A Historic Site: Fort Rodd Hill 100 years of Remembrance

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites interpreters in a 1942 Willys Jeep, in front of Fisgard Lighthouse. Photo by Fritz Mueller, Parks Canada

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites interpreters in a 1942 Willys Jeep, in front of Fisgard Lighthouse. Photo by Fritz Mueller, Parks Canada

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Victoria’s rich military history will be commemorated this weekend with a special event at national historic site Fort Rodd Hill.

Historians and museum staff from across the region will gather at the Parks Canada site in Colwood for its 100 Years of Remembrance event, Nov. 4, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“Victoria has a long and proud history of military service, wartime industry and home-front activism,” said Kate Humble, Curator with Fort Rodd Hill. “This event is a truly unique opportunity to experience all the aspects of Victoria’s military heritage, represented by these wonderful, varied museums and archives, in one place for the first time. The people of this community have made many important contributions and sacrifices, and their stories are exciting and emotional. It’s vital that we remember them and continue to share those stories amongst current generations.”

Exhibits include military vehicles from the Ashton Armoury; a shipbuilding display by the Maritime Museum of B.C.; and tales of wartime flight from the B.C. Aviation Museum.

An exhibit from CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum will focus on the convalescent hospital operated at Naden by the Military Hospitals Commission during the First World War and, subsequently, the Department of Soldiers’ Civil Reestablishment.  

Other participants include the Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Saanich, and St. Michael’s University School Archives, the Victoria Genealogical Society, Craigdarroch Castle, the Canadian Scottish Regiment Museum, the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry cadets, and the Colwood Women’s Institute.

Clare Sharpe, Exhibit Designer with CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, says her exhibit will focus on rehabilitation efforts at the hospital during the First World War and post-war era. It includes photographs of patients in their workshops learning new skills and trades, and nursing staff on the grounds of the pavilion-style hospital originally constructed by the Royal Navy in 1894.

“The hospital was required to treat wounded servicemen and fit them for return to civilian life,” said Sharpe.

Fort Rodd Hill staff will unveil their 100 Years of Remembrance exhibit in the Casemates Barracks. Through the exhibit Parks Canada staff will share family wartime stories and personal tales of love and loss with visitors.
Fort Rodd Hill served as a coastal artillery fort of the Royal Navy and was built in the late 1890s to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base.

The park also includes Fisgard Lighthouse, which was constructed in 1860 as the first permanent lighthouse on Canada’s West Coast.

Admission is $3.90 for adults, $3.40 for seniors, and free for children under 18.
For more information about Fort Rodd Hill visit Parks Canada’s webpage at: www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/bc/fortroddhill

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