Lucy Islands Light, Chatham Sound

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Lucy Islands Light, Chatham Sound

by | Dec 2, 2018

The Lucy Islands are a small archipelago in Chatham Sound, roughly 11 miles (17 km) west of Prince Rupert, Canada. They constitute a provincially protected conservancy area that contains a nationally significant seabird population, a prominent lighthouse, and some of the oldest archeological sites on the northern British Columbia coast.

The Lucy Islands are the traditional territory of the Gitwilgyoots, a coastal Tsimshian-speaking tribe that wintered in the Prince Rupert area at the time of European contact. In late spring, the Gitwilgyoots would move to the outer islands west of Prince Rupert for seasonal fishing, shellfish gathering, and sea mammal hunting before returning to the Skeena River in early summer for the salmon runs. The islands are known as Lax Spinna, meaning “on shoulders,” in the Tsimshian language. Ancient shell middens and house depressions on the islands are an indicator of human occupation dating back possibly 5,000 years.

The easternmost and highest island in the archipelago was named Lucy Island in 1862 by Captain George Henry Richards of HMS Hecate in honor of Lucy McNeill, the daughter of Captain William H. McNeill of the Hudson’s Bay Company. A lighthouse was built on the northeast point of the island and was put in operation on January 1, 1907. The original lighthouse consisted of a rectangular wooden dwelling, painted white with a red roof. The light tower was 36 feet (10.9 m) high from its base to the top of the ventilator on the lantern. This structure was replaced with an octagonal concrete tower in 1960. The light was automated in 1988 and the lightkeeper dwellings were burned. Read more here and here. Explore more of Lucy Islands here:

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