Triangle Island Light

by Captain Alec Provan and John MacFarlane 2016

Triangle Island

The Triangle Island Light while it was still in storage at the Coast Guard Base in Victoria BC. Lanny Seaton who was in charge of Coast Guard Base maintenance is standing at the structure. The curtains in the lamp house hide the huge Fresnel lens inside which, if exposed to the sun, creates an unanticipated focused beam which can create fires on surrounding structures and trees. Hence the curtains are kept drawn all the time as a precaution.(Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )

A lighthouse existed on the Island from 1909 to 1919 but was abandoned. The forty–six foot tower had a circular lantern house that housed a huge first–order Fresnel lens. The Sooke Regional Museum website states that "The beam cast by Triangle Island"s gigantic First Order Fresnel lens, rotating on a 950 lb. bed of mercury, could be seen for almost fifty miles. Experience showed, however, that because of its lofty height, the light was frequently shrouded by clouds and not visible to mariners. Lightkeepers and their families lived at this remote outpost over the next decade, under the most dreadful conditions. Gale force winds swept into the sea everything not tied down, and on occasions when storms prevented the arrival of supply vessels, the larder grew desperately bare. In 1920 the Triangle Island Lighthouse was declared a greater burden than a benefit, and dismantled."

Conditions on the island are so fierce there that it was not replaced by a minor aid to navigation after its removal.

Triangle Island

Triangle Island Light showing the wooden tramway constructed to transport equipment and supplies landed on teh beach up to the tower and lightkeeper residence. (Photo from the MMBC collection (P4961). )

Triangle Island is a small island, approximately 119 hectares (290 acres) in area, located off the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It is situated approximately 45 kilometres (28 miles) from Vancouver Island and 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from Sartine Island, Triangle Island's nearest neighbour in the Scott Islands group. It was named for the suggestion that it resembles a triangular shape.

Triangle Island

The relocated Triangle lighthouse at the Sooke Museum. Graham Kennell, who was a Draftsman at the Victoria Coast Guard Base Base, is standing for scale. (Photo from the Captain Alec Provan collection. )

The picture was taken at the Sooke Museum following the restoration and transfer from the Coast Guard Base in Victoria in 2004 and its subsequent renovation.

Triangle Island

Old lighthouse hands and spouses gathered to celebrate the opening of the Triangle Island Light at the Sooke Region Museum. Linda Weeden, Don Weeden (retired lightkeeper),Graham Kennell, Doug Fraser (retired lightkeeper), Gwen Fraser and Lanny Seaton at the right. The spouses of Lightkeepers were frequently employed as Assistant Keeper. (Photo from the Captain Alec Provan collection. )

The lens, the largest of its kind, was dismantled by retired Canadian Coast Guard employees. It was packed in blankets and moved to the Sooke Region Museum in wooden crates. The original lens used at Triangle Island went astray years ago. No one now seems to know how or when, so was replaced by an identical lens used at the Estevan Point Light.

Triangle Island is the location of British Columbia’s largest seabird colony, hosting such species as the Cassin’s auklet and the tufted puffin.[2] The Cassin’s auklet population is the world’s largest. The island is administratively a part of the Scott Islands Marine Wildlife Area and is more specifically home to the Anne VallĂ©e Triangle Island Ecological Reserve, named after a researcher who frequented the island and died there in an accident in 1982. Visiting the island requires permits from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment.


To quote from this article please cite:

Provan, Captain Alec and John MacFarlane (2016) Triangle Island Light. 2016.

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