Light Hearted

Light Hearted ep 104 – Elanie Bruton, lightkeeper’s daughter at Sheringham Point, BC

Jim Bruton was born in Wales in 1926, but his family relocated to British Columbia in Canada when he was just one year old. He started working in the logging industry when he was 14. After serving as a merchant seaman during World War II, in 1945 Bruton became an assistant keeper, or junior keeper, at Lennard Island Lightstation, off the west coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino.

Jim and Evelyn Bruton,
courtesy of Elanie Bruton.

After a brief time at Lennard Island, Jim Bruton left the lighthouse service for a while and returned in the logging industry. In 1951 he met and married Evelyn Stockman from Edmonton. Evelyn had no idea she would spend nearly 30 years at lighthouses. Jim returned to light keeping in 1958 as a junior keeper at Discovery Island. After a year and a half as junior keeper at Discovery Island, he was the principal keeper at Chrome Island off the east coast of Vancouver Island for four years. He then returned to Lennard Island from 1964 to 1968.

Sheringham Point Lighthouse, BC. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.
At a ceremony on March 20, 2016, a plaque signifying Sheringham Point Lighthouse as a Canadian Heritage Lighthouse was dedicated. The heritage plaque was unveiled by retired Senator Pat Carney (left) and Elanie Bruton (right).
Courtesy of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society.
Jim Bruton’s daughter Sharon was married in the lantern room at Sheringham Point in 1976 with 16 people, including the minister, all crowded in the small space. Courtesy of Elanie Bruton.

The Brutons eventually had four children, three girls and a boy. Their daughter Elanie lived at the light stations until she was 18. Jim Bruton was often heard to say, “I have the best kids in the world.” The family moved to Sheringham Point, a mainland lightstation in Shirley on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, in 1968. Jim Bruton replaced Fred Mountain, the previous keeper, who had died at the station. Bruton’s daughter Sharon was wed at the top of the lighthouse in December 1976, with the couple’s vows broadcast over CB radio.

The Brutons lived at Sheringham Point for nearly two decades, until 1986, when Jim Bruton retired. Today, Jim’s daughter Elanie Bruton remains a very active volunteer of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society, which was formed in 2003 and took ownership of the lighthouse and surrounding land in 2015.

This part 1 of 2. The second part, which will be posted on February 17, features interviews with Rebecca Quinn, author of Sheringham: A Canadian Heritage Story, and John Walls, vice president of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Society.

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