Cape Scott, Vancouver Island

Cape Scott, Vancouver Island

by | Apr 26, 2020

Cape Scott is a promontory about 500 feet (150 m) high at the extreme northwestern point of Vancouver Island, 261 miles (421 km) northwest of the city of Vancouver, and 41 miles (66 km) west of Port Hardy, British Columbia. The promontory was discovered and named in 1786 by James Strange who led a fur trading expedition to the western shore of Vancouver Island using two vessels, Captain Cook under the command of Henry Lawrie and the Experiment captained by John Guise. Strange named the northwest tip of Vancouver Island “Cape Scott” in honor of David Scott, a Bombay merchant who had financed the adventure. The bay to the south of the Cape’s sandy neck received the name Guise Bay and the area on the opposite side of the neck was called Experiment Bight.

A string of five islands, known as the Scott Islands, extends westward from Cape Scott. Cox Island, the easternmost and largest of the group, is 5 miles (8 km) from the cape, while the outermost, Triangle Island, lies 29 miles (46.8 km) offshore. The first lighthouse was built on the summit of Triangle Island, but this was a poor location because fog, mist, or low clouds that obscured the light for more than 240 days a year. In the 1950s, the increase in ocean-going vessels along the northwest coast, due mostly to the completion of an aluminum smelter at Kitimat, prompted the construction of the final three manned lighthouses in British Columbia. Light stations at Cape Scott and Chatham Point were completed in 1959, and one at Bonilla Island followed in 1960. The Cape Scott Lighthouse was built on the remains of an abandoned World War II radar installation.

The headland is now part of the Cape Scott Provincial Park first established in 1973. Lanz and Cox Islands Provincial Park, which includes a marine reserve, is offshore and to the northwest of Cape Scott. The park is known for its remoteness, old-growth forest, and sandy beaches. The terrain is rugged and the area is notorious for heavy rain and violent storms. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cape Scott here:

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About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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