the ocean that was the historic gateway to Sooke and the
surrounding coastal centers.
the days when the Peoples of the First Nations traveled
by dugout, in both ceremonial and war canoes, the ocean
became the main route for exploration and commerce.
single-masted sloops to four and five-masted schooners
and barques, to paddle wheelers, to steamships billowing
smoke from their stacks, sailors navigated vessels
to the new colonies.
not only by fierce storms but by fog and unexpected
currents, many vessels came to grief on the reefs
and rugged shores of the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The term "graveyard of the Pacific"
of the most distressing of the many wrecks that occurred
was the loss of the iron steamship Valencia
near Pachena Point in 1906, where 126 men, women and
children perished in sight of shore.
the resulting outcry, the Canadian government laid plans
to expand its system of navigational aids on the Pacific
coast. The West Coast Lifesaving Trail was created
from the old telegraph trail that linesmen trekked to maintain
the early tree-to-tree telegraph that connected Cape Beale
to Victoria. An expanded program of lighthouse construction
was undertaken throughout the west coast.
of these was Triangle. Off Cape Scott, on the northern tip
of Vancouver Island, lay a series of small islets, with
the high-pinnacled Triangle Island at the furthest extreme.
In 1910 a lighthouse was constructed there, almost 700 feet
above the sea.
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.
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,
the historic cast-iron and glass dome stands on the grounds
of the Sooke Region Museum, presenting a unique opportunity
for visitors to enjoy a hands-on experience with one of the
most dramatic lenses ever built.