Activities and experiences
Visiting Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites will be different than previous years. Be prepared, and know what is open and closed before you go.
- Garry Oak Learning Meadow
- Wildlife watching
- Storm watching
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 state-of-the-art 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.
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.
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 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, just pack whatever fancies your taste buds. A cozy blanket is all you’ll need, but several picnic tables, including some for disabled visitors, are available both in the open and under the historic tent. Hey, why not picnic in style with a flowery table cloth, matching table set, and plastic champagne glasses filled with giggling bubbles of your favorite soda.
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 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 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.