JUST AS MEDIEVAL CASTLES are monuments indicative of a particular cultural-historical period, lighthouses are monuments to our long-lived relationship to the oceans. While the technology is still in use, new lighthouses are modern, functional, and unappealing towers in comparison to the structures built in centuries past. Many of these icons face demolition or neglect, but passionate people all around the globe have formed groups to restore and save their history.
I was fortunate to visit two of the remaining staffed lighthouses in Canada, to see the beauty of the buildings and get an understanding of what it’s like to live as a lightkeeper. I was backpacking for a week on the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, a remote trail originally laid to aid in the rescue of shipwreck survivors. Just when I thought I was completely removed from the world, slogging through forests, bogs, and beaches, I walked right into the immaculately cut lawn of a lightkeeper’s home. It was a welcome spot to rest up, and the residents were happy to visit and tell us the history of their lighthouse.