Art is all about interpretation.  And when it comes to personal expression, there is no art like that of the car and motorcycle enthusiast.  Given my rather feisty reputation behind the bars of a bike like this I likely will never pilot one personally, but they still make me stop in my tracks instantly when I come across one that is obviously special.  In today’s post we’re going to take a look at a stunning custom chopper we found on display at our local “Warmlands Show n Shine 2014” this summer.  This bike grabbed my heart and imagination in one glance.

Custom Chopper - Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Custom Chopper – Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

To me, a motorcycle is the modern-day equivalent of a trusty steed.  It’s a companion, it’s a form of transportation, and it tells a lot about the rider in one fleeting look.

It seems to me that as we tour the local car shows, the appetite for customs appears to be growing.  I really do think these are contemporary forms of rolling art, no detail is ever overlooked and no two machines are even close to the same.  On this particular beautiful chopper, it might very well be the vibrant orange colors that draw your eye at first, but if you take some time to observe the finer details, you really begin to see a canvas take form.  Note the chrome on the trim, the wheels, that wicked front fork with a wicked rake…  the sunlight literally dances off the surfaces on a bright summers day.  The lines are flowing, like the air the bike cuts through as it makes its way across our byways and highways.  I think it’s absolutely beautiful.

Custom Chopper - Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Custom Chopper – Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

From the front, the combination of the dramatic reach of the forks in conjunction with the very narrow stance creates a razor-sharp line that resembles a stiletto.  The frame cuts through the air silently, even though the open pipes are not afraid to let everyone know in the immediate vicinity as to who’s here, and who’s in charge.

While although custom choppers like this one may or may not be to your personal taste, it’s really hard to argue their inherent beauty.  They have a wonderful consolidation of soft in their lines alongside the hard in their vociferous heartbeat, an almost pure definition of the term “beauty within the beast”.  It’s an allure that is much bigger than me, and one I will always heed whenever the winds of fate put me in front of a subject like this.

Many thanks for visiting us here today at The Hollow!  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors, so please do feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.

Our love for everything rusty runs from the sublime to the surreal at times, driving us onward, forever searching for that next abandoned or forgotten artifact to explore with our lens.  A while back, the lovely Mrs. Toad happened to come across the Ladysmith Train Station and Railway Museum and told me all about it.  This spurred us on one fine morning to visit it in person; and the results were beyond my wildest imagination!  In today’s post we’re kicking off a new photoblog series titled “Ladysmith Train Station & Railway Museum” featuring the shots we captured on this visit.  You’re going to love these.

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As you make your way down into the museum area of the old train station yard, you come across a display of old trains and cars.  We’ll be sharing some truly stunning shots from here in later posts and thought we’d start this new series here today by featuring the old steam locomotive sitting on the tracks.

The entire Ladysmith area was originally founded on the precept of coal mining, forming an integral part of the overall island strategy of moving coal up and down our main corridors.  The other big industry that helped start the community was logging, and we see plenty of artifacts left behind from that era.  But, as with everything in this world we live in, times change.  In this case economic considerations have created a situation where the Ladysmith Train Station was no longer a viable facility to operate for VIA, and as such it was closed a few years back now.

With all that being said, let’s focus on the trains today.

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As I am sure this will come of little surprise to those who follow us regularly, the very first thing I wanted to do when we came across the display was to climb aboard.  The 3 year old in me started climbing and hanging off the ladder up into body of the train, happily snapping and shooting handheld as there was literally no room to bring my tripod up here with any form of ease.  One of the things I couldn’t help but note in this shot is the holes that remain that are letting sunlight into the cabin.  Are these remnants of the rivets?  I’ve never really seen anything like this before, but in all honestly I hadn’t been paying attention either.

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The boilers in these things are just massive.  You’d obviously need a lot of power to get a train like this rolling, especially with a heavy cargo.  In this shot we noticed how the rivets aren’t perfect, leading me to believe that these weren’t installed by machine, but rather this is the result of a manual construction process.  It’s these little imperfections that add so much artistic tension to the whole scene.  Who were the men who built this train?  Who was the engineer who drove this train?  How must it have felt to travel across a largely untamed land, in brutal weather conditions, surrounded by a forest full of wild animals of species of all kinds?  It’s this very spirit and courage that helped to build the island up the way it is today, making communities that have deep ties to both the land around us, and to each other.

