Estevan Point Lighthouse
Alberni-Clayoquot, British Columbia
(© Kraig Anderson - lighthousefriends.com)
Southern extremity of the Hesquiat Peninsula, Vancouver Island, Alberni-Clayoquot, British Columbia
Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (S.C. 2008, c 16)
1909 to 1909
1910 to 1910
Estevan Point Lighthouse
Description of Historic Place
The Estevan Point Lighthouse is a 30.5 metres (100 ft) tall white octagonal tower of reinforced concrete comprised of a central column surrounded by eight immense flying buttresses and surmounted by a gallery topped by a red circular metal lantern. It is located at the southern extremity of the Hesquiat Peninsula on Vancouver Island’s rugged and remote western coast.
There are nine related buildings on the site that contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse: (1) the 1954 Lightkeeper’s Dwelling #1 – Crew/Spare; (2) the 1941 Assistant Lightkeeper’s Dwelling #2; (3) the 1963 Lightkeeper’s Dwelling #3 – Senior; (4) the 1971 fog alarm building; (5) the 1980 engine building; (6) the 1986 radio transmitter building; (7) the 1987 garage and storage building; (8) the 1975 workshop; and, (9) the shed.
The Estevan Point Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.
The Estevan Point Lighthouse is an excellent example of the expansion of the navigation system along the British Columbia coast and of the provision of coastal navigational aid as a result of numerous wrecks in the area. With its reinforced concrete and flying buttresses, it illustrates early 20th century experiments in lighthouse design and materials and is also considered to be the supreme example of Colonel William Anderson’s, Chief Engineer, Department of Marine and Fisheries, experimental lighttower design employing flying buttresses.
The Estevan Point Lighthouse helped to develop and maintain navigation around Vancouver Island and in the Juan de Fuca Strait due to an increase in the volume of international commercial shipping from British Columbia. With the rapid growth of coastal trade as a result of the development of lumbering, fishing and mining industries in the area, the lighthouse helped to guide mariners on the preliminary approaches to the Juan de Fuca Strait, which in turn gave access to the ports of Vancouver, Seattle and Victoria.
The Estevan Point Lighthouse is an excellent example of an innovative lighthouse design that combined experimental engineering and functionality with pleasing aesthetic expression. It is characterized by its tall, tapered profile and a strong vertical emphasis created by the soaring concrete buttresses and the interplay of light and shadow produced by the curving buttress attachments. The large red circular lantern is noteworthy as an example of a large lantern from the late 19th and early 20th centuries designed to house the largest lenses in use in Canada.
The Estevan Point Lighthouse reflects the groundbreaking application of reinforced concrete construction to tall structures. It excels in structural innovation with its eight flying buttresses that are designed to stiffen the tower and counteract wind sway.
The Estevan Point Lighthouse establishes the maritime coastal setting of Estevan Point. Dominating its rugged and isolated site, the lighthouse is a West Coast landmark. As one of the first lighthouses seen by mariners on the approach to Canada’s coastline, it was designed to function as a landfall light on the Pacific Coast and is well known to deep sea and coastal traffic.
Despite its remote setting, on the isolated north-western coast of Vancouver Island, the Estevan lighthouse is regarded as an important cultural element of British Columbia’s built history and Canadian lighthouse history. The lightstation is also of importance to the Hesquiat First Nation. With the development of the tourism industry around Hesquiat Peninsula, the lighthouse is welcoming an increasing number of hikers each year.
Nine related buildings, as listed above, contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse.
The following character-defining elements of the Estevan Point Lighthouse should be respected:
— its location on an isolated site on a cliff at the end of Hesquiat Peninsula on Vancouver Island;
— its intact, as-built structural form, height, profile and balanced proportions characterized by its flying buttresses of reinforced concrete;
— its octagonal reinforced concrete tower consisting of a central column surrounded by eight concrete flying buttresses and curving buttress attachments;
— its concrete gallery with a metal railing surrounding the red circular metal lantern;
— its interior spiral steel staircase of 155 steps;
— its tall narrow window openings placed in accordance with the interior spiral steel staircase;
— its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme, with the white tower and buttresses accented by the red metal lantern and gallery railing;
— its visual prominence in relation to the water, cliffs, and landscape.
The following character-defining elements of the related buildings should be respected:
— their respective built forms and proportions;
— their traditional red and white exterior colour schemes;
— their contextual relationships to the lighthouse within a lightstation setting.