Active Pass Light, Gulf Islands

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Active Pass Light, Gulf Islands

by | Jul 22, 2018

Active Pass is a narrow strait separating Mayne Island from Galiano Island in the Gulf Islands, about 16.4 miles (26.5 km) north-northeast of Sidney and 12.5 miles (20 km) southwest of Tsawwassen, British Columbia. It connects the Trincomali Channel in the west and the Strait of Georgia in the east.

It was named for the U.S. Coast Survey ship Active, which in 1855 was the first sidewheel steamship to navigate the pass. Currently, the pass is used by the BC Ferries connection between the mainland and Vancouver Island. Because the pass is very narrow, the ferries pass extremely close to shore. Strong eddies and tide rips are always present in the pass, making it a hazardous corridor for smaller vessels to transit.

Increased shipping traffic along with a couple of shipwrecks in Active Pass prompted the construction of a lighthouse in 1885 on Georgina Point, at the northern tip of Mayne Island. The original lighthouse was a wooden tower with a keeper’s dwelling attached. This was replaced in 1940 by a square keeper’s dwelling surmounted by a lantern room, and in 1969 a new cylindrical concrete tower was built. The last light keeper left the Active Pass Station in 1997, and ownership of the property was transferred to the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in 2006. The Canadian Coast Guard maintains the navigational aids. Read more here and here. Explore more of Active Pass here:

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