With local maritime commerce in the area growing, the high cliffs of Cape Beale on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, were surveyed for a lighthouse in the early 1870s. A 31-foot-tall wooden tower was constructed with a powerful second-order lens in the lantern, and the station began service in 1874. The original wooden lighthouse at Cape Beale was replaced by a modern 32-foot skeletal tower in 1958.
Today, Cape Beale is one of 27 lightstations that remain staffed on the coast of British Columbia. A resident keeper maintains the navigation equipment and buildings, monitors weather and sea conditions, and watches for emergency situations.
For more than a dozen years, the keeper has been Karen Zacharuk. (Photos courtesy of Karen Zacharuk.)
Many thanks to the Canadian Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans Canada for granting permission for this interview.
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Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org
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