Trial Islands, Strait of Juan de Fuca

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The Trial Islands are located offshore from Victoria, British Columbia at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The islands were named for the practice of sending British naval ships for sea trials out to the islands and back after they were refitted at Esquimalt Harbour.

The main island is home to the Trial Island Light Station, which was constructed in 1906 at Staines Point, near the highest place on the island. The station included a diaphone fog alarm and a square two-story keepers’ dwelling with a square lantern room centered on its roof. In 1970, a cylindrical concrete tower with a lantern and galley was built a few feet away from the keeper’s dwelling, replacing the original light. It stands 42 feet (13 m) tall, with a focal plane of 93 feet (28 m), and flashes a green light every 5 seconds. The old lantern room and Fresnel lens were dismantled and reassembled in Victoria’s Bastion Square, where the historic light still flashes every night to the delight of tourists.

The islands also form the Trial Islands Ecological Reserve, a 57 acres (23 ha) area established in 1990 to protect plants and animals on rocky islands. This is the northern limit for many plant species, 9 plant communities have been described, including the red-listed Garry Oak-California Brome association. The islands also provide roosting sites for birds, and haul-out sites for marine mammals. The reserve protects the greatest number of endangered and vulnerable species in a single ecological reserve in British Columbia. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore the Trial Islands and the Victoria city shoreline.

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