Archive of Technology used at Race Rocks 1997-2007

The Race Rocks Lightstation was automated in 1997. At that time Lester Pearson College took over the management of the island.  A proposal was generated at Pearson College to bring to the island modern technology that would enable a continued role for education and research and prevent the imminent removal of the facilities and the abandonment of a human presence for the protection of the reserve. Central to this proposal was the concept that the international students on scholarship from 83 countries at Lester B. Pearson College would benefit by the ability to continue to use Race Rocks as an educational resource. Moreover they would be able to be involved in operating this project as a model for ecological stewardship that they would be able to take back with them and apply to sensitive areas in their own countries. The potential for a global network of such education and research areas had exciting possibilities. A number of technologies were employed to save energy and to be able to broadcast from the island on the internet. This index shows some of the improvements made over the first 10 years of the college’s tenure of the lease of the island from BC Parks.

Many of the features continue today having undergone upgrades along the way.
instrumsA Davis Weather Instrument was installed at Race Rocks in October, 2005. This system designed to record the weather variables, display in real time on the internet and archive the data is still used ( 2014), having undergone several software and hardware upgrades during that time .



tankendThe Fresh water supply for Race Rocks is through salt water desalination. Here the students of the activity take us through the process and the facility in 2007. This technique had been brought into use at Race Rocks when it was still operated as a light station.




panelcompletemThe Solar Energy Component of the integrated energy system was installed in 2006.




turbinediveruwmA 6 year project, the Pearson College-ENCANA-Clean Current Tidal Power Demonstration Project was established at Race Rocks  in 2006: This page deals with the formal Announcement of the experiment on Feb 15, 2005



crewFrom 2000 to 2010,  Apple through a subsidiary, Akamai and with the help of it’s representative Keith Mitchell, provided free live streaming for our 3 video cameras.  In January 2004,  Apple  provided a generous upgrade of 3 new eMac computers for



globeIn addition Apple supplied the new 360 degree remote controlled SONY camera which for several years provided remote controlled video for anyone to access for coverage of the island.




A group of students and Garry doing a webcast from a tidepool at Race Rocks.

The History of the Development of the Project. The development of the technology for was particularly creative and impressive for its time (1999) . This index provides links to images and updates from that time. The current technology for webcasting and other internet connections to the island  has been updated considerably but the core of the original design remains.

overviewOverview of the Telecommunications Technology – Ken Dunham





Websbc_label02casting software 2000-2004




icsvicThe Sustainable Energy Proposal for Race Rocks
U.Vic Engineering


jollyfellowThe AirPort Wireless System for Mobile Webcasting at Race Rocks.



rrbctelContributions of Telus technology ( formerly BC TEL)
On January 13, 1998, BCTEL (Discovery Learning) representatives took a trip to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve with Pearson College faculty member Garry Fletcher and some of his students. They had invited them to see first hand many of the Pearson College marine science educational projects that are highlighted on the College’s web page. BCTEL (Discovery Learning) provided the College with internet support, making this unique marine science project globally accessible. Following the Race Rocks visit, BCTEL presented the students with a $5,000 cash gift for the College’s annual fund.
Some further History of the Technology from the past at Race Rocks
The stewardship of the unique ecosystem at Race Rocks has for centuries been closely linked to technology. It started with the First Nations People of the Salish Sea who were closely linked into this ecosystem. They used their boats, their skillfully crafted tools and their ingenuity to harvest sustainably from this archipelago and the surrounding swift flowing waters they called Xwayen. In 1860, the technology of a nineteenth century British Lightstation and foghorn was added to protect the area from human catastrophe.
In 1978, students and faculty of nearby Lester B. Pearson College started working to seek protection for the area as a provincial ecological reserve. Access to the wave swept archipelago for ecological study and measurement above and below the water was highly dependent on the weather. We also benefited immensely from the cooperation of the light keepers working at Race Rocks for the Canadian Coast Guard. The reserve was set aside for research and education and for years the students of the diving service shared the area on a seasonally limited basis with several researchers and with small groups of local elementary school children in the “schools marine program”.

In October of 1992 we had the experience of assisting with the live broadcast from Race Rocks of 24 programs in the Underwater Safari television series. We reached by satellite, microwave and cable technology the classrooms and science centers across the nation and for the first time the unique resources of the area were shared with a wide audience.

Further Archives of the technology used on the light station before 1997 including early lights, foghorns and communications equipment can be found on the History Contents page.

Recent Posts

Foggy week and dead gull chicks


These first days of August were pretty foggy:Everyday the fog was around Race Rocks from 3:00 AM to 9-10 AM and for the 2 last days it was all day long. One day was warm but the others not so much because of the wind. On the 6th the fog around the rock  was just like a thick wall…


No more Elephant Seals and slowly the Sea lions are coming back .We saw the first one on the jetty and 2 big stellers on middle were pretty noisy like usual.The 3 last days many dead gull chicks around and gulls are really aggressive (they attack you)…I saw an amazing show:2 eagles and 4 vultures hunting the chicks together (the 2 eagles going to a dive and the vultures staying at the same level in the air). Many pigeons guillemots . 2 beautiful and big cormorants spend a full day on the same rock. and 2 times we had orcas in Race Passage around 11:00 AM followed by so many boats!The second time some were almost on them (10 to 30 meters) …disgusting!


The sea water pump has been repaired and is working well now. Cleaning days before the shift.


Shift over done on the  6th in the afternoon. James got a full tour of the rock and has been introduced.



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