I’ve lived here my entire life and had no idea such a historic place existed right in the middle of one of our higher end districts.  The little community of Oak Bay, in Victoria, BC, boasts wonderful architecture, scenery and ocean-side features.  It also is home to some of our oldest ghosts.

We’re visiting The Tod House today.  It is widely believed to be the oldest house in Western Canada finished in 1851.  The home is constructed with local heavy timber featuring pegged and dovetailed construction, which is rather rare to our area.

The Tod House - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Tod House - Victoria, BC, Canada

Today the beautiful heritage home sits in the heart of Oak Bay on a normal sized little plot.  Surrounded by other historic and heritage buildings, it blends in with its surroundings making it a place you could drive or walk past without a second thought.  At the time is was originally built, however, it would have been situated deep in a dense forest on the outskirts of what was to become Victoria proper.

The white picket fence and the fine details that ensconce the front porch make for a nostalgic scene.  With the smallest amount of imagination, one is transported back 150 years to a time when the land was untamed, and people were busy trying to establish and create this burgeoning community.

The Tod House - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Tod House - Victoria, BC, Canada

Rumors persist today that allude to the thought that underneath this storied house lies a series of tunnels that lead to the beach.  From where this house is situated, those tunnels would have to be complex and extensive, if this is indeed a true story.  Word has it these tunnels were used to run contraband back and forth from the house to boats anchored in the Oak Bay harbor.  At the time this all would have been happening, this entire area would have been fairly uninhabited making this a perfect location to get in and out with the booty.

Now, these stories are all rumors and are unsubstantiated.  With that being said, I have spoken first hand to people who have seen themselves similar tunnels in other buildings in the Oak Bay district, adding some credence to the entire notion.

The Tod House - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Tod House - Victoria, BC, Canada

Numerous other stories persist regarding hauntings, as well.  It is widely believed that the home is the source of several spirits, with the following story running most people’s blood ice-cold.

One day in 1952, Col. Evans was installing an oil furnace. He hired workmen to dig a hole in the yard to place the storage tank. After digging about 7 feet deep, one of the workmen made an unusual discovery. Though badly deteriorated, there was no mistaking he had uncovered skeletal remains. The Colonel asked the workman to finish digging up the bones, but they demanded an exorbitant amount of money to finish. The Colonel ended up excavating the skeleton himself. The remains were human, but the head was missing. The Colonel had the skeleton examined by an anatomist who believed the body to be that of an Oriental or First Nations Woman. He believed the bones had been encased in quick lime to dissolve them.

BCHeritage.ca has a terrific site with some further details on the house for those who may be further interested in the stories.

Quite honestly, we were pretty amazed to come across this wonderful old house given how long we’ve lived here.  This entire story really goes to show how enthralling history is and how much of it can sit just below our awareness.  We’ve been on ghost tours of the city before and they are incredible experiences.  The thing is, though, these are all stories today but back then these were real events that happened to real people.

Our deep love and fascination of our area only grows when we find such wonders.

Thank you for your kind visit to our blog today, we really appreciate it.  We encourage everyone to leave us any comments you may have as we really do love to hear from all our visitors.  Until next time, my friends!!



  1. avatar A.Barlow says:

    You know, one thing that I have noticed throughout the year or so of looking at your images and visiting your blog; the place where you live seems like it’s in a perpetual state of “fall”. What I mean is that everything is all leafy and looks like it’s October.

    I think it’s kinda interesting and it just struck me. I think there might be more to your little island than you’re letter in Toad :)

    Cool shots BTW!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Heh! Thanks Aaron, we really appreciate your visit and most wonderful comments here today! I ain’t yardin’ your chain my friend, we depict what we find here, when we find it! You should come on up for a visit and we’ll take you around to see for yourself!! :) Thanks so kindly for popping by today, my friend, you made my whole afternoon!

  2. avatar Mrs. Mudpuppy says:

    What a terrific shot of this historic house Toad! Many stories abound about ghosts that may or may not roam here. Whether true or not, it makes for a very interesting subject of your photographic work!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much, my dear friend! Your ongoing support and friendship means an awful lot to us lil’ Toads here! :D

  3. avatar Edith Levy says:

    What an amazing story. It just goes to show that no matter how long you live in a place there are always new things to be discovered. Terrific shots Toad.

  4. These are all wonderful shots Toad! I really like the way you present the story with your pictures. I feel like I am right there. It’s amazing what you can find in your own “backyard” – things you just never see. And a good ghost story is always exciting!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Isn’t it, though? :) Thanks from the bottom of our hearts for your support and encouragement, Michael, we really do appreciate it!

  5. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Another excellent find for the Toad. Nice post and images. You always seem to find these places that have a touch of mystery in them. Old forgotten tunnels – check. Ghost story – check. Wonderful post – priceless.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again Len.. you, sir, are a scholar and a true gentleman, my friend! Thanks so much for your visit & support here, we really appreciate it a lot!