In upcoming posts we will be featuring some of the railway cars that are displayed here, as well as some of the key buildings.  The entire site is going through a form of transformation as the railway era appears to be coming to an end here on the island, and new interests and opportunities arise.  This is the way of the world these days, and quite honestly we’re thrilled to find an appetite for maintaining these important links to our past.  It’s the only way future generations will have a sense of appreciation for the island and the history that brought us all here to this point today.

Many thanks for visiting us here at The Hollow today, we really do appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.

Ship To Shore

Posted: 14th August 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

When we first started Toad Hollow, I often wondered if we would eventually shoot all the interesting subjects that exist here on Vancouver Island.  Years later I can honestly say that was short-sighted.  Take Genoa Bay for instance; a lovely little marina community that is home to full and part-time residents, character-filled float homes and some of the most beautiful and interesting boats you can find.  And the best part has to be the fact it is situated right in the heart of the Cowichan Valley, making it both one of our favorite places to visit frequently, as well as one of the island’s best kept secrets.

Marine Seascape - Genoa Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Marine Seascape – Genoa Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Grey days are quite normal here on the island.  Island-dwellers are very accustomed to living under a dark, moody sky, and in many cases this adds to the feel of the photography we capture, creating an authentic sense of what life is truly like here.  While it’s accurate to say that colors may be slightly muted and details may be less evident, the truth is this adds a needed touch of drama to the scene.

The above shot was captured just around the corner from Genoa Bay.  This tiny marina community sits at the end of a winding country road, the final destination before you are at the tip of the peninsula and surrounded by ocean.  It’s not unusual to see large container and shipping boats moored in the area.  We particularly love the way the large ship pictured here juxtaposes against its natural surroundings.  The rippled reflections from the vessel are just the finishing touch.

Marine Seascape - Genoa Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Marine Seascape – Genoa Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

From another perspective we can clearly see the nature of the small bays that dot the island, and the landscape that rises above the ocean.  These waters are deep in spots, and quite shallow in others.  Piloting a huge shipping boat through here would be an exercise in caution, to say the least.  I can thankfully say I know of no accidents since moving here in the early eighties, providing a testament to the skills and talents of the pilots and captains that make their way through the channels that surround the island.

Our hearts fill with joy every time we head out on a day of adventure like the one we had here.  Mrs. Toad and I explore the roads, taking the paths that are mostly untraveled, looking for opportunities and vistas to share.  After all, if we can share a little of our vision and experience here with you, you may be inclined to visit personally.  And if you do, prepare to be amazed.

Thank you for your kind visit today, we really appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so please don’t hesitate to leave us any comments you may have below.

We are avid fans of great architecture, particularly architecture from years past that has left an indelible mark on the community it lives in.  We find that when you enjoy these buildings from the outside frequently you are left wondering what they look like inside.  And in many cases what you find is not what you expect.  In the case of our visit to Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, BC earlier this year, our expectations were far exceeded as we explored and discovered what has to be one of the most profound places we’ve visited so far.  Thank you for joining us once again as we continue one of our favorite long-running photoblog series, “The Anglican Church Project” with the final installment of our sub-series that features “Christ Church Cathedral“.  The entire gallery of 86 high quality photographs is available on our gallery site, please make sure you pop over to see the entire collection.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

When observed from the outside, Christ Church Cathedral creates a dramatic presence right in the heart of the city.  The scale of the building is evident immediately and you’re left with a distinct feeling that something special is held within those wonderful stone walls.  You’d be right.

As soon as you enter the cathedral you are struck by a sense of awe and grandeur.  The arches seem to reach for the heavens themselves and everywhere you look you find details and features that are very meaningful.  How wonderful it must have been once the construction of this new church was complete for the growing community to have such a place to come and commune and share fellowship as the city literally sprung to life all around them.  Even though the church itself is only over 80 years old, it is steeped in history and tradition that followed the cities settlers over from the UK.  This bridge between the old and new world is evident in the cathedral, and the city proper.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

It’s nearly impossible to imagine what life would have been like back then.  In today’s day-and-age, we find ourselves living in a degree of comfort; the thermostat always just a reach away, vehicles readily and easily available to shuttle us around as we go about our daily lives, food easily accessed through a myriad of stores and choices within.  But this was not always the case.  In the late 1800′s and early 1900′s, many people left the known for the unknown, heading across a treacherous ocean to arrive on a foreign shore, full of hope and anticipation of a better life and future.  The comfort you would find in the community and in a parish like this would have been the difference between simply arriving and finding a new home.  It’s these very ties to the community and to each other that would have left everyone with a sense of belonging.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

The love and appreciation for everything around them didn’t stop just in the people in the community, it also extended to the animals and wildlife of the area.  If you look closely at the middle column near the top, you will notice a bird statue.  This little statue has incredible significance to the church.

