A Mask With No Face

Posted: 4th February 2011 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I have been saving this image all week, I thought it would be a great way to wrap up a Friday for everyone!

Heritage Building - Victoria BC Canada

Heritage Building - Victoria BC Canada

As discussed in our previous blog posting “‘Northern Junk Co.’ – The Toad Encounters a Mystery“, the city of Victoria takes great pride in our heritage buildings.  We have many bylaws in place to ensure that the history and heritage of the city are not suddenly ruined because some developer somewhere wants to put up a 23 story high-tech condo unit.  This approach to saving our past is a double-edged sword.

A lot of the owners of these buildings in Victoria only own them for one reason; the value of the land.  They care not at all about the buildings on them, as a matter of fact, some of the buildings are small and this is one of the reasons that the owners do not restore them…  not enough square footage to get the rent they want in terms of dollars.

So in some cases, the building languish in dire need of repair and maintenance.  The city will not allow them to be torn down, the owner won’t spend money on restoration…  it’s a bit of a stand-off, really.

This building we showcase today is a prime example of this quandary.  I believe a fire was responsible for absolutely gutting the building.  Obviously the cost of rebuilding and restoring it are so high the owner won’t get the rent they desire, so they leave it standing as is.

If you notice carefully in this image you will see large steel struts holding up the front of the building, and if you peer through the windows, you will see a similar engineering structure in place inside to help support the building facade.  In our eyes, this building is absolutely beautiful and should be brought back to life.

Closer scrutiny will also reveal some interesting graffiti on the front, including some sort of Pac-Man motif.  Some artist somewhere was very dedicated to this cause, there’s no way you’d find me scaling the side of a building like this just to tag it!

Anyways, we really hope you enjoyed today’s image as much as we did bringing it to you!!  Please feel free to leave some comments, we truly love to hear from all our visitors!  Happy Friday, everyone, have a hoppin’ good weekend!!



  1. What a strange building! It’s been morphed into something so very different from its original, beautiful self. Is there a Dr. Kevorkian for Architecture? This one needs to be put out of it misery. Glad that you captured this shot . . . I think.

  2. avatar Viveca Koh says:

    NOT climbing up for a spot of tagging Toad? You surprise me, thought you’d be up there quicker than I could say “spraypaint” ;)

    I like this image, the building seems to have a hopeful air about it, as if to say “all is not quite lost just yet” – maybe if someone with enough money comes along there could be another story to tell ….

    • LOL! Thanks so much Viveca for your faith in my spraypainting abilities! I love your comments today, I think they are spot on… I have such a strange feeling when I see this building as you mentioned, on one hand very sad, but on the other I can also see her all done up and in her glory again with just a little imagination… thank you kind friend!!

  3. avatar mindymilburn says:

    We have one of these here in my area, I think it is a landmark of some sort so just the face of the building still stands and the road is built around it :) Beautiful shot, it is sad to say but run down buildings make for beautiful photos!

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  5. Do they ever keep the facade and rebuild the structure behind it in Victoria? I think they have done that in Vancouver but I can’t think of a good example at the moment…

    • Good question! To be honest, I am not sure, but I DO believe this is the plan for this building. I believe this is why they’ve put so much effort into stabilizing it with front and inside struts.. as a matter of fact, some of us believe that because the facade is intact, under the bylaws they would HAVE to do something like what you propose. I could be wrong, I don’t have an official link into the planning offices here, but this opinion is based upon the local scuttlebutt.

  6. You’d be amazed where graffiti artists manage to get. A very interesting building, will be interesting to see if anything comes of it, but somehow I doubt it. We have a building in the same situation. The front is listed but that whole place is too large for anyone to invest money to develop. I shall find away in one day.
    Great week of posts. :-)

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment today Dave, we really do appreciate that! Really also appreciate all the support you’ve given us it means a lot!! :) Good luck with acquiring this building you speak of! I’d love to buy this building we’ve shot here and convert it into a Fine Art Digital Photo Gallery, but I think we need some funds here… LOL

  7. avatar Tom Barnett says:

    Toad! This is a great old building! Great comp and detail. Love the blog my friend!

  8. [...] I have been saving this image all week, I thought it would be a great way to wrap up a Friday for everyone! As discussed in our previous blog posting "'Northern Junk Co.' – The Toad Encounters a Mystery", the city of Victoria takes great pride in our heritage buildings.  We have many bylaws in place to ensure that the history and heritage of … Read More [...]

  9. [...] same time, but never completed it. Last week I was surprised and pleased to find a similar image on Toadhollow Photography posted last February – I had only just discovered the Toad’s blog and photographs which [...]

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