  6. avatar Dave DiCello says:

    A wonderful set of shots and an outstanding write up, as always my friend!

  7. avatar Rick Louie says:

    That house looks like a family homestead. Who would think that there was criminal activity below. I can imagine that along with criminal activity there were probably some lives discarded around that property which would lead to “ghostly” activity.

    I think I just creeped myself out. :-) Thanks for sharing Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Well, they did find the one body buried!!… without it’s head, nonetheless!! So who knows what lies beneath the rest of the yard there! Uh oh, I’ve got an idea. Anyone have one of those underground detector jobbies and a shovel? LOL Just kidding. Thanks for your wonderful comments today, Rick, you definitely brought a smile to my face!

  8. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    So wait, if I double dog dare you to sleep there, would you? The tunnels add a nice big of intrigue to the history and now I want to come visit just to see if I could figure that part out. The haunting on the other hand, yeah, I don’t want to figure that part out. Nice series and history today!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You could triple dog caterpillar dare me and there’s NO WAY I’m gonna spend a night in that house! Unless of course, we turn it into a get-together and you come up and do it WITH us! :) LOL Thanks so, so, so much for your visit and most wonderful comments, Chris!

  9. avatar Jim Nix says:

    such great history and a ghost story too? what a post Toad, thanks for sharing!

  10. Lovely images Toad! I grew up just a couple of blocks away from Tod House and it was part of the neighbourhood lore. We were aware of the stories and as kids, we thrilled at the thought of ghosts being there – but sadly, never found any! Coincidentally, my post today is also about ghosts, though a bit further north.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Wow, wow, wow! Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to pop by and visit us today, Laurie, we sure do appreciate that! Your comments are wonderful, thanks for leaving those with us!

      Also, I popped over and checked out your blog! WONDERFUL! Today’s post is melancholy and profound, I really enjoyed it a lot! I now have you in my RSS list so I won’t miss another post!! :)

  11. avatar Curt Fleenor says:

    Wonderful set of images Toad and a fantastic history to accompany them.

  12. A nice series of images and a very interesting narrative to go with them. I especially like the last image – the open gate seems to provide a welcome to the house or even an invitation to visit.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you kindly, Mark, that really does mean an awful lot to us coming from you my friend! Thanks so much for taking the time to pop by, and for leaving us your wonderful comments!

  13. avatar Erin Duke says:

    What an interesting story this house is part of! I would love to know more about the tunnels…know anybody with ground-penetrating radar?? As always, this post is informative, beautifully photographed, and provides an excellent story. :)

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We don’t know anyone with ground penetrating radar… yet! Time to put an ad in the local paper I think! Thanks so very much for your kind visit and comments here, my friend, we really do appreciate all your friendship and support!

  14. Nice set of images – wouldn’t it be great if the tunnels were really there? The story lends quite a bit of mystery to the image. Good job!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much Mark!! We really appreciate you taking the time to pop by and for leaving us your thoughts here!! I just got a call last night from my friend who tells me that further evidence exists in the Oak Bay area of these tunnels which just adds more credence to this story. Fun, eh?

  15. avatar LensScaper says:

    I love the detailing around those supporting pillars of the front porch. Fascinating back story too. It’s so true that you can live somewhere for years and still find out something new right on your doorstep.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Isn’t it, though, my friend? Wonderful comments here today, thank you so much for taking the time to visit and leave these for us!

  16. avatar Renee Besta says:

    Dear Toad: You have done it again! I love your work and writing, and reading the background information is always a treat. You should consider working as a travel writer and photographer. I am smitten with haunted places. Perhaps you should contact the Ghost Adventures crew on the Travel Channel to come investigate this place. Have you ever tried to get permission to photograph at night? Would be chilling, but lots of fun. Great job! The Hollow is always rocking!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What wonderful ideas here, Renee, thank you for your thoughtfulness, my friend!!! Your ongoing friendship and support here means so much, we can’t possibly find the words to express it!

  17. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    Spoooky story! I love these kind the best. You have done such an amazing job finding and sharing some of the best local history up there and I thank you!!

  18. avatar Michael.C.G says:

    great shots
    i also grew up in this area..we used to scare ourselves as kids walking the dark alley behind the house at night(it’s still eerie today).for those looking for ghosts at Tod house now though,you should know the hauntings and strange events apparently ended when the skeleton in the yard was found and then buried properly.
    i’ve heard different stories about the tunnels,some say they were also an escape route for John Tod.it’s know he had troubles with the authorities and also indians.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Hi Michael, thanks so much for taking the time to pop by and for leaving us your comments here! These are awesome. I was wondering about the skeleton and if it had any effect on the ghostly sightings. I didn’t realize there were stories about the tunnels being used as an escape route, that’s a new twist! Interesting!! Thanks so much for popping by my friend, I’ve put your blog into my RSS list to follow here. We really appreciate you taking the time to come see us!

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