The narrow spit that almost landlocks Sooke Harbour was named for John George Whiffin, a clerk who served aboard HMS Herald when the Royal Navy surveyed the inlet in 1846. The natural harbour was discovered in 1790 by the Spanish Captain Manuel Quimper when he entered aboard the Princesa Real.
The spit may have been a lookout post for the T’Sou-ke First Nation before the arrival of Europeans. The spit was used for decades by the Sooke Harbour Fishing and Packing Company to store fishtrap pilings. In the 1920s the spit also had a fish reduction plant. There has been a light at the end of the spit since about 1906. The current light is a beacon atop a 21 foot tall cylindrical tower. The site also has a fog signal and a weather station.
The spit is a popular place for walks, and protects the harbour from breakers coming in from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Reinforcement work has been done on the spit since 1907, and in 1995, a large project was undertaken to restore a breach and install a rock breakwater. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore more of Whiffin Spit and Sooke Harbour.