The day was very cold, and for the most part the only sound to be heard was that of our shutter clicking.  We’re back at Tillicum Lodge today checking out our second-to-last post in this latest photoblog series “The Toad And The Lodge“.  This series shares a large set of images of a Senior care facility that has been long abandoned, for over 17 years now, in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

As we turned to leave the service and maintenance area after finding what we believed to be the exit to the morgue in yesterday’s post, we encountered another courtyard area.  The entire facility is the definition of dichotomy given its current state, and this tree really spoke to this observation.

Caught in a life and death struggle with the encroaching blackberry bushes, it’s only a matter of time before the bushes finally have the strength to completely overcome this tree.  Just like the facility itself.  As mentioned in some of our previous posts in this series, parts of the facility appear to be recently worked on, while most of it does not.  Mother Nature waits for no contractor and marches on relentlessly with her work…  always returning order to chaos.  It’s only a matter of time now…

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

A loudspeaker lies silent here, no longer beckoning residents to their rooms for dinner time or their granddaughter who made a surprise visit today.  The bracket that once affixed it to the building is totally rusty, yet the speaker housing itself creates an interesting figure in the heavy brush.  I still bear the scars from the scratches the blackberry bushes gave me while I was composing this shot, almost as if they are standing guard over their domain trying to keep unwanted visitors out.

You could almost feel them grabbing at you as you worked your way through them.

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

Almost completely inaccessible now, this entrance/courtyard area has almost completely succumbed to the onslaught of vegetation.  As we neared the end of the shoot in this area, the silence was absolutely deafening, I could hear the blood pumping in my ears as we continued our work.

At then, suddenly, out of nowhere…  the hearty croak of a large Toad.

We circled the area from where the sounds were coming, with no luck.  This Toad was trying to tell us something, but wanted to not be seen.

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

As we turned a corner to work our way back out of the grounds, the croaking of the Toad followed us.  It was as if it knew we were almost done our work, and was telling us to press on to the finish.  The eery sense that had followed us the entire afternoon while photographing the facility was slowly beginning to lift.  We had what we came for and it felt as if the building was thankful that someone cared, someone took the time and effort to share its story with the world.

This story has not much longer to go.  The sunroom/entrance-way has almost entirely fallen prey to the workings of the weather and nature now.  No doubt anyone who returns here in 6 months or a year will find an entirely different scene.

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

What once was a busy entrance for residents, visitors and care personnel is now a sign of decay and the power of nature that surrounds us all.  The only vestige of life is the one that clearly states KEEP OUT.

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

As we turned to leave the north area and return to the front, one last scene presented itself.  Once again we encounter something that is desperate to tell its own story, the field of whispers.  When the landscaping was maintained, the grasses short, this field would have been full of life.  Right behind us as we stand here taking this photograph is a vast and dense forest.  At this time in their lives, having a chance to live in such a beautiful facility surrounded by the wonders of our Vancouver Island forest would have been very meaningful to everyone.  That connection both with a dedicated and caring staff in a gorgeous facility, coupled with the ability to literally reach out and be one with the surrounding forests is profound.

Even as we went about our shoot, this sense was highly tangible.  The staff may be long gone, and the facility may be uncared for…  but the beauty of its architecture intermingled with the power that is felt in our rich forests still remains behind.

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

Tillicum Lodge - Victoria, BC, Canada

We now make our way to the service driveway and begin working our way back out to the front area for the final and parting shots of this great adventure.  We know we got what we came for and are anxious to get back and start looking at all the gems on the memory card in my DSLR.  But, with that being said, a few more shots remain to be captured and shared.  We must temper this excitement with the idea that just a little more work needs to be done.

Tomorrows post will be the final one of this photoblog series.  We really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to join us on this truly epic adventure together and we hope you’ve been enjoying it all.  Please make sure you come back tomorrow to see the wrap-up to the series, and in the meantime we encourage everyone to leave us any comments you may have as we truly love to hear from all our visitors.



  1. avatar A.Barlow says:

    Walking around in these places ever give you the creeps? Place looks like it’s to quite to ignore. Like every little sound would become suspect. Nice work.

    • You know it, Aaron, TOTALLY the feeling we had while we were here! There is a lot of security around, as well, so we half expected meeting someone who would ask us to leave. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and we managed to get in, get our job done, and get out safely.. and, we left all the spirits behind as well. :)

  2. This really is a great series toad. I love an explore and I feel I am there with you through each turn of this old facility.

  3. avatar Viveca Koh says:

    I am now feeling thoroughly shivery, and whilst I am no stranger to abandoned buildings your write-up has really enhanced the atmosphere of the photographs and made them extra evocative. I’m really enjoying this series Toad :)

    • THANK YOU SO MUCH, Viveca! I am beaming from ear to ear here with your comments, you made my whole day! Given the type of work that you and Mark do, this is a huge compliment and honor for us, my friend! I will be sitting here for the rest of the day basking in your thoughtful words and sentiments, my dear friend, thank you ever so much!

  4. avatar Renee Besta says:

    Dearest Toad: Your series on Tillicum Lodge is very compelling and emotional. It’s as if I am on the grounds exploring myself. I get shivers just reading your words and viewing your lovely images. Perhaps you should consider a career as a travel writer. Your photo blogs are spectacular, and I do not know where you find time to do so much exploring and writing. But I am grateful that you have shared these adventures with your friends. I totally enjoy your work. Blessings to you, friend!

  5. avatar andy gimino says:

    Wow toad…i love how you weave a narrative for your posts! what a great series!

  6. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Great continuation to the series Toad, Excellent story and images. This could be a movie with all of the suspense!

  7. avatar ehpem says:

    Another great series. The ‘plywood shot’ (needs no more description I don’t think) really stands out for me – I love the way you captured the mildewy grain.
    And amongst the words “Mother Nature waits for no contractor” got my attention – if only it were also true for all of us mortals. ;)

    • Absolutely profound comments here, my good friend, thank you so much! It really means an awful lot to us for your visit and leaving us your fabulous thoughts, we appreciate it more than we can properly express my friend.

  8. Now how did I miss this the other day. wonderful images but I particularly love the last one.

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