Wednesday, July 13, 2022

A Lighthouse Visit


Lighthouses have an air of romance and adventure about them, but the reality of life as a lighthouse keeper soon dispelled any notion of ease. Fisgard Lighthouse, built in 1860, is the oldest lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. There are few staffed lighthouses remaining, and Fisgard was automated in 1928. 

Lighthouses are models of sustainable living where nothing goes to waste. "Even bent nails can be straightened and meals planned a month ahead to that day of delight when a helicopter comes hammering down through the drizzle with fresh food and a fat sack of mail," says the author of Lights of the Inside Passage. 

Fisgard Lighthouse is now part of the Fort Rodd Hill Historic Site of Canada, and is an enjoyable place to visit, with lots of interactive games and activities for children of all ages. Across the Strait of Georgia, the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, USA, float above the clouds.


The lighthouse sits at the entrance to Esquimalt Harbour, where Canada's west coast navy is based. Whereas the lighthouse keepers who once manned the light had to row from shore, a causeway now enables visitors to stroll to the lighthouse.

William H. Bevis came to Canada from England in 1858, and became the second lighthouse keeper at Fisgard. He suffered from a long illness, and his wife Amelia and a niece often performed the duties of the lighthouse keeper. When Bevis died in 1879, the marine agent recommended that Amelia be appointed as the new keeper. Currently, there is a framed letter on the wall of the lighthouse denying her the position because, "it is against the rules of the Department to place Lighthouses in charge of women". However, the two women stayed on until the replacement arrived, and did a fine job of keeping the lighthouse running. 

I visited Fisgard Lighthouse and Fort Rodd Hill with my eldest daughter and Sadie. Here they are in a gunner's lookout. When we went into the lighthouse, Sadie and I played an abbreviated game of checkers just as lighthouse keepers from long ago might have whiled away long hours. 

Back at home, poppies fill the garden with pompoms of pink. The seeds for these came from my neighbour and they come up where they will each year. I transplant some, and others I let grow among the strawberries and lettuce. 

Our hydrangeas have loved the wet cool spring and are filled with beautiful blooms. I have eight hydrangea bushes and all of them were given to me (a few are self-rooted). The bush above was a Mother's Day gift from my children the first year we moved to Victoria, now 20 years ago. 

I am not a fan of orange in the garden, but a clump of day lilies (also given to me) pairs so well with another blue hydrangea that I let them stay. 

Summer is here, and it's very pleasant. Not too hot, but warm enough to take off the light sweater I put on in the chilly mornings. How I love summer!


  1. The lighthouse and its history are of great interest! Your visit there with daughter and grandson make it an enjoyable experience.

  2. I have stayed in a lighthouse in Scotland it was one of my wish when we went on a road trip with my son.
    This one is very nice so are your flowers. Ours are suffering from the heat so much! I am waiting for cooler weather.

  3. A lighthouse must be such a lonely place, but I'm sure the two ladies made it a home! How very sexist to deny women a place.
    Arent your poppies a delight? They do just pop up from nowhere.

  4. Wonderful lighthouse. So much bigger than most of the lighthouses on this island.

  5. Oh what beautiful and unusual poppies!

    Have never visited a lighthouse myself.


  6. Fascinating pictures and story. I love those beautiful flowers.

  7. My day lilies have also bloomed!

    Thanks for the the illuminating lighthouse facts. In 2010, my friend and I did a roadtrip to Boston and Hyannis and got to see some cool lighthouses.

  8. I love visiting lighthouses. The one you shared it lovely. Your flowers are looking beautiful. Enjoy your summer weather!

  9. I like to visit lighthouses. What a fun summer expedition. Your flowers are beautiful. Summer has finally arrived! Hope your week is going well.

  10. I enjoy lighthouses, too. It's a treat to see them especially living as far inland as I do! This one is in a beautiful setting.

  11. I love the summer months too even though it is very hot here this year. I love the lighthouse you visited and learning more about it. Of course now I wish I could see it too. Love your pretty orange flowers!

