Texas isn’t the only place where size truly matters, here in Duncan, BC, Canada we have our BC Forest Discovery Centre which serves as a museum to host artifacts and vehicles from our storied past.  The logging industry forms a cornerstone to our economy and way of life here on Vancouver Island, and we take great pride in maintaining and sharing the memories and stories of how things came to be.  This post is part of our running photoblog series “The Toad’s Tonka Toys” consisting of a set of images we captured during our visit to the centre this summer with our best friends, the Mudpuppies.

The early days on Vancouver Island were mostly full of mining and logging as big industry came here to set up shop.  The landscape is both beautiful and unforgiving, at the same time.  This resulted in many requirements to invent machinery to help the development process as the foundation was laid for island living.

Steamroller - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Steamroller - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Wheels, knobs, pulleys…  all things that are far too good to pass up in terms of photography.  And when you add in the added bonus of rust and textures, you’ve got the Cornucopia right here!  During the early days of development and settling, there were no roads.  Trees had to be cut down and pulled out of dense forests, and roads laid.  Machinery like this steamroller was invented to assist with these tasks which would have been pretty much impossible without them.

I just love the textures we find on this unit.  It’s really amazing to think about how old this vehicle is and what wonderful condition it remains in.  The Forest Centre takes great pride in finding and restoring items just like this, in an effort to preserve our past to share with our future.

Now, with all that being said, we can all see the green sign that says “Please Do Not Climb”.  Yet no one seems to mention anything about not driving this baby.  Do you think it’d be OK if I gingerly hopped aboard and took this fabulous unit out for a quick spin?  I will certainly be very mindful of the “No Climbing” rule if that makes any difference…

Classic Train - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Classic Train - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

From here, we hop aboard the classic train which takes us right to the center of the park where there is a huge display area and picnic grounds.  This train has been the subject of previous posts in this series, and the ride was a true highlight of our adventure that day.

Nothing makes Mrs. Toad and myself feel like young tadpoles quite as much as riding around on a train like this.  For some reason, this takes us right back to being kids again.  The Forestry Centre once again spares absolutely no details when it comes to setting up the place, and they have truly created a link to our past, today.  I swear, we were half expecting a group of bandits to roll up to the train at any moment and hold us up at gunpoint.  Old West style.

Log House - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Log House - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Smack dab in the middle of the facility sits the picnic and display area.  This log house is distinctly Canadian, we see a lot of classic structures like this in our area.  I believe it serves as a convention/gathering place now, but on the day we visited it was closed to the public.  No matter, we were able to capture this great image to share.  I just love the styling and the colors and tones we see in this scene; very reminiscent of early life in Canada.

I think it’s time to tie the hoss up to the hitchin’ post here and grab a glass of Sarsaparilla and sit a spell.

We’ve got quite a few more images to share with everyone over the coming weeks from the Forestry Centre, so please do stay tuned.  We really do appreciate your visit and would like to encourage everyone to leave us any comments they may have as we love to hear from all our visitors.




  1. avatar ChrisdMRF says:

    Great post, Toad old chap. I just love the scenes captured at this centre, truly fabulous

  2. Well doe Toad. You do have a knack with the written word my friend…oh and the images aren’t so bad either…LOL…actually pretty fabulous. Have a great weekend.

  3. Great write up as always. This place looks like an amazing spot to photograph.

  4. avatar Jim Denham says:

    A place set up just for a Toad! Good stuff!

  5. avatar Tom Barnett says:

    Love it! Although I think I did see an Internet news article about an over eager photographer being politely asked to leave for driving the steamroller;) What an awesome place! Great images!

  6. avatar Jim Nix says:

    nice work Toad, and love the processing here my friend!

  7. Great images Toad! That steamroller kind of made me chuckle as it doesn’t seem to have been a match for the miles of dense forests it was charged to clear. Wonderful narrative . . . what exactly is in Sarsaparilla anyway??

    • 🙂 Thank you so much Barbara! I believe that Sarsaparilla is an old-time beverage that used to be enjoyed in the early Wild West days. Now, I could be wrong, I am basing that assumption off of bad “B” movies I’ve seen. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, my friend!

  8. avatar LensScaper says:

    Great story telling and great images to go with it. I remember our village road being made up for the first time in about 1952. A giant coal fired steamroller rolled the tarmac flat. Quite an amazing sight for a small boy – clearly made an impression, as it’s still filed away in my memory!

  9. Great post! I love your photos of the old machinery and cabins. Makes me want to go out and find an old train somewhere 🙂

  10. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Wonderful post Toad. Your way with words (and images) are second to none.

  11. Looks like a very cool place to visit – well executed indeed!

  12. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    Another wonderful post Toad!!! Well done. I lvoe reading about these awesome, historical places!

  13. avatar Dave DiCello says:

    Wow, really superb series here my write! As always, your photos and write upare excellent!