Who doesn’t love a murder mystery?  Especially when it involves scandal, intrigue, scorned lovers and a grisly end from a harsh series of mallet blows about the head.  Many believe Francis Rattenbury’s ghost still walks the halls of the Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel in Victoria, two of his most famous landmarks that today form an integral part of the city’s landscape and create a draw for locals and visitors alike.  But the story is much more than that, and begins with a young man who launches a career that will span the years and leave a lasting impression on all the cities he worked in.

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

The story of Francis Rattenbury’s life is a source of discussion even today, being featured recently in The Globe and Mail in 2014, as well as being featured on Wikipedia and on the site Canadaka.net.  This is truly one of those times where truth is way stranger than fiction.  At the time of this writing, we even understand that an opera is in the works.  What a terrific subject to inspire such a production.

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Today Francis’ house is an integral part of a world-famous private school called Glenlyon Norfolk School.  This wonderful institution is well known for helping to craft some of our brightest young minds; our finest future leaders in politics and commerce.  Nestled perfectly on some of the most beautiful grounds to be seen in the Victoria area, having such a setting to study must be inspirational for those who wander the halls and grounds today.

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

We just love how the school had so gracefully intertwined the new structures with the heritage house, creating a terrific facility that is sympathetic to both the rich history, as well as the area itself.

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

For those interested in seeing and learning about some of his most iconic designs here on Vancouver Island, we have covered the BC Legislative Buildings, The Empress Hotel, and the Nanaimo Courthouse in our post titled “Hallowed Halls Of Justice“.  Mr. Rattenbury also designed other famous buildings in Vancouver, Calgary, and Lake Louise, amongst other locations.  The world-class Chateau Lake Louise is a stunning facility that draws people from all over the world who come to see the epic and majestic beauty that can only be found in the Canadian Rockies.

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Sure, Vancouver Island’s history may not go back that far, especially when compared to the thousands of years that are recorded in Europe.  But, our history is diverse and really interesting, with much of our contemporary society being inspired by the settlers who came from England in the mid to late 1800’s.  The lives they led when arriving here were no picnic, to say the least, the conditions were extreme and survival was a challenge.  Yet through these trials and tribulations, a community emerged, one that has had a lasting impact.

Francis Rattenbury's House - Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Francis Rattenbury’s House – Heritage Site, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

It’s appropriate that we end our walkaround tour of Francis Rattenbury’s Heritage House by visiting what would have been his backyard.  This is the view he and his wife would have enjoyed for the years that they lived here during the time when he was an up-and-coming architect, enjoying the privilege that came with this.  In the distance we see the Oak Bay Marina and one of the condominiums that pepper the shoreline of the drive that leads through the area.  If you look closely, you will see a Heron in the shallow waters near shore, enjoying the warm rays of the morning sun and perhaps doing a little fishing to land some breakfast and get the day started off right.

If you’ve found this post interesting we really encourage you to spend some time poking around some of the links we’ve shared here.  They paint a picture of a story that is rooted in both mystery and wonder, and shares a little of the personality of Vancouver Island.   And perhaps if you visit some of these landmarks in person, you may hear for yourself the footsteps of Francis Rattenbury as he wanders the halls and grounds of the buildings that he so lovingly designed for us all to appreciate and enjoy.  After all, don’t we all want to be remembered for what we’ve left behind?

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us here at The Hollow today, we really 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!

The Toads At The Mill

Posted: 30th July 2015 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , ,

We tend to adventure a lot, even when we are on an assignment for a client here on Vancouver Island.  Frequently we find the most amazing things, things that cause us to take pause, and in many cases result in a plume of tire smoke as we sidle up to the latest find with brakes fully engaged, anxious to discover something new.  In today’s post we are going to take a brief look at a family owned sawmill that has been operating in the city of Courtenay since 1968.

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. - Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. – Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

I simply had to process this first image in sepia, with an eye towards making an image that was sympathetic to the times when the mill was originally built and came into service.  This is a slight departure from our normal work, but one we thought was in keeping with the subject we are sharing here today.

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. - Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. – Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

This is what the sawmill looks like today, in the middle of the summer on a blazing hot day.  The wonderful architectural features of the facility were what caught our eye originally as we passed by, almost missing it.  The red on the roofs work perfectly with the textures of the old wood on the siding, along with all the wonderful little features of the facility that are home to offices and work areas.  To say I’d love to have a chance to photograph the inside would be an incredible understatement, but for today we get to enjoy a brief walk-around of the exterior of the mill.

