Fill ‘R Up!!

Posted: 1st September 2011 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hi everyone, welcome back to The Hollow today!  I wish I knew everyone was coming, I would have tidied up a bit.  Well, it is what it is, so we’ll make due with it…

Today we’re up in Ladysmith, BC, Canada on Vancouver Island.  I know I keep sharing things that are a bit personal, but the truth is I have lived here on Vancouver Island since 1980 when I was 14.  It’s been some 31 years now…  I know, that kind of gives away my age.  The point really is I love this island, I know quite a bit about it and both myself and Mrs. Toad LOVE to photograph it.  I’ve seen a lot over the years and sure, it’s changed, but big pieces still stay the same.  There’s still always that “core” of the island here that I can count on; it makes me feel like I am at home.

Ladysmith Car Care (ESSO) - Ladysmith BC Canada

Ladysmith Car Care (ESSO) - Ladysmith BC Canada

Uh, wait.  This wasn’t like this a couple of weeks ago!  This is the Ladysmith Car Care Esso station, now boarded up.  All we can find online in terms of a background on this facility is it appears to be the victim of at least one break and enter recently.

Ladysmith Car Care (ESSO) - Ladysmith BC Canada

Ladysmith Car Care (ESSO) - Ladysmith BC Canada

From the limited information we can find, it’s been like this for over a month now.  This gas station was built in the 70’s, or maybe even the 60’s, and has always been here and open every other time I’ve gone past it.  Now, suddenly we find it closed and boarded up.  I may be mistaken, but I believe that trying to get former gas station land rezoned for single or multi family dwellings is typically a very long process.  Most of the lot’s that I’ve seen end up razed and a fence put up and left for years.  I believe this is for environmental reasons.

Ladysmith Car Care (ESSO) - Ladysmith BC Canada

Ladysmith Car Care (ESSO) - Ladysmith BC Canada

If the site isn’t going to be used in the future as a gas station, I believe it will soon meet the wrecking ball.  One more familiar landmark gone.  Development isn’t necessarily bad in-and-of itself, it’s just there’s a tinge of nostalgia whenever something familiar disappears.  At least we’ve got these photographs!

Just to put that extra something into this story, as I was wrapping up the shoot and hoppin’ back into the chariot the local police popped by for a chat.  We think someone living nearby thought that there was something unusual about a 6′ 3″ toad with a tripod.

Well, that is the story for now, anyways!  Thanks for stopping by today we really appreciate it.  Please feel free to leave any comments you may have, we always love to hear from all our visitors.




  1. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Sad to see local businesses go out of business Toad. Whenever I see something like this I wonder what happened to the owners for them to close up their lifeblood. Nice images.

    • Thanks Len, we share your questions here! It makes no sense; it was a busy station in a busy area. I guess sometimes things happen that cause these sorts of effects. Thank you SO much for your kind visit & comments today!

  2. avatar A.Barlow says:

    Man all those tires, lol. Nice shots today Toad!

  3. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    It is sad to see this, yet it seems to be such a common scene these days. I know of three gas stations and two auto dealers within walking distance that look like this shot. Sad times expertly captured by the Toads!

    • You rock, Chris, thank you so very much! It does kind of tug at my heartstrings a little, to say the least. I guess I am becoming the man my father was… always talking about “how things used to be!” LOL Really appreciate the visit and comments here today my friend!

  4. Well, now we know how old you are and how tall you are!! I love how you always sneek out back to get those fabulous character shots Toad. Love the chimney in the middle of . . . nowhere.

    • 🙂 LOL!! Awesome comments, Barbara, thank you!! So yeh, you have all figured out I am stuck at 26 years old, eh? I refuse to budge from here. Having just a little too much fun. Thank you so, so much for your absolutely wonderful comments today!!

  5. Excellent posts – glat that the cops seem to have been okay with you – it’s all part of the fun!

  6. The island and the businesses and people on it are always in the flow of time. We often have such a short perspective on time due to our short life span… I often wonder about how trees or mountains would view things? To them would things seem like the tide coming in and out? Moving logs down and along the shore line from season to season?

    That is part of the flow that you capture so well in your photos 🙂
    Keep up the great work! D

  7. avatar chris maskell says:

    A great trip into the past Scott. I must say that boarded up window is very tempting, is it loose? What’s inside?

    • The thought totally crossed my mind, but I believe the facility is actively monitored now due to how quickly the police showed up in the 5 minutes I was here shooting. Seriously, it was a little eery how fast they appeared. I think a neighbor is watching the property…. what’s inside?? URBEX goodness, my friend, I just can’t get there from here without risking arrest!! LOL Thanks so much for your kind visit & great comments today my friend!!

  8. avatar Jim Nix says:

    nicely captured Toad, and glad to see the cops didn’t cause you too much of a problem – nice images too of course!

  9. Very nice images. It looks like this has been around for some time given the age of the pumps.

  10. avatar Rick says:

    Well your not that old. Everything is changing. Sad to see some landmarks disappear as you get older. Great story telling once again.

    • Alright, well, you just became my favorite person today Rick!! 🙂 Thank you!! In all seriousness we sure do appreciate all your friendship & support my friend, you are a top drawer friend that’s for sure!!

  11. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Who hasn’t seen a 6′ 3″ Toad with a tripod? Talk about sheltered! Great documentation Toads – It’s kind of shame to see these full service stations going by the wayside. Brings back some cool memories of days gone by.

  12. Its tough to see things like this when you’re so used to “the way it used to be.” I get that feeling everytime I head back to my hometown. It just can never live up to the way I remembered it.
    Are the shots HDRs?

    • Thanks so much for popping by today, we really appreciate that! Yes, my friend, we specialize in HDR, but we try to do it in a way that’s subtle and just brings out some of the extra dynamic range of the scene we’re shooting. Sometimes it’s not very obvious, and to be honest that’s a big compliment… we’d prefer for our visitors to focus on the picture, the scene, not the technology or tools used to create it. We are so happy to see you come by today and leave us these fabulous comments, please do come again!!

  13. avatar Sirfishalot says:

    Great captures Toad! Full of character
    and very nicely presented. Sad to think that these old service stations are relics of the past. I’d be curious too about what the inside looks like. Are there no trsspassing signs posted? Very nice work my friend.

    • Hiya Jay, thanks for the visit & comments! Well, it’s not that there’s no trespassing signs, per se, it’s the active monitoring and very rapid local police response… the facility is located directly on the main highway and we believe it’s constantly monitored. We sometimes find the hardest part of doing up some of these shoots is what’s left unsaid, what’s left behind so to speak…

      Thanks so very, very much for your visit!

  14. avatar Mike says:

    Wow! I haven’t seen an Esso station in years. I don’t ever remember them being in the US but I do remember them from my time in Europe back in the 80’s.

    • Oh wow, that’s really interesting Mike, thanks for sharing that! Really happy to have had a chance to give you a bit of a memory refresh there, sorry my shots here were much more sparse than shots of an actual, ACTIVE gas station!! We sure do appreciate the visit and comments my friend, thanks!

  15. Great photos! My parents live practically next door to this station, in fact we poppedinto this store all the time when we visit. I will have to ask them what happened. Could have been my mother that called the police on you lol.

    • Wow!! Now, that’s what I call a small world. We have visitors coming from all over the world, and we have visitors from next door!!! Fabulous! Great comments, thanks for popping by and if you do indeed learn any more about the fate of the station or my brush with the law, please feel free to pop back and give us all an update! 🙂