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Fisgard Lighthouse from Fort Rodd Hill

Fort Rodd Hill

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Victoria

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse in Victoria

Activity:
Museum, Lighthouse
Difficulty:
Easy
Location:
Victoria
Time:
45min+
Distance:
2km (1.25mi)

Activity:

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Accessibility:

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Where to this weekend, Vancouver Island: Historic Fortress and Lighthouse In Victoria

Don't Get Lost — Stay Safe

At the entrance of the Esquimalt Harbour lies Fort Rodd Hill – a decommissioned west coast artillery fortress. A visit here is straight out of a Nancy Drew novel with secret bunkers and British Columbia’s oldest permanent lighthouse.

Perched out on what was once an island, Fisgard Lighthouse is the perfect photo backdrop for your west coast adventure. Built by the British and automated in 1929, it is still operational today.

Fort Rodd Hill: A Coastal Defense Bastion

Fort Rodd Hill, operational from 1895 to 1956, stands as a testament to Canada’s strategic military history. It was part of the Victoria-Esquimalt fortifications, specifically designed to protect the naval base.

This coastal artillery fort presents an intriguing exploration of Canada’s preparations for coastal defence, especially during times when the threat of Pacific attacks seemed imminent.

Fort Rod Hill Tower

 

Fisgard Lighthouse: Guiding Light into History

Gold was discovered in the Fraser Valley in 1858, which led to thousands of miners and prospectors descending on the area. The lighthouse was built as a safety measure after an abundance of shipwrecks along the coast, including areas within the Juan de Fuca Strait.

The area has loosely been dubbed the “The Graveyard of the Pacific.”

Fisgard Lighthouse

 

Exploring Fort Rodd Hill

As you walk through Fort Rodd Hill, you’re stepping back into a time when soldiers vigilantly guarded the coast. The fort’s well-preserved gun batteries, barracks, and intriguing underground magazines tell a story of readiness and resilience.

Each structure and artifact is a piece of the puzzle, illustrating the daily lives of the soldiers stationed here. The interpretive signs enrich your experience, offering detailed insights into Victoria’s military past. Don’t miss the chance to explore the command posts, still adorned with period furniture and mannequins dressed in military uniforms, giving you a true sense of life at the fort during its operational years.

Fort Rodd Hill Barracks

Adults can tour the property for $8.50, and youths have free entry. Serving in active artillery defence from 1895 to 1956, Fort Rodd was declared a national historic site in 1958.

The area is larger than expected and has wonderful displays of barracks, two fortified sections and cannons that have been upgraded during the 60 years of operations, including guns installed to help protect Canada from potential attacks during WWII. This is sure to catch the attention of the history buff in the family.

Discovering Fisgard Lighthouse

A short walk from the fort leads to the historic Fisgard Lighthouse. As you approach, the striking red and white tower stands as a beacon of history against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.

Interior of Fisgard Lighthouse

Inside, the lighthouse has been transformed into a museum, showcasing exhibits that narrate the tales of lost ships, the demanding life of a lighthouse keeper, and the battles fought against the fierce West Coast storms.

The lighthouse not only offers a rich historical experience but also provides breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains and the surrounding ocean, making it a perfect spot for a peaceful moment of reflection.

 

FortRodd Hill Map

During the summer months, costumed performers immerse visitors in the life of living at Fort Rodd and Fisgard Lighthouse – the many challenges the people of the fort faced and what was involved in the defence of this beautiful western coastline.

You’ll receive a small taste of what living in the trenches was like, along with the training and chores needed to keep the lighthouse running. You can also take self-guided audio tours as you walk the grounds and listen to accounts of life at the fort, including dialogue from an American spy and First Nations peoples.

 

Camping

Feeling extra adventurous? For a truly immersive experience, consider staying overnight at Fort Rodd Hill in one of the 6 – oTENTik tents. These semi-permanent tents, exclusive to Parks Canada, offer a comfortable camping experience, blending the outdoor adventure with the comforts of home.

Equipped with beds and basic furniture, they provide a cozy stay within the historic walls of the fort. It’s a unique opportunity to experience the fort in a different light, perhaps imagining the life of a soldier stationed here long ago.

Just Down the Road:

Fort Rodd Hill is in close proximity to two other great stops. For an exceptional day, we suggest visiting Hatley Castle Gardens in the morning, then heading to Esquimalt Lagoon for a picnic or food truck and spending the afternoon at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse.

And if you are looking for another historic stop Macaulay Point Park was once another military base with concrete gun batteries along the coast.

FAQ

Are Dogs Allowed?
No pets, Pets are not permitted inside the national historic site, the visitor centre or historic buildings.

Is Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse Open all Year Round?
Yes, 7 days a week.

Winter months – October 16th – April 30th – (10am-4pm) The grounds and washrooms are open, and when we visited during the week, there was no charge to enter.
Fisgard Lighthouse and Historic Buildings are open Saturday and Sunday only.

Summer months – May 1st – October 15th  – (10am-5pm)
Fisgard Lighthouse and historic buildings are open 7 days a week

Can You Camp at Fort Rodd Hill?
Parks Canada offers a glamping style option for sleeping within the fort walls. With only five oTENTik Tents available running May to October, you might want to book fast. 

 

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Original Author:

Modified: January 29, 2024
Last Visit: February 20, 2022

Thank you for visiting – I hope you found the information you were looking for at VIBL (Vancouver Island Bucket List) please continue to discover all of the great places that makes Vancouver Island so great! 

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