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. - Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. – Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

For us here, one of the best parts of these types of discoveries is in learning about the place after the work with the images is complete.  In the case of the Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. we learned that the same family has been operating the mill since inception in 1968, and that they have a focus on being environmentally friendly through the process of milling reclaimed wood that would otherwise be left to rot or burnt in a slash pile.

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. - Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. – Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. - Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. – Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

This kind of stewardship of our natural resources is a rare find in today’s contemporary business world.  This makes a place like Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. all the more special as they are not just focused on the product they create and make available, they also care about the source, and the longevity of our forests.

We can honestly tell you that based on these facts, Thomson Bros. will be one of the first places we consider for sourcing our lumber for our next project.  And to think, if we weren’t the photography adventuring types we would never have found this wonderful local business and learned all about it.  This is certainly one of the key reasons we love our work so very much here at The Hollow.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us here at The Hollow today!  We love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below!

Ask someone what makes the Cowichan Valley so special and you will likely get a very long list of answers.  But one thing is for certain, there is no place quite like it.  Nestled between the bustling cities of Victoria and Nanaimo, the pristine coastline, towering cedars, sparkling lakes and rivers, and mountains that seemingly touch the sky, will surely beckon you to stay just a little longer.

Maude Joe - Cowichan Knitter and her Cowichan Sweater - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Maude Joe – Cowichan Knitter – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Inhabited by the Coast Salish People for thousands of years, the Valley is truly a melting pot of all things unique and beautiful.  Award-winning wineries serving local seafood and farm fresh delicacies dot the hillsides.  Ornate totem poles proudly tell the stories of those who carved communities out of the lush forests.  Artists celebrate the distinct flavour of the area in pictures, paintings, carvings, pottery, jewellery and many other imaginative ways.  Books and museums abound with quirky and riveting tales of the towns and cities and the people who brought them to life.  But of all the things uniquely Cowichan, none is quite as special as the Cowichan sweater.

Maude Joe - Cowichan Knitter and her Cowichan Sweater - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Maude Joe – Cowichan Knitter – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Maude Joe - Cowichan Knitter and her Cowichan Sweater - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Maude Joe – Cowichan Knitter – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Hand-crafted of non-dyed wool, these soft and naturally waterproof sweaters feature meaningful native symbols and patterns that are often passed down from mother to daughter.  And while it’s easy for most of the year to think that the weather on this scenic island is always warm and breezy, nothing will keep you warmer or drier during the rainy months than authentic Cowichan knitted items.  Maude Joe is a Cowichan knitter who has lived her entire life in the Cowichan Valley.  She offers one-of-a-kind hand-knitted sweaters in several styles, as well as other knitted items from practical headbands and leg warmers to whimsical accessories and key rings.

Click here to see video fullscreen – Maude Joe – Cowichan Knitter – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

If you’re planning a visit to Vancouver Island this summer, why take home a souvenir that will be part of your next garage sale?  Maude can help you chose the symbol and design that will become your own inimitable work of art.  She can be reached by calling (250) 510-2247 or by email at [email protected].  So don’t just take home a bobble to remind you of your special time in the valley, take home a part of our history.  It’s our gift to you!

Until next time!
Warmly,
Mrs. Toad

Francis Mawson Rattenbury was a true character, one who left his indelible mark on our city’s landscapes even though his time spent on the west coast of Canada was mired in controversy.  Eventually leaving BC to start a new life with his new wife, his demise was both shocking and unexpected as he was found in his sitting room with blunt force trauma to his head, all due to the storied life he led and all the hullabaloo that surrounded it.  That proverbial saying “truth is far stranger than fiction” can find no better roots than in the life-story of Mr. Rattenbury himself.

Nanaimo Court House - Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Nanaimo Court House – Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

The Nanaimo Court House is a building that has beckoned me like a moth to the light for years now.  It seems every time we visit Nanaimo I am at the very least passing it by, always on the lookout for a fresh perspective or composition.  Little did I know that our latest foray into the city would result in me going down an unintended rabbit hole of discovery.

I have an incredible love for the dramatic heritage architecture found here on Vancouver Island.  Year of weathering coupled with incredible architectural details has left a fingerprint on our cities that will not be forgotten as long as the buildings remain.  Little did I realize that my love for this architecture has been forming a specific taste in the past couple of years, and after this particular adventure I am beginning to unearth a fascination for the work of Mr. Rattenbury, even though his story is somewhat sordid for the times he found himself living in.