Self-guided tour posted on the Christ Church Cathedral site states:

The “Robin Pillar” is a tribute to a determined little bird which build her nest near the capital of the south-eastern pillar of the Nave. Building operations at that point were suspended until her family had been launched out into the world. A stone model of the bird and nest marks the spot. You can see it if you run your eyes up the pillar to the capital.

We found it so heartwarming to learn of how the love for one another extended to include the compassion expressed for this little bird and her emerging family.   This terrific story adds so much to the overall experience.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

One of our very favorite features of the cathedral is most definitely the pipe organ.  In this article, organ designer Hellmuth Wolff discusses the impetus behind the design and the challenges faced during construction and installation.  For those who appreciate the enormity of an engineering task like this, it’s well worth the time to read.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

On the day we visited we were blessed with the opportunity to hear this eloquent instrument in person as a young man came by the cathedral for practice.  The deep tones and wonderful tonal ambiance of the organ was accented by the tall ceilings and expanse of the cathedral’s interior.  The bass notes literally permeated our bodies, sending wave upon wave of delight through us as we experienced something we knew was so special.  If you have a chance to experience this yourself, we highly encourage it.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

The time we spent in discovery at Christ Church Cathedral was much more than just a photo-shoot.  It was a personal journey that taught us a little about the city and area we love so much, the community that calls it home, and a little about ourselves through the process of self-revelation.  It is widely said that a picture tells the story of 1,000 words, which we do find to be true here, but there is nothing that can replace a direct and personal experience with the wider world we live in.

As we wrap up our series on Christ Church Cathedral here, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making this project come to life.  If not for the kindness and generosity of time and spirit by so many this project would never have seen completion.  For that we are eternally grateful.

As always, we love to hear from all our visitors.  Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts you may have below.  Thank you for visiting.

Back To School Specials at B&H Photo

Buckets come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, many with different intended uses.  Hands-down, the coolest bucket that I know of has to be of the Ford T-Bucket variety.  These highly modified cars tend to only loosely resemble the original car that motivated their creation, and they all stand out as unique and personal expressions of a deep passion and love for this genre of car hobbyist.  In today’s post we’re kicking off a brand new photoblog series “Warmlands Show n Shine 2014” where we will feature photographs we captured at the recent car show here in Duncan.

Classic Ford Hot Rod - "Ford T Bucket" - Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Classic Ford Hot Rod – “Ford T Bucket” – Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The old adage, “they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore!” couldn’t be more true than it is for this generation of car.  Simple sheet metal graces the car, with the basic premise being to create a fundamental cover for the underlying mechanics that comprise the incredible hot rod.  The results are beautiful and totally unique lines that are distinctly a byproduct of this era.

With this particular Ford T Bucket we’ve got some of the key features at work here.  Immediately evident are the dual 4 barrel carbs sitting proudly atop a very serious looking tunnel-ram intake manifold, and the protruding air snorkel that is designed to suck in as much air as possible to feed the hungry small block V8 that sits between the rails making up the frame.  You’ll also note the chrome side exit exhaust pipes and the bona fide moon dish wheel covers, both very authentic to the time period when these beasts roamed and owned the streets that they prowled on.

Classic Ford Hot Rod - "Ford T Bucket" - Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Classic Ford Hot Rod – “Ford T Bucket” – Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

A pair of Holley carburetors sit on the manifold, a favorite of hot rodders for generations.  They are easy to install and tune, and are readily available at both auto wreckers and car parts shops all across the country.  The tunnel-ram manifold is a precursor to the more contemporary forced induction systems, and was designed to fill the combustion chambers with the largest charge of fuel and air possible.  This, my friends, translates directly to power.  And in a minimalistic car like this, that power would be amazing to experience first-hand.

