Point Atkinson Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada
West Vancouver, British Columbia
© Point Atkinson Lighthouse, Mandy Jansen, 2009.
Burrard Inlet, West Vancouver, British Columbia
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1912 to 1912
Event, Person, Organization:
Point Atkinson Lighthouse
Research Report Number:
MAY 1974-L, NOV 1974-N
Existing plaque: Burrard Inlet West Vancouver, British Columbia
This lighthouse replaced an 1875 building of which the foundations of the keeper's dwelling survive. Built in 1912 by contractor W.H. Rourke, the hexagonal reinforced concrete tower, 18.3 metres high, is an early example of this design. The exterior buttresses are similar to those found on other lighthouses elsewhere in Canada. The importance of this light on the outer approach to Burrard Inlet is indicated by the powerful third order dioptric light which is a product of the English firm of Chance Brothers. It has a focal plane of 32.9 metres above high water.
Description of Historic Place
Point Atkinson Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada is located in the 75-hectare Lighthouse Park, across Burrard Inlet from Vancouver, British Columbia. It stands on a promontory adjacent to the largest first growth stand of coastal elevation trees in the Lower Mainland. Measuring 18.3 metres in height, the hexagonal light tower is constructed of reinforced concrete. The keeper’s cottage and a small complex of army huts built during the Second World War stand next to the tower. The official recognition refers to only the lighthouse.
Point Atkinson Lighthouse was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1974 because of: the hexagonal reinforced concrete tower is an early example of this design.
The first of three lighthouses to serve the Port of Vancouver, the Point Atkinson Lighthouse was built to protect Vancouver's growing international shipping trade. Constructed in 1912 by contractor W.H. Rourke, it replaced an earlier wooden structure that was built in 1875. Its reinforced concrete construction was an innovation in lighthouse design that appeared in Canada in the first decade of the 20th century. Now automated, the lighthouse continues to provide navigational aid to all marine traffic approaching Vancouver from the northwest.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1974, October 1992.
Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include: its location on the outer approach to Burrard Inlet; its hexagonal, tapered reinforced concrete tower, 18.3 metres high from base to vane; its circular lantern, and platform with pronounced overhang; its exterior buttresses; its continuous metal railing that encircles the lantern and tower and continues to the keeper’s house; views of Burrard Inlet and unobstructed views to the structure from the water.