This will likely be our last set of photographs of the Holiday Court Motel here in Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island in Canada.  This iconic and storied building is slated for demolition really soon, according to the rumors in town these days.  Several years behind schedule, the motel has been abandoned and boarded up for quite a few years now and the plans are to replace it with a massive new facility for a local plumbing supplier.

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Almost everyone who lives on lower Vancouver Island is well aware of this place and its checkered past.  We have covered the Holiday Court Motel before when we were just starting our blog here: please see ““Holiday Court Motel” – The Toad Hits The Swamp” and “Holiday Court Motel – Requiem” for the detailed story behind the history of this place.

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

I am pretty sure it was originally built in the late sixties, or even more likely, the seventies.  Some of the details and lines really speak of these times.  During its original heyday, I am quite sure the location of the motel was picture perfect for families who were on vacation to stay with great central access to many of the amenities and features of the city.

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

But, as the relentless hands of time marched on, the area changed.  It became more of a central place for troubled people, some with substance abuse issues and some who worked in the local sex trades.

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

During the eighties and nineties,  the motel was a frequent stop for the local police force.  I have no doubt that rooms were offered for rent by the hour.  The combination of the area and what was once the norm for here, coupled with its reputation, resulted in the motel becoming a magnet for trouble.  It eventually became part of the local vernacular.

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

We know folks who have friends and family with history here.  Most of the stories are truly sad, and not all end well.  But, this strong tie to the history of the place leaves many residents here with a bittersweet sense in regards to its ultimate demise.  Honestly I think it’s just hard to see change no matter the reason.

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Today we find the vines are the only active residents here.  The entire area is actually going through a bit of a metamorphosis and the re-purposing of the land to be host to a new business facility can only mean more positive improvements.  This is all well and good.

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Then why can’t I shake the sense of melancholy?  Do these buildings and facilities become personified over time, and does their demise signal a form of loss and even perhaps death?  Is it the rich textures?  The weathering?  Everywhere you look, different textures and details emerge, and each of them has their own story.

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Even the vines appear to be aware of the pending doom about to befall them.  They appear to be hanging on, nay, clinging to the building…  as if in their last gasps of life.  Just one more day!  Just one more week!!  No, the weeks draw to a close for the Holiday Court Motel, and soon all that will remain of it will be the photographs many of us have taken over the years, the memories, and the stories.

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

Holiday Court Motel - Victoria, BC, Canada

With our penchant for capturing things of historic value, things with great details and textures, things that have ties to our local history…  I doubt I’ll be back to photograph the new building.  It will be lovely, don’t get me wrong, but it won’t have the interest in terms of imagery that this place has.  There will be no history to it.  It will just “fit in”.  It will almost become part of the backdrop to the area, a wholly uninteresting and almost invisible entity.

As I stood taking this last picture, the broader realization that these might be some of the very last pictures of this place sunk in for me.  I found myself still, taking the scene in before me.  I could almost hear the bones of the motel crying out that is had stories to share, things to tell…  but soon, it will be silenced forever.

To be honest I don’t know why I am saddened by all the changes that are happening around here.  But I am.  Maybe it’s the thought that with the loss of these places a part of my history in this city will also disappear with it.

I guess it’s high time to make new memories.  And with that thought, I turned to head back to the car.

Thank you so much for taking the time to pop by our blog today and take in our latest story here.  We really appreciate it.  As always, we encourage everyone to leave any comments you may have as we truly love to hear from all our visitors.  And in the meantime, we wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

  1. avatar ChrisdMRF says:

    Great post as always my friend, the textures in the building are great and the processing has brought them out a treat.
    We don’t get buildings like this over here, not that I’ve seen anyway, it’s a quintessential N. American type motel to my eyes.
    Thanks for sharing

  2. avatar dragonflydream88 says:

    . . . great series!!! . . . you tell a story well, as we all know a picture’s worth a thousand words – but you have a gift for sharing more than just a picture when you share your thoughts . . . well done!!!

    . . . as a female photographer, I would be leery of shooting areas like this (unfortunate, but true)

    • Gosh, thanks so much for your kindness today, we really appreciate that! I have to be honest, I was more than a little trepidatious to be here, myself. It’s a pretty interesting area, to say the very least. Thank you so very much for your kind words, they really mean a lot.

  3. avatar wendy says:

    perhaps in 50 years time a young artist will wax nostalgic on the passing of the building yet to be built! i hope that that artist will be as sensitive as you.