Classic Ford Hot Rod - "Ford T Bucket" - Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Classic Ford Hot Rod – “Ford T Bucket” – Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The interiors of these cars are spared nothing, and although they maintain that historic link to the minimalism that was so evident in cars of this generation, they also exhibit a personal interpretation of the car based on the owner’s tastes.  The features may be limited here with a distinct absence of stereo system, navigation accoutrements and the obvious lack of both air conditioning and a heater.  That’s OK, these cars are never meant to be driven in the heart of winter, and if you are lucky enough to find yourself cruising the streets in one in the summer you will enjoy the connection to the outdoors in the open cockpit.  Entertainment is always just a press of the gas pedal away and you really need nothing else to enjoy the full experience.

Classic Ford Hot Rod - "Ford T Bucket" - Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Classic Ford Hot Rod – “Ford T Bucket” – Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

This is the view that many see.  And frequently for a very short period of time.  Once again from this perspective we enjoy the simplicity of the car’s design.  Coach lights add a period-correct feel to the car and the wide back tires are supposed to try and tame all the power created by the fire-breathing V8, turning it all into forward momentum and broad smiles on the faces of those lucky enough to be careening down the roadway in style.

We’ve got an incredible catalog of photographs we’ll be featuring on our blog here in the coming months from the big car show, so if you are a fan of these beauties please do stay tuned.  For further fun, check out this page that features a great list of Hot Rod Slang terms, sure to keep the budding rodder entertained for quite some time.

Many thanks for popping on by today, we really appreciate your visit and we hope you’ve enjoyed this trek down memory lane with us here!  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below!
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All too often these days we find ourselves shocked to discover another link to our past is gone.  Dwindling budgets for things related to heritage are having a notoriously negative effect, and the overall economy being what it is dictates that contemporary developers have to consider costs and profits when taking on projects.  These factors result in the ongoing erosion of what little heritage we have left standing these days.  So, when we were invited to return to Cowichan Station to photograph the 100th year reunion of Cowichan Station School and to see the progress being made by the community in re-purposing the heritage schoolhouse, we literally hopped at the opportunity.

Cowichan Station School - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Let’s start today’s feature by stepping back in time a few years.  In September of 2011 Mrs. Toad and I were out and about on one of our usual adventures and we happened to be exploring in the community of Cowichan Station.  On our way out we came across the Cowichan Station Rural Traditional School boarded up.  The feel of sadness was palpable as we wandered the grounds shooting the boarded up school, all the while wondering deeply what was in store for it.  A bit of research revealed that the school did indeed form an important part of the heritage and history of Cowichan Station, and that things were rather uncertain.  These thoughts and photographs were documented in our two posts from that year titled “School’s Out” and “The Playground Children Forgot“.

Cowichan Station School - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Within days of publishing our posts we were contacted by folks within the community who were very excited to share with us the pending good news on the facility.  A group had formed to work together to find a way to breath a second life into this wonderful link to the past by refurbishing and renovating the building to turn it into a multi-purpose building for the community to use.  That’s all we needed to hear to become fully entrenched in the story, and avid fans of the proposal.  We then returned to shoot the school again, and we documented the emerging story and photographs in our post titled “Hope Springs Eternal“.

Cowichan Station School - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

By August of 2012, things had really started to take shape following concerted efforts to raise funds and organize community volunteers.  We can honestly say we were filled with excitement to see the progress underway, and the vibrant local appetite to save this storied school and find a new life for it.  We photographed and documented this phase, publishing a post entitled “The Phoenix Rises“.

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

So here we find ourselves, 2 years later, completely inspired and heart warmed to see the incredible effect that people can have when they come together in community spirit in an effort to facilitate change.  Today The HUB at Cowichan Station is full of life and hope, finding a whole new purpose in serving the community.

As we toured the site on our visit, we quickly realized the sheer scope involved in a project like this.  Incredible sums of money have been raised through community donations and grants, and these funds have been allocated carefully to help bring the new vision to life.  This rather quick change to the site is a direct testament to community love and determination, if you ask us.

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

It’s also really important to note and thank all the sponsors of the site, for if not for their generosity and consideration this would not be possible.

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Now that we’ve covered a wee bit of the history behind the school and the story that brought us here, let’s move forward to take in the sights and stories of the 100th year reunion event itself.  The turnout was amazing, all day long people streamed in and out taking in all the events and features that were going on.  Young and old alike found reason to connect with The HUB, as is evidenced by the note board that sat in the main front entrance greeting visitors as they arrived.  I found this particular note to be wonderfully poignant, a true message of what has driven this entire process over the course of the past few years.  Quite honestly, we simply don’t see much of this kind of community spirit in these modern times, and it is beyond inspiring to see it happen here, right in front of our very own eyes.

