Sheringham Point Lighthouse attracts large private donation from Ontario

A Vancouver Island lighthouse located near Shirley, 57 kms north of Victoria, has attracted huge financial support from an Ontario charitable foundation.

Board members with the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Group today received a $550-thousand cheque from the Westaway Charitable Foundation to be used over a 5 to 10 year period.

Foundation President Peter Westaway first donated $1,000 to the restoration needs of the lighthouse.  And after meeting the board members and volunteers he was so impressed with their vision of keeping the historic lighthouse open for all, he decided to write the much larger cheque -- which is the largest private donation to a lighthouse restoration project in Canada.

Board member John Walls says since the Sheringham Point Lighthouse was built in 1912, it has played a major role in saving countless lives off the West Coast of the island:

"And it was born out of tragedy, the Valencia sinking, over 120 souls gone. And that was the very beginning of Ottawa putting a full court press on lighthouses on the west coast of Canada."

The funds must be matched through community fundraising, but much of that has already been completed.

NDP leader John Horgan, the MLA for the Juan de Fuca riding,  was there for the cheque presentation. He says it was an exciting day for the community:

" I understand that the Westaway Foundation has been supporting lighthouses for sometime, but to make such a significant donation to Sheringham at this point is just spectacular news, and I know everyone at the announcement was very, very excited and it bodes well for the fund raising ofd the future". 

Currently the preservation society is working to restore the lighthouse and install interpretive displays and educational programs at the site.

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