  12. Hydrangeas are the best flower! They look great at every stage. And the tiger lilies do look a perfect contrast with the blue. We usually say we return to Oregon in the summer to cool down (from Florida), but it has actually been a little on the hot side for a few days.

  13. Your blue Hydrangea is so lovely. The orange day lily looks stunning with the blue behind it.

  14. The lighthouse sitting on a rock like that has extra oceanside magic. Your beautiful blue hydrangeas remind me of cupcakes.

  15. Really enjoyed the story of the scenic lighthouse Lorrie - have always loved them and admired the 'keepers' whose lives were so remote and often very dangerous. We have many beautiful lighthouses along the NC coast and I think I've visited all of them over the years.

    The last lighthouse I actually visited was at Cape Horn on that cruise to Patagonia and Chile a few years back. The most distant, remote one, and still manned by a Chilean Navy officer and his family, including wife and two young children! Apparently the kids love living there so much they asked their father to extend his 2 year posting, which he did!
    Love your flowers - especially envious of your cooler weather allowing the blue hydrangeas to actually remain blue - mine are now completely faded. . . .. but I still love them!
    Enjoy your summer days dear friend.
    Mary x

  16. Having visited several lighthouses here I am always impressed by just how difficult and tedious the lives must have been. Many of the lighthouses here required two keepers to work for two months at a time. They always had two just in case one of them became ill or even worse died - no mobile phones then of course.
    Love your pink pompom poppies and the blue hydrangeas - I have acquired,I know not where, several large red pompom poppies, but sadly they last for just the day, especially during our current heatwave.

  17. Lighthouses have such a romantic quality and this beauty is no exception. Each one has an intriguing history.

    Sadie and her mom are like two peas in a pod with Sadie very much resembling her mother.

    And your garden is happily blooming. I am glad that you allowed the lily to stay. If I took out my common lilies, there'd be no
    color at all in my garden.

    Have a blessed weekend...

  18. Hi Lorrie~ Beautiful lighthouse and fascinating story about, Amelia and her niece. That must have been very difficult to be denied a job you had been doing and doing well. Your hydrangeas are just gorgeous, and I love the blue with the orange lilies. I have never seen a poppy like that, what a wonderful gift. I really love seeing all of your beautiful photos, thank you for sharing! Hugs, Barb

  19. Amazing pictures!!
    Love from Titti

  20. I love lighthouses; theres's something nostalgic and sentimental about them and what they were used for. I think it's easy to forget how alone a lighthouse keeper would feel out there.

  21. Summer is looking very nice in your corner, Lorrie.
    I enjoyed learning a bit of the history of Fisgard lighthouse. It sure is in a pretty setting. I know you gals must have had a great visit. Back home your garden is looking lovely. I have never seen a poppy quite like that. It's a beauty.

  22. What a wonderful little lighthouse! There's just something about them, isn't there?

    Gorgeous plants!

  23. Lorrie - these stories of women being denied opportunities - even when they were already performing the role. Sigh. Love that there are interactive activities for children (and adults)!

    We also had a wet, cool spring, and it is fascinating to witness how the garden is responding. Some plants like it - others, not so much!

  24. There's something fascinating about lighthouses.

    Stunning pictures, Lorrie.

    I enjoyed learning the history of Fisgard lighthouse.

  25. Yes, there is something intriguing about lighthouses! They are a fascinating part of our past. I always enjoyed reading books that featured lighthouses to my children. I love that there are interactive activities at the lighthouse you visited.

    A summer in which one wears a sweater in the morning . . . ahhhh. That sounds like my kind of summer! Your garden is lovely, as always!

  26. What an interesting post! Surely the life of a lighthouse keeper was uncomfortable but the air of adventure and meditative solitude remain. :)
    Your flowers are wonderful. The daylily has lovely different shades of orange and red and the combination of orange and blue looks gorgeous. I'm sorry to hear your summer has been cool and rainy. August can still offer much beauty and pleasant temperatures.
    Take care!


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