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

A lot of care and thought had gone into the displays and features at the event, really adding a wonderful dimension and depth to the unfolding story of the day.  At every turn we encountered something that caught our eye, immediately pulling us deeper into the story and the meaning of the day.

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cliff Ross, one of the original alumni from roughly 1927 at the school, attended to unveil a commemorative plaque that had been made to note the milestone.  It was so inspiring to see him and hear him talk as he dropped the sheet covering the plaque to reveal something that is wonderful, and will be enjoyed by the entire community for all time moving forward.

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As the day unfolded, the gym was constantly full of chatter and laughter as people made their way around to take in the displays and photographs, and to talk to friends and strangers alike.  This is the pure definition of community, in our minds, and in many ways made the whole day feel like we had stepped back in time to a simpler era where people reached out to each other and enjoyed sharing time and stories together.  It was a wonderful experience to witness and take in, and the entire day was full of heartwarming moments to cherish.

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Even though it was damp and slightly dreary outside with occasional bouts of rain, this certainly didn’t stop the outdoor enthusiasts from enjoying the ambiance of the Cowichan Station community and surroundings.

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Just around the side of the school, in front of the annex, a garden/flower sale was going in.  Hosted by some of the friendliest folks you’d ever have the pleasure to meet, the sale was a roaring success even considering the effects of the weather on the day.  Getting the people who were running the sale to smile was an easy endeavor, and their smiles were wholly indicative of the entire feel of the celebration at hand.

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Back inside it was time to cut the ceremonial cake.  Annabelle Thorne, a former student, teacher and principal of the school, was on had to perform the cake cutting duties.  At one point I was lucky enough to have a few moments to just chat with her, and found her to be an absolute delight.  This bridging of generations was a fabulous addition to the overall event, helping to make it that much more meaningful.

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The final scheduled event for the day was the filling of the Time Capsule, intended to be opened in 2039 roughly 25 years from now.  Ken Hemstock, another of the original alumni of the school, was here to facilitate the loading and locking of the capsule.  That was a lot of fun, seeing all the items that were going into the capsule and wondering about what everyone in the future would think of these items upon opening it.

Cowichan Station School - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

What a difference a few years and some incredible community spirit can make.  When we first visited the school in 2011, we discovered a playground haunted by the little ones who used to spend countless hours on the slide and swings.  Today we find an entirely different scene.  Colorful toys are now found everywhere and the playground is alive with the sounds of children once again enjoying the wonder of playing outdoors.  The feeling we had was rather profound; that distinct realization that when people come together in a common cause no mountain is too large to move.

Cowichan Station School - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Cowichan Station School - 100 Year Reunion - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Station School – 100 Year Reunion – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Our final note of interest in this story was discovered on our tour with Gord Iversen who is a very active member of the community, an avid photographer, and a special friend.  As we toured the basement, we came across the room that houses all the state-of-the-art plumbing and machinery for the ultra-contemporary geothermal heating and cooling system.  What a dichotomy it was to see this in comparison to the scene we encountered 3 years before in the same room.  The original system was referred to as “the octopus” as it had wires and hoses aplenty leading to and from it.  The modern incarnation is a marvel in both technology and design, and when you consider the incredible effort and work that went into its design and implementation it really leaves you inspired.

It’s really amazing to see the vast differences in the facility that have transpired over a rather short period of time.  When considering all this in context with all the exciting plans in store for this wonderful old schoolhouse, it’s now easy to see a bright future for it as a stalwart part of the community.  So many of the buildings we visit over time are torn down for various reasons; some financial, some personal.  We just can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see a community like Cowichan Station come together in such a cohesive manner to affect change.

This change will be felt for decades to come as future generations return time and time again to the Cowichan Station HUB to both enjoy the facility itself, and to create a living bridge between our past and our future.

To see the entire catalog of photographs from the event, please visit our gallery “Cowichan Station 100 Year School Reunion“.

