Parks Canada's infrastructure program
Giving our past a future. Fort Rodd Hill.
We haven’t looked this good in 100 years!
In 2015, the Government of Canada issued Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites 10 million dollars as part of the Government of Canada’s federal infrastructure investment plan.
Protecting the important buildings of these national historic sites gives our past a future, so that we may continue to share our stories with generations to come.
Projects at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites
Fort Rodd Hill Restorations
Over the past five years, Parks Canada has restored Fort Rodd Hill, and we can’t wait for you to come and explore the site in its pristine condition.
Fort Rodd Hill is one of the only intact 19th century coastal military fortifications left in Canada. It was built in the 1890’s to protect Vancouver Island’s Esquimalt Military Base, and later used during World War One and World War Two as part of Canada’s Coastal Defense System.
After over 100 years of exposure to the marine environment, Fort Rodd Hill’s concrete walls and buildings were at risk of becoming unsafe and permanently lost.
Some of the restoration highlights include:
The Upper Battery
- The Upper Battery Magazine, originally built into the earth in the 1890s to store ammunition, was suffering from nearly 125 years of moisture due to our damp and salty climate. In 2017, our infrastructure team worked hard to install a water resistant barrier beneath the soil on top of the magazine to help control the interior climate and preserve it for another 125 years.
- Our restoration team repaired the crumbling, cracking concrete of the Upper Battery Guardhouse and defensible walls. When you examine these renovated structures, you will see that we purposely kept the ‘scars’ of these repairs visible. This restoration work is now part of the stories these walls will tell to future generations.
- Our infrastructure team performed a heritage restoration of the Electric Searchlight Directing Station to keep it safe and solid for another century.
The Hidden Searchlight
- Originally built in 1940, this “fisherman’s hut” hid one of the 17 searchlights located throughout the fortress. When approaching the site from the beach, you will see what appears to be an old, red wooden boat house. However, this building is actually made of metal. Rolling sliding doors open up to reveal the hidden searchlight. This was restored it to its wartime camouflage scheme.
The Warrant Officer’s Quarters
- Extensive work was done to restore the exterior of the Warrant Officer’s Quarters, including replacement of the slate shingle roof and repointing of exterior brickwork, which was starting to crumble and all apart.
Exterior lighting at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse
An exterior lighting system has been installed, which highlights the spectacular features of the fort and lighthouse at night, and improves safety for visitors staying overnight in the oTENTiks.
Garry oak ecosystems species at risk recovery
A visit to Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse national historic sites is not only an opportunity to take a step back in time and learn about our military and coastal navigation history, but it is also an immersion into one of Canada's rarest habitats: a Garry oak ecosystem. Visit the Garry Oak Learning Meadow, a garden bursting with native plants, and witness the vibrancy of this restored habitat. Ask for a copy of the Garry Oak Gardener's Handbook and let it guide you to the satisfying practice of naturescaping your green space with low maintenance native plants. Two new self-guided interpretive trails await, allowing you to explore Fort Rodd Hill's natural spaces and get interesting insights into the history of the land and its people.