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Vancouver History: Lighthouses


Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 — 5:06pm PDT
Comments 8

Being a seaside town, Vancouver has always had several lighthouses standing guard atop rocky perches. This morning I put the call out on Twitter for history post suggestions and the theme of lighthouses came from Tyler Ingram. Three lighthouses in particular came to mind so I have decided to profile them in a “Then and Now” format.

Brockton Point and Prospect Point Lighthouses
The original tower for the Brockton Point Lighthouse was built in the 1890s and the current structure as we know it was constructed in 1914. In 1926 both the Prospect Point and Brockton Point Lighthouses were de-staffed and converted to automatic control1.


1931 – Royal Canadian Air Force Photograph – Archives Item #Van Sc P14

2006 – Photo credit: tunnelbug on Flickr

However, during the time that the Lions Gate Bridge was being constructed (1923 – 1939) the Prospect Point Lighthouse would pass and receive signals from the Signal Station at the top of the hill, where the lookout sits today. Some look back on this as being one of the most important structures in Vancouver’s history.

Point Atkinson Lighthouse
The original lighthouse was installed by the Dominion in 1875 as was replaced in November of 1912. “Lighthouse Park was originally set aside as a timber preserve to provide fuel for the lighthouse and its steam fog alarm, so the Park has never been logged and retains many of its original native trees and plants.” 2


1940s – Archives Item #Out N140

2010 – Photo credit: Tyler Ingram on Flickr

In 1974 diesel-powered airchimes would sound the horn every 53 seconds in foggy weather and could carry 5-10 miles. Locals came to call this noisy neighbour “Old Wahoo” until 1996 when it was replaced by a solar-powered electronic signal, which could reach about 2 miles3. Nowadays it makes for a great hiking destination via Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.

Should you have any suggestions for next week’s history post — if there’s anything about Vancouver’s past that you’d like to know — please feel free to contact me.

Sources: 1VancouverHistory.ca, 2VancouverHistory.ca, 3VancouverHistory.ca

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8 comments

  1. stefanie says:

    Hi! I love your then and now posts, they are really interesting. Its amazing to see how the city has changed, or stayed intact over time. I checked back, and didn’t anything yet done on False Creek? If I’m correct, it might be fun to look up how the area changed over the years….

  2. Tyler says:

    You still have to get out over to Lighthouse Park! If you guys want, we could all go together for the day and walk around the park and stop off at the bluff for some photos.

  3. Mozy says:

    I’ve been on hikes through Lighthouse Park in West Van, if you get a chance you should take an evening or afternoon off to do it. It’s almost as good as Whyte Cliff Park in Horseshoe Bay. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Raul says:

    I’ve been to the Lighthouse Park quite a few times, and I absolutely love it. Agreed, you really should go! (I’ll join you guys!)

  5. Steve says:

    Hi! I love your then and now posts, they are really interesting. Its amazing to see how the city has changed, or stayed intact over time. I checked back, and didn’t anything yet done on False Creek? If I’m correct, it might be fun to look up how the area changed over the years….

  6. Julie says:

    I’ve been to the Lighthouse Park quite a few times, and I absolutely love it. Agreed, you really should go! (I’ll join you guys!)

  7. Charles says:

    You still have to get out over to Lighthouse Park! If you guys want, we could all go together for the day and walk around the park and stop off at the bluff for some photos.

  8. Rick says:

    I’ve been to the Lighthouse Park quite a few times, and I absolutely love it. Agreed, you really should go! (I’ll join you guys!)

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