Description of Historic Place
The Sheringham Point Lighthouse has stood on the west coast of Vancouver Island since 1912. The white hexagonal reinforced concrete tower tapers upward, flanked on each side by exterior buttresses, and is topped by a red circular metal lantern and gallery. Sheringham Point Lighthouse guides vessels as they enter the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which provides access from the Pacific Ocean to significant ports, including Victoria and Vancouver. It remains one of the few lighthouses serving Vancouver Island that is accessible by land.
There is one related building on the site that contributes to the heritage character of the lighthouse: (1) the 1980 engine room.
The Sheringham Point Lighthouse is a heritage lighthouse because of its historical, architectural, and community values.
The Sheringham Point Lighthouse is a very good example of the expansion of the system of navigational aids along British Columbia’s coast. Since its construction in 1912, the lighthouse guided marine traffic through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which had become a strategic shipping channel by the early 20th century. The tragic shipwreck of the S.S. Valencia in 1906, where the vessel misread the entrance to the Strait resulting in over 100 deaths, and prompted the Department of Marine and Fisheries to improve its system of aids to navigation along this corridor.
With British Columbia’s economy booming at the turn of the 20th century, Sheringham Point Lighthouse played a vital role in safeguarding water routes for the many regional industries that were dependent on marine shipping, including canneries, logging, and mining. Today, the lighthouse continues to serve international vessels exporting and importing goods, as well as recreational boaters.
The Sheringham Point Lighthouse is an excellent example of a lighthouse design that combined engineering and functionality with pleasing aesthetic expression. The hexagonal reinforced-concrete design of the tower includes six buttresses that flare out to support the gallery. The red, two-leveled metal lantern is capped by a rounded dome and topped with a finial and weathervane. The added strength of the buttresses provides additional resistance against the fierce winds that blow along British Columbia’s coastline.
The Sheringham Point Lighthouse is a very good example of the reinforced-concrete lighthouses designed by William P. Anderson, then-Chief Engineer at the Department of Marine and Fisheries, during a period of innovation in lighthouse design and experimentation with a relatively new building material. This specific design was only used from 1907 until 1912, making Sheringham Point one of the final towers constructed using this plan. The original 1912 lighthouse remains intact and in good condition, indicating that the design and materials used were suitable for this location.
The Sheringham Point Lighthouse is situated among the lush forests of the West Coast, with views of the Olympic Mountains from its rocky shoreline. The setting and stunning surroundings of the lighthouse establishes the maritime character of the region.
The Sheringham Point Lighthouse is a symbol for both the local communities and for mariners plying the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It remains one of the few lighthouses on Vancouver Island accessible by land and is thus a familiar landmark for local residents.
One related building, as listed in section 1, contributes to the heritage character of the lighthouse.
The following character-defining elements of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse should be respected:
— its intact structural form, height, profile, and balanced proportions, characterized by its concrete flying buttresses;
— the tall hexagonal, tapered reinforced-concrete tower, embraced by six exterior buttresses with a generous platform directly below the lantern;
— its rectangular windows at alternating heights on the sides of the tower;
— its ceiling decorated with moulded fascia which meets the viewing platform;
— its red metal lantern capped by a rounded dome and topped with a spherical finial and weathervane;
— its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme, consisting of white for the tower and buttresses, and red for the gallery railing; and,
— its visual prominence in relation to the water and landscape.
The following character-defining elements of the related building should be respected:
— its respective built form and proportions;
— its traditional red and white exterior colour scheme;
— its contextual relationships to the lighthouse within a lightstation setting.