Fun things to do
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites
- Playing games
- Wandering in nature
- Wildlife watching
- Capturing Photos
- Storm Watching
- Creating art
Do you love to play hide-and-seek or pretend you are a time traveller?
Pair your imagination with authentic historic buildings, and their surroundings, to create fun games and everlasting memories. How about incorporating some of the site’s cool stories found on the Audio tour , such as the tale of an American spy, to bring your games to another level? The opportunities are endless.
Then, step inside the Fisgard Lighthouse and release your inner child. Find the old trunks; one of them reveals a game of checkers—or “draughts” as the old British lighthouse keepers would say. Place your pieces and find a valiant opponent to take on the challenge. After this “old fashioned” diversion, proceed to the new fun video games and see if you have what it takes to steer a 19th-century schooner or a present-day naval patrol vessel into the harbour. Grip the wooden spokes or the steel helm, set the difficulty level for “new recruit” or “master mariner,” and manoeuver safely or crash onto the rocky shore... it’s all up to you.
Oh, and once you’re done, don’t forget to let the kids play too!
Wind your way through an ocean of blooming camas lilies serenaded by the steady murmur of bees. Spring in the Garry Oak Learning Meadow at Fort Rodd Hill is signalled by a white burst of fawn lilies in early March, soon joined by splashes of sea blush, buttercups, purple camas and chocolate lilies. This is one of the rarest ecosystems in Canada, a delicate landscape once cultivated by the Lekwungen people, who grew camas lilies for their edible bulbs. Take a tour with a naturalist to learn some tips on growing rare wildflowers and attracting bees and butterflies into your own colourful garden naturescape. Escape from the noise and rush of the city in a natural oasis. Visit often to view the cycle of life as the meadow changes through the seasons.
Just past the Garry Oak Learning Meadow, venture on the Historic Nature Trail—an historic sentry path. Shaded by Garry oak, Arbutus, and several other coastal tree species and the smell of moist undergrowth of moss, ferns, and other vegetation typical of the Garry Oak forest ecosystem, this gentle meandering path takes you from the Second World War Officers’ Quarters to the Belmont Battery. Look up to see the “elbow trees”; to provide good visibility from the Upper Battery to the Juan de Fuca Strait and the other defensive sites, these trees were topped, which over the years made them look like they have elbows.
Along the way, find the outdoor displays revealing information about the local vegetation, history, and shared knowledge from Lekwungen-speaking peoples, today known as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.
What an amazing feeling to encounter wildlife in their natural environment. Elusive and quiet, when you spot one behind a Garry oak tree, on the rocky shore or between two waves, it will come as a surprise… a rewarding surprise! One that will put a smile on your face, because you know it’s a privilege to have seen a Columbian blacktail deer, a bouncing mink, a conniving raccoon, a playful river otter, a lurking harbour seal, a robust sea lion or maybe even a dorsal of a whale passing in the far distance. Even more exciting will be to spot the often-forgotten smaller creatures of the tide pools, or the Wandering salamanders seeking a bit of warmth or shade depending on the time of year.
Don’t forget to stick your nose up in the air; bald eagles are often soaring above the hills at Fort Rodd or catching the uplifting ocean air by the lighthouse. Seagulls, turkey vultures and occasionally golden eagles do the same. While they conquer the heights, pelagic and meadow birds take on the calm waters. Great blue herons tip-toe in the shallow shorelines, harlequin and bufflehead ducks rock to small waves, and delicate colourful songbirds scatter to their busy life.
Ready, aim and shoot. Fisgard’s bold colours and the fort’s unusual lines and angles highlight authentic architectural details. The dappled light of the Garry oak meadows and the diverse wildlife provide a spectrum of exclusive moments. Endless opportunities for photographers to ascertain and create exist at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites.
With changing seasons, weather and lighting, with distinct buildings, diverse wildlife, coastal and upland landscapes, and with the multitude of marine vessels passing by, comes a huge range of subject matter to be captured.
The opportunity to seize the perfect shot of an elusive animal can distract from keeping a safe distance from the target and putting both wildlife and photographer at risk. Ensure to follow the Do’s and Don’ts of Photographing Wildlife while setting up your camera.
As an amateur photographer, fire away as you wish. Should you plan on selling your images commercially or if you are hired to capture weddings or events photos, please visit the Commercial film and photography, and travel media for details on how to obtain a permit.
The most scenic and romantic picnic spots in picturesque Victoria are offered at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites. Discover the water’s edge, south-facing beaches, grassy knolls, open fields or Garry Oak meadows. Here you will find the perfect setting for your relaxing mid-day break.
Homemade sandwiches in your bag-lunch, hot chocolate from your thermos or special treats in your hamper for a special occasion, just pack whatever fancies your taste buds. A cozy blanket is all you’ll need, but several picnic tables, including some for visitors with mobility restrictions, are available both in the shade and in the sun. Hey, why not picnic in style with a flowery tablecloth, matching table set, and plastic champagne glasses filled with giggling bubbles of your favorite soda. Remember to visit the Canteen to treat yourself to delicious Heritage ice cream.
Didn’t pack any food? No worries - there are several food providers in the neighborhood. From healthy sandwiches to fast food restaurants, grab what you like on the way to the site.
Please note: there are no fires or barbeques permitted on site.
Grab your warmest coat, rain boots and scarf, and come storm watching at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites. As you carefully approach the water's edge, you taste the air filled with salty droplets, and feel the powerful waves crash on the nearby bluffs. Nature's fall and winter storms are so invigorating!
Look up, Fisgard Lighthouse stands tall beside you, sending its message of warmth and safety. Stepping inside brings welcome relief from the whipping winds. Rain splattering against the windows, you enjoy a game of checkers, and muse on the lonely life of Fisgard's keepers, working here day and night, in all weather.
Please note: our visitors and staff’s safety is the most important; in the event of the weather becoming too extreme, the causeway to the lighthouse and the lighthouse itself as well as other parts or the whole site itself may be temporarily closed.
Nothing is more inspiring than being out in nature. Take the time to find the perfect setting to express yourself through art! Will you paint, create beach art or gently play music?
The stunning Fisgard Lighthouse, the local wildlife, and the visually textured Arbutus and the Garry oaks trees are ideal subjects for your aquarelles. The site’s beaches, the Heritage Nature Trail, and the Garry Oak Learning Meadow have many accessible areas where the ground is fairly leveled for easels and chairs to easily rest. With each tide comes a brand-new canvas to create small to medium size art pieces on a beach. Visitors enjoy the opportunity to marvel at unique and creative beach art and take photos before nature claims this thoughtful gift.
Staff at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites are delighted to welcome art groups, special school programs, and community events. Should you plan a group visit or would like to organize a special event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information. Stay tuned to our Calendar of event and subscribe to our newsletter for information on upcoming art related events and festivals.
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites offers many opportunities to relax and take care of our mental health. A gently stroll to the beach from the direct paved path or a short detour via the Heritage Nature trail can put your mind at ease. Sit on a bench by the sea or in the shade underneath a Garry oak tree, reach for the sky with a big stretch and sigh when on the top of Belmont Battery, or find a spot with a view to do yoga with a friend. Do you like to cozy-up with a book, that’s fine too; bring a blanket and set yourself in one of the Red Chairs, the three sets of chairs are strategically placed at the site to provide a quiet space with great views —the one set of chairs located in the Garry Oak Learning Meadow is accessible via an almost flat compacted trail, whereas the other two are placed on rocky bluffs. .
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