In 1840 Britain’s navy began using Esquimalt harbor for anchorage and for taking on water and lumber. A base was soon established near Victoria across the water from the knob of land that would eventually become Fort Rod. For further protection of the harbor gun batteries, underground magazines, command posts, guardhouses, barracks, and searchlight emplacements were built at Fort Rod. The fort was active from 1895 to 1956.
The Fisgard Lighthouse, built in 1860, was the first lighthouse on the Canada’s west coast and is still in use. The lighthouse and many of the fort buildings are open for self tours.
Paved and gravel paths lead to the fort and lighthouse. Most of the fort area is not accessible due to large loose gravel on the grounds and steps in the fort buildings. A barrack building next to the fort has historic displays and is accessible. A very steep paved ramp accesses the base of the lighthouse but there’s a step at the entrance and stairs to second floor exhibits. The nature trail is steep and not accessible. The garden trail is accessible.