Originally built in 1895, four short years after arriving on the west coast, today the Nanaimo Court House is on the official Heritage Register as an important landmark and icon for the Nanaimo area specifically, and Vancouver Island as a whole.

“It appears that the heritage portion of the court house is the oldest operating court facility in British Columbia,” said Dave Townsend, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General.

This quote printed by The Daily News (Nanaimo) on Canada.com is just a snippet of the fascination that you can find while delving into this building’s storied past.  Even today, contemporary stories of drama and wrongdoing unfold in these old hallways and rooms, adding layer upon layer of history to a place that already holds it’s own in this regard.

British Columbia Parliament Buildings - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

British Columbia Parliament Buildings – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

I believe for many people who are a fan of this type of subject, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings are his most famous buildings, forming not only an integral part of our provincial government but also creating a landmark and icon that are part of the very character of the city itself.

The Empress Hotel - Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The Empress Hotel – Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

What I didn’t fully appreciate as I set out to research the Nanaimo Court House was it’s deep ties right back to Victoria.  The Empress Hotel is a destination for both locals and visitors alike, and is another terrific example of the dramatic work that Mr. Rattenbury created.  It seems that even though his personal life was in somewhat of a shambles at various stages of his life, his work has incredible staying power in the minds and imaginations of everyone who sees it.

The recent colonial history of Vancouver Island only really dates back about 150 years or so.  I find it amazing beyond description the incredible history and stories we’ve amassed in such a short period.  It seems that no matter where you go on the island, there is a terrific story…  and usually a story that is a little hard to believe at first glance.

As you are out and about exploring your own area, keep an open mind and an eye out for the unusual.  A healthy sense of curiosity can lead you down the most amazing pathways, one that will result in a personal connection that will remain with you.

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

The wonderful community of Oak Bay sits just outside the downtown core of Victoria and plays host to some of our most lovely heritage homes and buildings, and forms an integral part of the history of the city itself.  In today’s post we find ourselves continuing our long-running photoblog series “The Anglican Church Project” with a visit to St. Matthias Anglican Church, a lovely character church that sits in Oak Bay as an important anchor to the community.

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

We recently invested in a few new lenses in anticipation of the busy year we have in front of us, photographically speaking.  One of these lenses was a major investment intended to be used specifically in our architectural work, a Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens.  It’s also excellent when applied to landscapes, and I also anticipate I will enjoy it when we visit the car shows this year.  At any rate, with it still being rather new in our camera bag I find myself quite excited to have an opportunity to fully exercise it, as we did on our visit to St. Matthias.

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

I had a great time exploring all the rich woodwork found inside the church, and due to the bright light from the sunny day some of the shots required 11 brackets to fully capture all the details in the bright and the dark areas of the scene.  This is where I find that HDR really shines as an applied technology.  The textures and the roll-offs between the shadow and lit areas of the frame are fully expressed in these images.  We really encourage you to click on the pictures to see them in full-screen to really appreciate the depth of the dynamic range captured.  This, of course, translates to fully capturing the character and essence of the beautiful facility itself.

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Looking towards the back of the building we enjoy a view that shares the true scale of the church, accented perfectly by the stained glass that colorfully compliments the richness of the wood ceiling and surrounding details.  This is truly a warm and inviting space, one that beckons you to visit and stay awhile.

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Once all the wide shots were captured, it was time to find the vignettes, the stories within the story.  I’ve been really enjoying working on a new HDR technique lately where I use off-camera speedlights to delicately light certain aspects of scenes, and I have to say I am quite happy with those results.  These details that we find embedded within the facilities we visit really add a great touch of character to the session and the project, and we are very happy to share them here with you.

This blog only features a selection of the 32 images we captured during our visit, if you’d like to see the entire set please visit our gallery: St Matthias Church – Victoria.

Thank you 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 feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.

It is often said that one person cannot change the world.  And while many may believe it to be true, apparently no one thought to tell Major James MacFarlane.

A land owner on Vancouver Island in the early days of the twentieth century, fuelled by Irish whiskey and sheer determination, he took the government of the day to task to get a road built connecting Victoria to Mill Bay.  After surveying it himself, he saw it completed in 1911 and was the first to drive a buggy over the new scenic and often harrowing new road.

