Today we adventure together by taking a visit to a little town on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, in BC Canada.  Chemainus was originally founded and settled by the folks involved in the logging industry, and for decades the town was a booming locale.  Great portions of modern history on Vancouver Island were all originated in this little town, including visits from prominent businessmen.  Rumor has it that even John D. Rockefeller at one point had visited on a business trip.

In the early 1980’s the logging industry in BC took a massive hit as the economy and free trade brought in world-wide changes.  These changes directly affected the town of Chemainus.  Destined to become another ghost town, the local folks banded together and created an idea on how to reinvent themselves and bring prosperity to the town once again.  It was decided to change the look and feel of the town, and to become a major tourist attraction and destination for visitors to the island.  A series of murals were commissioned to be painted on the sides of many buildings and artifacts in town, and this had the immediate desired effect.

Today, Chemainus is a famous destination for folks visiting Vancouver Island, and people from all over the world make specific journeys to the town during the summer to take in the heritage, sights and sounds.  A true success story, to be sure.

MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. - Train Exhibit - Chemainus BC Canada

MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. - Train Exhibit - Chemainus BC Canada

Given the history and origin of the town, it’s only fitting to start our journey today looking at a must-see tourist exhibit showcasing the logging industry.  This is the MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. No. 1044 Locomotive.  Today this locomotive sits in a park designed specifically to host this artifact.  A classic, old steam locomotive, this example of hardware engineered and required to perform the logging duties of the time is truly a specimen to take in.

MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. - Train Exhibit - Chemainus BC Canada

MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. - Train Exhibit - Chemainus BC Canada

Time has definitely taken its toll on No. 1044 as she now sits on a small bed of tracks specifically laid for her resting place.  Many textures and details emerge as we take in this scene and begin to appreciate the harsh realities of life during this time.

MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. - Train Exhibit - Chemainus BC Canada

MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. - Train Exhibit - Chemainus BC Canada

She may not be shiny and new anymore, but I’d need quite the convincing to lose my faith that with a little polish and a touch of TLC, she couldn’t be brought back to service.  There is something very romantic about trains in general, and the old steam locomotives in particular are truly architectural wonders as well as items that are mysterious and interesting to those of all ages.  As we stand here taking in this scene, you can almost hear the shout of the engineer as the load begins to slowly move down the tracks…  the steam bellows from the stack, the bells ring loud and clear.  We’re on our way forward!

We have an extensive series of images to share with everyone from the town, and we will be posting these over the course of the week so please do stay tuned.  This is the initial post in our new series “The Toad Visits Chemainus“; we hope you join with us and enjoy.

Many thanks for taking the time to visit today!  Please do feel free to leave any comments you may have as we truly love to hear from all our visitors.




  1. avatar Jim Denham says:

    I love these old trains, and I agree, it looks like she could back in business with a little work! Great start – can’t wait to see the rest of the series!

  2. You’ve really captured the history and romance of Chemainus through these images of her famous locomotive. I love the intense tones of charcoal, blue and green and the shadows that cross the face of Number 1044. Looking forward to more images from this village.

  3. avatar Heather says:

    oh my wowsers 🙂 this is going to be a good series 🙂

    • We were definitely thinking of you Heather when we were putting this together! Really glad you had a chance to pop by today, and we hope to meet your expectations with the rest of the series as it comes rolling out!

  4. avatar Fred Norris says:

    Well Toad 1044 looks great considering she is almost 90.Great series of images,alot of these impressive steam locomotives were in active service till the late 60’s.Thanks for sharing,looking forward to more.

    • I didn’t know that, Fred! Thanks! Once again, we get a little more information on a really cool topic from our friend, Fred, here! Thanks ever so kindly for your visit and for taking the time to leave these great comments, they add so much… really appreciated!

  5. avatar Chris Wray says:

    Don’t know how I managed to miss your latest post! Great photos! I’ve a real weakness for steam locomotives. You’ve really captured her weathered exterior. If this steam engine could talk…oh the stories it could tell!

  6. Great photos today Toad! How old would you say this train is…100 years? I really enjoyed taking in all the fabulous detail!

  7. avatar ChrisdMRF says:

    Love the processing on the train, it really brings out a sense of age and history. Great write up as usual my friend, brings the area to life.

  8. avatar James Howe says:

    I definitely love old trains and you’ve done a nice job with this one.

  9. avatar Dave DiCello says:

    Love all these shots my friend. I have never gotten out to shoot trains, but you have inspired me here!

  10. Love these shots. And who doesn’t love trains anyway. 🙂

  11. Brilliant, I love Old Trains. This one has a typical Canadian look to it….MacMillan Bloedell!

    Great Job!

    Erik

  12. avatar Jose Vazquez says:

    Love the details in that second shot. Very nicely processed.

  13. Nice images of the Loco Toad – like the final one a lot.

  14. Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures! What is it about trains that draws us as photographers? I enjoy railroad photography so much. Great shots as always my friend!

    • I just LOVE trains Michael, I am sure I got this appreciation from my Dad. He was an avid train enthusiast, as well. Thanks so very kindly for your visit and these absolutely wonderful comments!