Elegance oozes from every corner, every curve, every surface of this car, and the crowds that surrounded it knew it was something special, even if they didn’t know the rich tapestry of history behind the famous Packard name in the automotive realm.  The chrome and finish on the details of the coach speak to the great care that has gone into its maintenance over the years.  It felt as if we were all bearing witness to a fabled unicorn, and many of us knew this special moment would be a once-in-a-lifetime event that would never occur again.

Thank you for joining us once again as we continue our running photoblog series “The Toads At The Gathering“, featuring stories and photographs we captured at The Motorcar Gathering 2012 held at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Victoria a couple of summers ago now.  In today’s post, we are going to take a look at a classic vintage Packard Phaeton that was on display at the event.

1930 Packard Tonneau Windshield Phaeton - Model 740 - Queen Alexandra Hospital, Victoria, BC, Canada

1930 Packard Tonneau Windshield Phaeton – Model 740 – Queen Alexandra Hospital, Victoria, BC, Canada –

Many of us look upon the period of time in the 20′s and 30′s as a time of great romance.  It was a period of time that found no real active wars, and people were experiencing a quality of life that hadn’t been had before, at least before The Depression set in during the 30′s.  The great world wars were not yet upon us and entertainment and lifestyle played a center stage role for those who enjoyed the finer things.  Thus was born great brands like Duesenberg and Packard, brands that live with us still today even though the factories are now long gone.

1930 Packard Tonneau Windshield Phaeton - Model 740 - Queen Alexandra Hospital, Victoria, BC, Canada

1930 Packard Tonneau Windshield Phaeton – Model 740 – Queen Alexandra Hospital, Victoria, BC, Canada –

Cars like this rose on the laurels of being considered to be crafted to the highest standards.  People weren’t afraid to pay a premium for the utmost quality, and the designs of the finer cars from this era really reflect this.

This particular Packard is a Tonneau Windshield Phaeton, Model 740, with the Super 8 389CI engine.  At the time it produced a whopping 106 horsepower, and although this won’t break any records on today’s tracks it will certainly be plenty to move this lovely coach around in fine fashion and style.  Interestingly enough, it was noted that this car was used as a royal tour car in 1939, hosting the King and Queen of England in Victoria during that time.  This fun little fact adds a great dimension to the story.

1930 Packard Tonneau Windshield Phaeton - Model 740 - Queen Alexandra Hospital, Victoria, BC, Canada

1930 Packard Tonneau Windshield Phaeton – Model 740 – Queen Alexandra Hospital, Victoria, BC, Canada –

Interiors of the era may have been sparse in comparison to today’s contemporary car, bereft of such features and comforts as air conditioning, GPS navigation and satellite radio to keep us company as the miles tick by.  But they were elegant and incredibly beautiful in their simplicity and construction.   Only the finest materials of the times were used, featuring wonderful wood dash panels and the best quality leathers for the seats and doors.  One glance at a car like this and you are immediately drawn into a time now long behind us.  You are instantly beckoned to sit behind the wheel as you don your hat and scarf rolling across the vast countryside taking in the sights, sounds and fresh air.

A simpler time, perhaps, but no less wonderful for it, that’s for sure.

Thanks once again for taking the time to visit us here at The Hollow, we really appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors, so please do feel free to leave us any comments you may have below!

Time sure does fly when you’re having fun, and there certainly is no lack of that around these parts lately!  Today’s post finds us in our own backyard where we are continuing a photoblog series we started in 2011 called “The Hollow’s Backyard” where we feature the sights and experiences we had at our local Maple Bay Wooden Boat Festival.  Each year the Maple Bay Marina plays host to his terrific event, and we try to make our way down to see all the incredible boats on display and meet the folks who own and love them.  It’s been a couple of years since our last visit, so we’re thrilled to take you back to the marina with us for 2014.

Maple Bay Wooden Boat Festival - Maple Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Maple Bay Wooden Boat Festival – Maple Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

People come from points all over the world to attend this annual event.  Some come to take in the sights and to meet everyone, while others lovingly detail their boats to bring to the marina to put on display for everyone to enjoy.  This years event found us under a slightly overcast sky, but it was pleasant out and the light was wonderful for photography.  For much of the afternoon as Mrs. Toad and I walked the docks meeting everyone, the waters were fairly still, which produced wonderful reflections of the boats and their surroundings in the bay.