The Malahat and a Nepal Fundraiser to Help Earthquake Victims

The Malahat –

Archive Photo of the Malahat

Archive Photo of the Malahat

Archive Photo of the Malahat

Archive Photo of the Malahat

One Man’s Dream-The History of the Malahat Highway” is a hilarious look at how unwavering persistence and a personality as large as life really can change the world, or at least a small part of it!

Archive Photo of the Malahat

Archive Photo of the Malahat

On June 3rd, 2015, at the Island Savings Centre Theatre in Duncan, B.C., come and treat yourself and your friends and family to a night of laughter and delight as you tag along with Major MacFarlane on his zany adventures.  You will never look at the Malahat highway the same ever again!

One Man's Dream and a Nepal Fundraiser to Help Earthquake Victims

One Man’s Dream

And if one great story just isn’t enough, a second feature, “Seventy-One Years, The Loss and Discovery of Avro Anson L7056” will leave you wondering what happened when a WWII fighter plane took off with a four man crew from Pat Bay airport and vanished, only to be discovered 71 years later by a logging crew near Lake Cowichan.

Seventy-One Years and a Nepal Fundraiser to Help Earthquake Victims

Seventy-One Years

And if that’s not enough good stuff for one night, this gala evening is part of a fund raising effort by Director Nick Versteeg to help those who’s lives have been devastated by the recent earthquakes in Nepal.  Having experienced the earthquake firsthand when he was working on a new documentary in Nepal, he feels compelled to help those who have lost everything.  This is a fabulous opportunity to support an excellent cause, knowing that every cent will go directly to the people who need it to rebuild their communities and their lives.

Tickets for this exciting double-feature offered by DV Media and the Mill Bay/Malahat Historical Society are available by calling the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre at 250-748-7529 or on-line here.

More information about the local history of Mill Bay/Malahat can be found at millbaymalahathistory.ca

Hope to see you on June 3rd!

Quiescent Possibilities

Posted: 20th May 2015 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It is often said that one man’s garbage is another man’s gold.  For some people a scene like this appears to hold something that is better left to the auto wreckers.  Other people, like me, see an endless sea of possibility.

Old Classic Truck In Garage - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Old Classic Truck In Garage – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Whether you are a purist at heart and can only imagine this gem restored and returned to its original glory, or you are a hot rodder with a wild heart who sees the ultimate platform for a modern fuel-injected powerplant with modern suspension and brakes, and air conditioning and stereo system, this truck embodies an indelible sense of endless possibility.  I love both concepts and would be happy to see this truck turned into one of the two options.

Have you found any treasures on your adventures that might have been considered to be garbage to some?  Please do share your stories with us below in the comments section, we love to hear from all our visitors!!

Save Up To $300 On ZEISS Lenses at B&H!!

Save Up To $300 On ZEISS Lenses at B&H!!

An Outward View

Posted: 8th May 2015 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , ,

Summer is just around the corner now here on Vancouver Island, everything is turning vibrant green and the air is warm.  On a recent excursion, I found myself driving down the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island, enjoying the scenery, the sounds, and the smells of late spring.  With the pace of life being what it is lately, days spent exploring the island are to be treasured, to be enjoyed like a fine wine.  At one point on my travels I noticed a scene that caused me to pause.

Vancouver Island Landscape - Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Vancouver Island Landscape – Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

It’s truly hard to beat the landscapes we find here on the island.  In this shot we are looking across Brentwood Bay, and in the distance we see layer upon layer of tree covered mountains creating an almost perfect green carpet.  A new, contemporary home sits looking out towards the bay, and if you look closely (click on the picture to see it fullscreen, it’s well worth it) you can see the part of the house that looks out over the ocean is floor to ceiling glass.  The views would be spectacular, to say the least.

Now that the weather is starting to turn warm and sunny, it’s time once again to head out and check out all the island has to offer.  I can honestly say we’re blessed to live here in a place that defines the term “God’s Country”.

Thank you so much for visiting us here at The Hollow today, we really 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.

It was a damp, grey and rather dreary spring afternoon when Mrs. Toad and I found ourselves coming into the wonderful little character town of Chemainus here on Vancouver Island.  The colors were somewhat muted by the thick rain clouds that lingered overhead.  It was a good day to photograph the wonderful Victorian styled character homes of the town, bringing us back to our very roots in photography by inspiring us to spend some time with that which we love so much here on the island; our local architecture.

