Restoring a Historical Community Asset in Shirley

Ian Fawcett, CEO of Change Canada Consultants Ltd and the Sheringham Lighthouse Restoration Project Manager

Photo credit: Ian Fawcett

“The lighthouse itself was built in 1912 to enhance maritime safety along the treacherous southern coastline of Vancouver Island. It served in this capacity until 1989 when it was de-staffed and automated. In 2003, the Government of Canada declared the lighthouse structure to be “surplus to its needs”, which generated considerable concern within the community that it would be dismantled or otherwise lost.  

That’s when the Sheringham Lighthouse Preservation Society began lobbying for the long-term protection and conservation of the structure and, in 2015, the site was transferred to the Society to be cared for, conserved, and made accessible to the public. It was also at this time that it was formally designated as a National “heritage Lighthouse”.  

This project was funded by Island Coastal Economic Trust in 2020 and represents the fourth (and final) phase of restoration work on the lighthouse since the Society secured ownership. During this time, the lighthouse tower and associated structures have been fully restored, and the surrounding landscape reclaimed and upgraded for safer access. The site has also been open to the public as a “passive community park” where visitors are engaged in ways to help protect and conserve the lighthouse and its history. 

It’s been inspiring to see how the community came together on this project. Many residents and businesses were involved.  In many cases, both the businesses involved in the restoration work as well as their workers expressed sincere desires to help in the restoration and protection of the lighthouse site.  

Today, the works of the new project included building a viewing platform, adjacent to the site entrance, that facilitates access for people with mobility challenges.  It also included new signage, an upgraded entrance, and the creation of two new trail spurs, as well as the construction of a small (16 feet by 14 feet) Interpretive Centre building that has provided a focal point for displaying historical artifacts – many of which have been repatriated, installed and displayed.  These artifacts include the original Fresnel Lens that was installed when the Lighthouse was first built in 1912; the original diaphone foghorn from 1925; and more.  

From the outset, we viewed the infusion of development funds into this rural area as an opportunity not only to protect the historic lighthouse but also to boost local economic activity – both in terms of the project work itself, as well as providing a long-term, sustainable community asset that would provide tourism stimulus, in addition to building community infrastructure.”  


The Sheringham Point Lighthouse project was the first project to receive funding from Island Coastal Economic Trust in the Capital Regional District when the Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island, and Southern Gulf Islands electoral areas were added to the Trust’s service area in 2020. The Lighthouse project received $89, 900 in funding for historic site upgrades through the Capital and Innovation program, in 2021. Learn more: Sheringham Point Lighthouse