Maple Bay Wooden Boat Festival - Maple Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Maple Bay Wooden Boat Festival – Maple Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Boats of all sizes, shapes and origins were to be found at the festival this year.  Some were meticulously maintained, while others were clearly used quite regularly, and we are going to assume enjoyed as well.  If you’re into boats, you love them, and a lot of avid boaters are out on the water as much as the weather allows.

As most of you who follow us regularly know, I love cars, motorcycles, trucks…  basically anything that involves transportation.  Boats definitely fall into this broad category.  And when it comes to boats, my personal preferences always lean towards the older vessels, many of which were hand-crafted out of wood quite a while ago.  Maintaining a wood boat can be a tricky and involved endeavor, but the results are well worth the labor of love.

Maple Bay Wooden Boat Festival - Maple Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Maple Bay Wooden Boat Festival – Maple Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Sailboats exhibit exquisite lines, I find.  Smooth like butter, able to cut through the air like a fencing foil, it’s easy to picture this boat under full sail, leaning as it crashes through the waves of the open ocean.  Upon arrival at your destination, the sails are bundled back up for storage and a much-anticipated relaxation session is undertaken.  The distinct aroma of the ocean greets your olfactories as the gulls swirl all around, waiting for their next meal to suddenly appear from somewhere, almost magically.  It’s really quite the life.

Living on Vancouver Island, surrounded by the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, it’s almost impossible not to find something of interest in the nautical.  Most of us live here by choice, above all other places, and the beaches and oceans form an intricate part of our personal experiences.

We’ve come away from the 2014 Wooden Boat Festival with a large catalog of photographs we’ll be sharing over the next little while.  If you’re a fan of water and boats, you’ll definitely want to stay tuned!

Thank you for your kind visit to The Hollow here today, we really do appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.

Tales from an Afghan Village

Posted: 14th July 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , ,

One of the best parts about having friends is how they have a tendency to expand your horizons.  We can all get wrapped up in our daily lives, rushing to and fro, working, taking care of the kids and all that, but how many of us actually get involved in a good cause?  One that can have a real and meaningful impact on someone less fortunate than we are?  We all know there are millions of stories and people out there warranting some much-needed assistance, and in today’s post we’re going to feature one really great cause and an event that is coming up this summer that is intended to bring awareness and raise funds for this cause.

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan –

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan –

We just love handcrafted items.  A little of the person who lovingly crafted these items goes into each one of them, and it shows.  When you consider the state of things in Afghanistan these days, you really begin to realize how dire things are in that part of the world for people who are just trying to live their lives, eek out some form of a living, and even try to enjoy things as much as they can.  This is a tall order under the circumstances.  Folks like the great group of people at Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan form an integral and critical link in contemporary times between the two distinct worlds that seem to exist these days.

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan –

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan –

These hand-made pieces are simply incredible, a welcome addition to anyone’s home.  Imported by the group, the proceeds from the sale of these wonderful items go directly to assisting women in a part of the world where life is extremely difficult, where even the notion of getting an education is something that presents an almost insurmountable obstacle.

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan –

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Handcrafted Item Imported By Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan –

The very best part about today’s story is all about the upcoming event on Sunday, August 24th, 2014.  Hosted by our dear friends and gracious hosts at Seasons Above The Bay B&B in Cowichan Bay, this year’s gala event will consist of a garden party with some wonderful guest speakers and attendees, all intent on raising funds and awareness for this all-too important cause.

Bev Oliver – Seasons Above The Bay:

…our guest speakers live and work in Afghanistan.  They are professional women quietly working to develop educational opportunities and an improved quality of life for those women and children whom they can reach, sometimes in very remote villages.  CW4WA has educated more than 5000 teachers, and vastly improved the opportunities for thousands of Afghans, and they have done so even during Taliban times, since 1996.

The cost to attend will be $25 at the door, and all the proceeds from the event will go directly to helping these women improve their lives.  We can honestly think of no better way to spend an afternoon than to visit the gorgeous gardens at Seasons Above The Bay and to spend some time with like-minded people intent on doing good in the world.

The Planning Team for Tales From an Afghan Village - Cowichan Bay, BC, Canada

The Planning Team for Tales From an Afghan Village – Cowichan Bay, BC, Canada –

I was absolutely delighted to be invited to join this wonderful team this past Saturday as they worked diligently on the plans for the big event.  While these girls were all focused and busy on preparations, I spend my time in the gardens shooting some of the items you see above.  All of the proceeds from the sales go directly to making a difference in someone’s life out there.  How terrific is that?