  4. avatar A.Barlow says:

    This is the place where No-Tell-Motels go to die…

    Like the way you captured this weathered look and the history behind it.

  5. Wonderful post Toad. Yes this may have been quite the place to stay in its heyday but of late I guess its a place to stay away from. Well captured shots…I like that you’re very purposeful in the way you shoot so that the viewer gets the most intimate and thorough of views. Well done.

  6. avatar ehpem says:

    Toad, you have done a terrific job of documenting this sad state of affairs. I don’t have quite the emotional response to this building going as you do, though I too have some connections to people that lived tough lives which overlapped with this motel. I comment on your previous post that I was looking at this building just a few days ago, with a view to photographing it. I don’t think I need to now, you have done such a thorough and detailed job of it, far better than I can hope to. I trust you feel really good about these projects of yours which document buildings that will soon be gone, they help preserve something of the place after it is replaced, and do a service not only to the memory of the buildings, but to the lives lived (and ended) in them.

    • Thank you for your comments, my friend! This is my personal favorite form of work in the field of photography; a little history, a little personal impression and a whole lot of photography. We really appreciate your ongoing support and encouragement, my friend, thank you!

  7. avatar LensScaper says:

    You have an eye for capturing endangered buildings most definitely. We need to document our past and you do a first class job at doing that – I do hope your efforts will be picked up locally and become part of the archive of Vancouver Island.

  8. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    What a cool series of images Toad. I’ve seen a lot of these old places but have never stopped to photograph one. You have shown me my mistake. Great textures, my friend.

  9. avatar Jim Nix says:

    great series Toad! you really do a wonderful job documenting life in your area!

  10. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    Really nice post, Toad. I (and many others) know this story well. It happens practically everywhere. Each city or metropolitan area has a “seedy” side of town where once there were thriving businesses and delightful ways of life.

    These photos are great and help capture the essence of the story. Thanks for sharing, my friend. 😉

  11. avatar Darren Swim says:

    Great story Toads and a great job documenting what many otherwise will forget or have already forgotten.

  12. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    Wow Toad, what a terrific post. Really neat to see all these old, historic places you photograph and document. I’m assuming you weren’t able to actually get inside any of the room – not sure if you would even want to! Well done my friend!

    • Thanks, Adam, your kind comments mean so very much to us! No, unfortunately I couldn’t gain access, and as you mention it might be a little scary to try and do so! We sure do appreciate your support and kindness here, my friend!

  13. avatar Kim says:

    I found myself walking by this old motel one day and really having to just stop and look upon it. Being a connoisseur of old buildings and dwellings (the more derelict, the better!) you can bet that the Holiday Court motel piqued my interest.

    Especially upon seeing that one room being devoured by vines. Astounding.

    I just want to thank you for this blog post and insight on this building that has had quite an extensive history. I was not born and raised in Victoria so I hadn’t been around to see this place when it was open and active (in the good and bad ways) ..

    What an amazing post. You’ve a way with words and your photos are very poetic in their own right. It is indeed melancholic to think about the building’s fate. I look beyond the seedy parts of it’s life and speculate on the earlier days; the people who stayed here in it’s safe heyday and were comfortable.

    Well done.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What incredible comments here today, Kim, thank you SO much for taking the time to pop by and leave these for us and everyone to enjoy! It really means a lot when we have a chance to connect with folks like this. We feel a sense of urgency to capture as much as possible of our rapidly changing landscapes and cityscapes… before it’s all just a memory. We can’t begin to thank you enough for taking the time to come by and see us today, and we hope to see you again here at The Hollow one day soon! 🙂

  14. avatar LittlePete says:

    What a great set of photographs!! I was goggling old motel photos in Canada and what a great find this is!! I would love to visit this place as it is just a ferry trip away from Vancouver. It will be so sad to see it go. 🙁

    Do you happen to know that this is gone already?? I really hope not before I get a chance to see a bit of the old history.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Many thanks for taking the time to pop by and visit, and for leaving us your comments! I am sad to say that just the last couple weeks, the site is actively being worked on here and I suspect it will only be a matter of a few days before this storied place only exists in photographs. I am sorry to share this news with you. It was a true landmark in the city here, and there are many of us that have a sense of loss surrounding it. Thank you so much for taking the time to do all this here, it really means a lot to us.