Victorian Heritage Character House - Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Victorian Heritage Character House – Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As you come into town a row of these simply beautiful homes comes into focus.  They have been beckoning us to photograph them for years now.  Each one is unique, yet as a group they all share marked similarities that bring them together in community.

Victorian Heritage Character House - Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Victorian Heritage Character House – Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Each house has its own color scheme, which is likely chosen carefully to be highly sympathetic for the times the homes were designed and built.  Peaked roofs and wonderful details make each one stand out, while at the same time being a part of a collection.  This one was likely converted to a duplex at some point, turning one wonderful home into two.

Victorian Heritage Character House - Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Victorian Heritage Character House – Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Some have slightly weathered features worn with pride that embody the years of life and love experienced within the walls.  Each one has been modified, added onto, over time with personal features that make the home both unique and unlike any other, as well as creating a space that is literally customized for the family that inhabited it.

Victorian Heritage Character House - Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Victorian Heritage Character House – Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Some are very brightly painted with colors that exude the personalities of those who own them.  This home features a wide bevy of architectural features which appear to be customized by a highly skilled woodworker.  Some of these features are referred to as “Victorian Lace” for obvious reasons.

Victorian Heritage Character House - Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Victorian Heritage Character House – Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Victorian Heritage Character House - Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Victorian Heritage Character House – Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

This one is a home and is host to a small local business.  If you look carefully you can see additions that have been added on, likely over time as needs and the families changed.  The colors are bright and cheerful, as are the residents of Chemainus, creating a happy and inviting feel.  It’s easy to imagine yourself visiting this shop and spending hours exploring the wares displayed within.  An entire afternoon can melt before your very eyes.

Victorian Heritage Character House - Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Victorian Heritage Character House – Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Some of the homes have received very tasteful contemporary renovations, all the while maintaining that special link to the Victorian era that makes them what they are today.

Victorian Heritage Character House - Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Victorian Heritage Character House – Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

For some people, this is an old house for sale.  For us this is a dream just waiting to be discovered.  These homes are a lot bigger inside than they look from the outside, this one having around 2,000 square feet in it.  It is so easy to imagine a summer’s evening spent on the porch in a chair with your favorite beverage, watching the townsfolk and visitors alike as they pass by.  This is a sure-fired way of making new friends, not to mention the wonderful lifestyle that you would have living in a small close-knit town on Vancouver Island.

Chemainus Theatre Festival - Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Chemainus Theatre Festival – Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

A literal stroll across the street and you find yourself visiting one of Vancouver Island’s best treasures, the Chemainus Theatre Festival.  We’ve been many times ourselves for a gala evening of a black tie dinner accompanied by a lovely pianist, then followed by a wonderful evening of live theatre in a very intimate setting.  There is simply no better way to spend some time.

It’s truly amazing what you can find in your own backyard if you open your mind to look for it.  The tiny town of Chemainus has a wonderful back-story to it, now it’s colloquially known as “The Little Town That Did“© through an entire revitalization process.  In the summer, the town is full of locals and visitors alike, all coming to experience the unique feel and offerings that are found here, and in the winters the town leaves you feeling as if you’ve discovered a wonderful secret that is yours alone to explore and experience.

Thanks for popping by to visit us here at The Hollow today, 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!

The Edge Of The World

Posted: 30th March 2015 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

As the gulls circled overhead on the constant lookout for their next meal, a gentle cold wind made the grasses dance and the waves lap against the shore.  Vancouver Island is an amazing place, one that reveals natural treasures from every vantage.  Some of the most beautiful scenes are those where you look outward towards the ocean.  These living picture frames are dynamic in nature and are constantly changing, showing something new and beautiful each and every time.

Ocean and Mountain View - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ocean and Mountain View – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

This has to be one of my favorite photographs from this year so far.  It’s got it all; snow-capped mountains; huge ships in the distance, and a dingy bouncing over the waves as the pilot makes his mysterious journey across the vast waters.  The mountains we see here are part of the Olympic Mountain Range in Washington State in the United States.  At night when it’s clear you can sometimes see a few twinkling lights from communities over on that side of the proverbial pond.  I am not quite sure what the navigation aid we see here is officially called, but if you look closely you can see a bevy of what I believe to be cormorants standing sentry.  So much to take in and see in one frame, a Vancouver Island moment forever frozen in time.

Thank you so much for your visit to The Hollow today, we really 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.