I find we don’t really get enough chances to express our gratitude for the life we lead in the developed world.  What better way of expressing this gratitude than by paying it forward to someone who simply doesn’t have the opportunities or chances that we frequently take for granted.  With that being said, if you find yourself on Vancouver Island on Sunday, August 24th, 2014, why not make a direct difference?  You’ll come away with a sense of having helped someone less fortunate, as well as having made a new group of friends all focused on ways of making the world a better place for us all.

Thanks for your kind visit here today to The Hollow, we really appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors, so please do feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.  We will be attending the event to photograph it, so we truly hope to see you all there!

As we continue to work on our long-term project documenting all the Anglican churches in the Anglican Diocese of BC, we are finding that this project is much more than simply photographing all the lovely facilities. It’s also a personal journey of discovery for us. There are most certainly commonalities amongst the various facilities, but there are also distinct differences that make each building unique. Thanks for joining us today as we continue our running photoblog series “The Anglican Church Project” where today we feature St. Michael and All Angels’ in Victoria, BC.

We find that many of the churches we visit that were built in the late 19th century and early 20th century are architected using the classic Gothic Revival style. This particular style lends itself to an overall and deep sense of character, embodying both the history of the Anglican church as well as the important link between the new lands being settled upon in the mid 1800′s and the homelands in the UK where most everyone who came to the island originated from.

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Nestled in a primarily rural setting just on the outskirts of the city of Victoria, this beautiful little church stands out as something distinct and special.  Built in 1883 through the gracious donation of land, time and materials from key community members as well as benefactors overseas, the parish quickly became an intricate part of the burgeoning community of Victoria.  Life in the late 1800′s on Vancouver Island saw none of the creature comforts we’ve become accustomed to over the past few years here on the island.  When you stop and think about this, you quickly realize that it was only through the hard work and toils of those who cared enough to be determined to build such a structure that such a facility came to life.  And this tradition clearly carries on today.

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

In 1913 the bell tower was constructed to house a bell that was brought over from China.  The design and construction of the tower is completely sympathetic to the architectural detailing of the main facility, dovetailing into the construction absolutely seamlessly.  As we visit the Anglican churches on our project, we find that the bell and bell-tower are intricate parts of the overall feel and character of the parish, and the one we find here at St. Michael and All Angels’ is a terrific example of this.

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Around back of the church we find the original cemetery.  Given the beautiful and peaceful setting it sits in, we find an outdoor sanctuary where visitors can come and reflect and connect with those interned here.  Many of the graves are those of the original pioneers whose spirit was so central in the building of the community on Vancouver Island.

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Stepping inside we discover a welcoming interior, crafted with ornate and intricate details that exude the love and craftsmanship that went into the church’s design and construction.  No detail is overlooked here in this meticulously maintained facility, and in the late afternoon we find the warm tones from the sun to be a welcome element.  It is noted that the stained glass windows in this church are rather rare for buildings of this era.  Don’t they add a wonderful dash of color and joy to the interior?

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The perfect combination of natural wood finishes, highly skilled woodwork details and the vibrant colors and light found in the stained glass all work in harmony on the inside of the church.  As you view the interior space of the church from the balcony, the natural light lends itself to accent the overall feeling of peace and belonging you find here.  This sense is truly palpable.

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St Michael and all Angels - Anglican Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St Michael and all Angels – Anglican Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Vignettes are found everywhere, revealing themselves in every turn you make.  We love capturing these little stories in a picture and sharing them here with everyone, and we can only hope that some of the wonder and love we experience on these sessions is reflected in our photography.  What started out as a simple love for heritage architecture has since grown into its own complete project, and through this work we find ourselves on a personal journey of discovery.  Everyone we meet through this work is happy to share their story, eager to show the facility in the best light and is all too happy to connect with us on a deep and personal level as we interact and take in the facility and it’s surroundings as a whole.

I believe this makes this one of the most meaningful and important projects we’ve ever worked on here at The Hollow, and for that we are eternally grateful for the opportunity.

We hope you’ve enjoyed touring St. Michael and All Angels’ with us today.  Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and join in with us here.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so do please feel free to leave us any comments you may have.

To see all 31 high quality photographs of this church, please visit our gallery “St. Michael & All Angels, Victoria, BC“.