The southwest coast of Vancouver Island has always presented a notorious lee shore where prevailing storms and currents can combine to push ships onto countless rocks and reefs. Known as the northern shore of the ‘Graveyard of the Pacific,’ it was every sailing master’s worst nightmare.
Disaster galvanizes One tragic event in particular galvanized support for the provision of life-saving facilities on Canada’s west coast. On the early morning of 22 January 1906, the American passenger steamer Valencia, northbound from San Francisco to Victoria via Seattle ran aground in thick fog on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. In 1907, after the loss of hundreds of ships and lives, the Dominion Government established its first lifesaving facilities on Canada’s Pacific coast.