Rusty Gems

Posted: 14th February 2012 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography, The Toad's Tonka Toys
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For some folks finding a diamond would be considered the ultimate score, but for others its rust.  I happen to be one who falls into the second category, that’s for sure.  Mrs. Toad, on the other hand, probably resonates with the first category.  Today we continue our long-running photoblog series “The Toad’s Tonka Toys” with a trip back to the BC Forest Discovery Centre in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.

The entire island was pretty much founded on the back of the logging and mining industries, and us islanders are dedicated to preserving these memories and artifacts to share with all future generations.  The Egyptians have gold encrusted Sarcophagus’s to act as reminders, we have rusty antiques.  Neither is more beautiful than the other, at least in the eye of this beholder.

Museum Artifact - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Museum Artifact - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

I am sure that the question in your mind now is one that everyone has asked themselves; I am no different here.  What is this, exactly?  At first glance it’s got 4 wheels and an engine… the perfect recipe for a vehicle to have fun in!  All that we’re missing is a seat, a steering wheel and some cool gauges.  Oh yeh, and one of those wonderful scarfs that will trail in the wind as we careen our way down the busy highways.

Closer scrutiny reveals that we are probably looking at a rudimentary form of fire-fighting equipment here.  This particular unit it absolutely well-loved.  Great rusty textures and details all come popping out of the scene here, producing a striking figure.

Museum Artifact - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Museum Artifact - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

As we continued our adventure with the Mudpuppies on this searing summers day, we came across this find.  Once again, the first glance may reveal to the viewer a scene of utmost confusion.  Not readily identifiable, we can honestly tell you this artifact is massive.  The log perched atop the unit here is one of our bigger logs on the island, requiring the ginormous vehicle with its oversize wheels to move it from point-to-point.

I think what’s really amazing here in this shot, is this vehicle was designed to run on log rails.  The engineering involved in designing and creating the required rail-line is truly mind-boggling to me, and produces yet another example of how necessity is truly the mother of all invention.  I sure wouldn’t want to be the one responsible for changing a flat on this!

Museum Artifact - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Museum Artifact - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Our final parting shot for today’s post is of some form of a crane.  I could be totally wrong, but I believe this is a steam-powered unit due to the stack on top of the cab.  To me, it resembles the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz for some reason.

We really had a great time exploring the museum and surrounding facility this day with our friends.  We found so many fabulous items, many of which we’d never seen before.  I actually filled my memory card and had to go pruning part-way through the visit just due to the incredible amount of photography opportunities we found.  Way more than we expected, that’s for sure!

If ever you get a chance to visit the museum, we highly recommend it.  There’s something here for everyone to enjoy, and we are quite sure you’ll come away fascinated and educated on what early life on Vancouver Island in Canada was all about.  We’re definitely going to head back there this year again; hopefully we’ll grab some of the shots that we missed on the first round.

Thanks so very kindly for your wonderful visit today, we really do appreciate it.  As always, we encourage everyone to leave us any comments that you may have as we love to hear from all our visitors.



  1. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    You sure can find the great toys, Toad. :-)
    Love these images, they are great. That railroad logging car and the old steam shovel/crane are rare finds for sure. Nicely processed and placed on display for us to enjoy.

    Thanks!

  2. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    Love this trip back in time Toad! That old log is huge! Wonderful post n images as always my friend! :)

  3. avatar Rick says:

    Wow, that’s a cool find. A log cart that moves on logs. How ingenious!

    • As an engineer I always love the creative ways that folks came up with plans to deal with problems in our past! Pretty cool, eh, my friend? Many kind thanks for your visit and comment here, Rick, it’s awfully kind of you my friend!

  4. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    This is seriously an awesome find. That trailer thing with the giant tree trunk is stellar, as is that old tractor. Friggin sweet!

  5. avatar andy gimino says:

    Really great post toad! Love these images and your stories as well!

  6. Very cool stuff. That log transportation device is really quite amazing, and you’ve done a wonderful job capturing these machines.

  7. avatar Eden says:

    Great colors! Brilliant processing.

  8. These are awesome Toad. I can’t pick a favorite…wonderful images. You have a knack for finding this incredible items.

  9. avatar LensScaper says:

    Another cool find, Toad. That crane looks worth a closer inspection. I like your connecting it with the Tin Man – nice bit of lateral thinking!

    • I’ve never been called a thinker before, thanks Andy!! LOL :) Thank you so much for your visit here, my friend, we really do appreciate it so very much. We’re planning on heading back to this place this summer, so now I have an assignment to get up close and personal with that crane! Thank you so much, Andy, you’re the best!

  10. Great stuff Toad. I love the scale of that giant tree.

  11. What great finds Toad! The tree in the second shot is a serious piece of lumber and the steam crane really does resemble the Tin Man.

  12. avatar Mike says:

    How satisfying to not only be studying the history of your area, but also to be experiencing it and then doing a FABULOUS job at documenting it! You sir are one of the best. Congrats on your recent Headline at the Treasure Herald my friend. It is well deserved!

  13. avatar ehpem says:

    Hi Toad – those are great photos of really interesting machinery. As you say, logging is an essential piece of the industrial history of British Columbia and these are great examples of how it was done. I really like your processing on these too. Especially the first shot.

  14. avatar Jim Nix says:

    wow Toad great stuff here, lovely details and textures too!

  15. avatar Caroline Brooks says:

    I’m grateful to LightStalking on Twitter for drawing my attention to these pictures & narrative, to you for creating them, and to the British Columbia Park for knowing what to preserve from a fascinating past. Well done all.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We are absolutely humbled and honored by word kind words here, thank you SO much for all your kindness! We truly appreciate the time you’ve taken to pop by and for leaving us your wonderful comments!

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