We’re thrilled to bring you the next installment of our latest series “The Toad And The Bear” which highlights a story filled with intrigue and mystery.  The Bear Mountain development located just outside of Victoria in the community of Langford has all the elements of a made-for-Hollywood movie, including hundreds of millions of dollars, police investigations and famous NHL hockey players.  What could possibly go wrong?

We have a special post which outlines the back-story to this through some pretty extensive research conducted by Mrs. Toad; we encourage you to read this if you haven’t had a chance yet as it will put a lot of this post into perspective.

Today we take a look at the other side of the mountain from yesterday’s post.  This is where it all begins.  This part of the development and subdivision was the first section to break ground and has the most mature buildings and homes.  This is the part of the development one would expect to be complete with nothing left unfinished.  This section was constructed at the beginning, when everyone was all excited, fresh money had just been acquired for the project, and with much gusto the entire new neighborhood began its checkered life….

Bear Mountain - Langford BC Canada

Bear Mountain - Langford BC Canada

At first glance you take in what you might expect.  Some lovely stonework, beautiful gates, rolling vistas that overlook the wonder of mountain living on Vancouver Island; this is the life, right?  Upon further scrutiny, you might start to notice things out-of-place.  If you look straight through the gate in this image, you will see construction and storage containers and an empty lot.  At first you might think “one empty lot, big deal!” and in normal circumstances I would wholeheartedly agree with you.  But in the case of the context of the Bear Mountain development, this is actually the first crack in the plaster, if you’ll pardon the expression.  A harbinger of things to come.

Bear Mountain - Langford BC Canada

Bear Mountain - Langford BC Canada

As we peek over the gate, in the far distance we can see the village of Bear Mountain and some of the condo’s and hotels that are situated there.  From here, the sense is that most everything is in order, with just the odd little element here and there that might provide reason for pause…

Bear Mountain - Langford BC Canada

Bear Mountain - Langford BC Canada

As we turn to the right from the gates above, we are greeted with this scene.  Again, at first glance, beautiful architecture typical of West Coast living, right?  A closer look will reveal more.  The lamp-post on the stone pillar on the left is a little askew and weathered… it was installed years ago and appears to have had no maintenance since.  A sign nearby stated that this building we are looking at is a form of a “treehouse” for the children in the area.  No gates were ever installed for this entrance-way, and a chain has been draped across with a NO TRESPASSING sign.  The roadway leading up to the treehouse is absolutely littered in debris and appears to not have been in use for a very long time.  Just up around the bend, across from the treehouse, is a lot prepared for another building but nothing has been built…  this is really the first sign to the visitors of the area that something doesn’t seem quite right in line with typical expectations.

My best friend and me came up here around 3 or 4 years ago just to check it out.  This is the exact scene we encountered then, pretty much, the truth of it is there has been no change or development here in years.  A playground for billionaires, forgotten and unattended to.

Local rumors have it that the golf course and hotels and other amenities in the village proper are holding their own in terms of business and fiscal viability.  The condo’s are all lived in, and all the homes that we saw during our shoot that were actually completed seemed to be lived in.  It’s just this overall strange sense of incompleteness, which becomes more and more evident as you make your way up the mountain and see things that are more recent.

Bear Mountain - Langford BC Canada

Bear Mountain - Langford BC Canada

This picture was taken just a few hundred meters down the mountain from the previous pictures in today’s post.  This one little subdivision area was probably the first section of homes completed and appears to be fully inhabited.  The homes and architecture are of typical new design on the West Coast.  The one thing that always strikes us when we come to this area is how the homes appear to have almost no yard.  All the houses are built extremely close to each other, with almost no usable land.  Density for the area is extremely high.  This is one of those times where you really have to like your neighbors; you’re going to be almost living with them.

For tomorrow, we are going to start making our way further up the mountain.  As we make our way up, more and more unusual things will begin to emerge that will start to paint a broader picture of the community and its current state.

Thanks so very much for taking the time to visit today, we can’t begin to tell you how much we appreciate that!  Please do feel free to leave us a comment as we always love to hear from our visitors!!

  1. avatar chrisdmrf says:

    Love it. Totally enthralled by this report

  2. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    What a gorgeous area. Those homes look stunning. Great post today Toad!!

  3. avatar Kristi Hines says:

    The no trespassing sign makes me think they don’t want anyone outside the neighborhood to know what’s really going on in there. The houses look nice, but the lack of a front or backyard is a huge turn-off. Might as well be living in an apartment in that case. They are all very “cookie cutter” in terms of shape too. At first glance, it seems really nice, but you’re right – things are not all what they appear to be.

    • What an awesome comment today Kristi, there is no WAY we could agree with you any more than we do! We can understand how this style of living would appeal to quite a few people and there’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just that there is much more beneath the surface here going on… and I see from your comments you see it too. Many thanks for your gracious visit & wonderful comments today, much appreciated!!

  4. avatar A.Barlow says:

    Man, if I was one of those people that bought into the idea, you know, the early adopters; I would be pissed! I mean, you come in thinking great! we’re building a new community here. You move in, settle, things are working around you and then…. nothing. That’s what it looks like happened here. I bet their proposed home values tanked!

    Now, that’s talking from the point of view where you don’t even think of the environmental impact something like this has. If I were the law id have this unused land restored around the in place – and lived in – homes.

    IMO, this is what greed buys you. Empty yards and trash.

    • What a great comment, Aaron, thanks so much! Indeed, rumor has it that property values are not meeting expectations in the area and it’s pretty easy to see why. Nothing really appears to be finished. There’s a mess everywhere. I was up there again yesterday and even though some of the roughed in buildings are a little further along than they were when we did this shoot, it’s still an utter mess up there. Really appreciate your support and comments here, Aaron, thanks so much!

  5. Sad picture-story unfolding Toad. Did you know that photo-journalism is in your blood? Toads aren’t supposed to make “people” sit on the edge of their seats (or computer monitors)!

    • Thank you SO much Barbara! You made my whole day! It’s pretty hard to type with flippers here, so knowing that you are enjoying the series is definitely a big reward! Really appreciate that, my friend, thanks so much.

  6. Wow…an amazing story unfolding! Can’t wait for the next chapter! The photos are totally gorgeous as always!

  7. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Beautiful scenes, shame most of it is still unchanged over the years. Great post as always!

  8. avatar Jim Nix says:

    very cool collections of photos, well processed! Jim

  9. avatar Ryan Sexton says:

    Great series Toad.