OTTAWA, May 25, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced the designation of the first two heritage lighthouses in British Columbia under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. The East Point Lighthouse on Saturna Island and the Fisgard Lighthouse in Colwood were designated on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. "I'm delighted to add East Point Lighthouse on Saturna Island and Fisgard Lighthouse on Vancouver Island, two noteworthy examples of Canadian lighthouses in British Columbia, to the family of designated heritage lighthouses," said Minister Kent. "Our Government is committed to protecting for future generations as many examples as possible of these important symbols of our seafaring heritage."
"Lighthouses are key symbols of Canada's maritime heritage," said the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and Minister Responsible for British Columbia. "As the first British Columbian lighthouses designated under the Act, British Columbians are pleased that the East Point light tower with its fog alarm building will join the Fisgard Lighthouse as National Historic Sites."
"Our lightstations are not only active navigation aids for maritime traffic but they are also a treasure chest of community history, stories and economic opportunity," said Pat Carney who was actively involved in the heritage designation process. "Many coastal communities link their community identity with their lighthouses to promote tourism and the work of local authors, artists and crafts people."
Established 125 years ago, the East Point lightstation on Saturna Island was the first to mark the intricate channel between the Juan de Fuca and Georgia straits. The East Point heritage lighthouse designation includes the former fog alarm building which has been adapted for use as an interpretive centre on Saturna Island's rich history.
Construction of the Fisgard lighthouse was completed in 1860. It is Canada's oldest lighthouse in British Columbia and was built to mark Esquimalt Harbour as the home base for the British Royal Navy Pacific Squadron. Today, Fisgard continues to mark Esquimalt Harbour, which is the home base for the Royal Canadian Navy on the Pacific Coast. The Fisgard lighthouse was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1958.
The East Point and Fisgard heritage lighthouses are administered by Parks Canada and can be visited by the public. Saturna Island is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and the Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada is just a short drive from downtown Victoria.
The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act allows for the identification and protection of federally-owned lighthouses on Canada's coastal and inland waters that have significant heritage value. The Act, which was adopted in May 2008 and is administered by Parks Canada, helps ensure the heritage character of these heritage lighthouses is protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. Six heritage lighthouses have been designated to date, with more to come.
For additional information, please see the accompanying backgrounder at www.parkscanada.gc.ca under Media Room.
SOURCE: Parks Canada
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