rupert Agency. Edgar and Greta, along with 3 girls moved to Prince Rupert arriving by Coast Guard ship in October 1960. Shortly after moving to Prince Rupert the Harris’s were blessed with their 4th daughter Lorie.
Upon arriving in his new position in Prince Rupert, Ed worked under District Marine Agent, Capt. Ormsby. As Superintendent of Lights he worked very closely with the lightkeepers all along the BC coast – north to Langara and south to the tip of Vancouver Island. He took his position as Superintendent of Lights very seriously as evidence by his personal commitment to visit all the lighthouses in his jurisdiction. He always made a special effort during the holiday season to visit the families on the stations along with Jolly Old Saint Nick.
It was a special treat for me to be able to accompany him from time to time on his visits to the stations and witness the joy he brought to the families that tended the lightstations.
After a number of years as Superintendent of Lights his duties were expanded to include Inland Aids to Navigation which required him to travel to such places as Hay River, Carcross, Whitehorse and Fort St. James. Eventually Ed was promoted to the position of District Marine Agent in the Prince Rupert Agency and served in that position until retiring in 1984.
Edgar and Greta moved to their hobby farm in Kitwanga, BC. In July of 1987.
Dad became ill and he was diagnosed with primary brain cancer and passed away on October 08, 1987. He is survived by his wife Greta, 4 daughters, 1 stepdaughter and 14 grandchildren. Many of Ed’s family followed in his footsteps working for the Canadian Coast Guard. Today there are two son-in-laws and one grandson working. Edgar’s oldest daughter worked for CCG in the 1980s and a grandson and nephew in the 1990s. Kevin Carrigan (son-in-law) is the Superintendent Marine Navigation Services, Victoria CCG; Leslie Palmer (son-in-law) is an officer on the Rescue Vessel with Prince Rupert CCG and Nathan Rochon (grandson) is a Carpenter at the CCG Base Prince Rupert. This text was created for this website by Lonie (Harris) Belsey  June 28, 2012.

To include your memories in Ed’s memorial please click this link.

Below is a poem written by Captain Robert (Bob) Mellis in memory of Ed Harris. Ed was well-liked by all personnel on the BC coast – a man well-missed.

(click for larger size)