High atop Mission Hill sits Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church, a beacon of hope and fellowship for everyone in the area.  This beautiful Gothic Revival styled facility was constructed in 1877 and was the first Anglican Parish in the area, deeming it the Mother Church.  This is a historically significant building that was completely restored in 2004.

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

This story starts back over a year ago now, when we were originally contacted by a representative for the Anglican Church to inquire about purchasing one of our church photographs to include in a large annual fund-raising calendar they print.  They chose our image of The Anglican Parish of Saint Peter, Quamichan (Duncan, BC), which was included on the December page of this 60,000 copy printing.  To say we were delighted and honored would be an understatement.

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

We received our copy of the calendar for our portfolio with a wonderful letter inviting us to submit some images for the 2013 edition.  And this is where the entire adventure began.

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

After receiving our invitation, Mrs. Toad set about several days of research in an effort to find the perfect place.  When she found Saint Andrew’s, we knew we had found it.

Using our favorite photography tool, The Photographer’s Ephemeris, we found the perfect time in terms of lighting to capture the full beauty of this church and made plans to make the several hour journey north.  Watching the weather reports for days on end finally revealed the perfect day for the trip.  And when we arrived in Courtenay, we were greeted by the most spectacular day with the most spectacular pure blue skies.

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

During our research we quickly realized that we had discovered a place that is highly revered in the local community.  It’s history is based entirely on the settling of the area in the mid to late 1800’s, making this an incredibly important facility.  Completely restored in 2004 from the foundation up, incredible care and love have been invested in ensuring that the church is available for parishioners today and well into the future.  It also stands as a reminder of the past and history that helped to create the area we all love and call home today.

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

But as with many stories that have some roots in modern times, we also find controversy and pain.  Just before Christmas of last year, vandals struck.  And they struck with a vengeful and vitriolic message that permeates the air today and speaks of struggles many groups are facing in maintaining heritage structures for future generations to enjoy.

This sincerely breaks our hearts.

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

The perpetrators of this heinous activity used this beautiful old, historic facility as a canvas to spread their personal form of hatred.  They painted swastika’s and the word “skinheads” on the building, which was covered in our local news video segment “Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church“.  The really sad part is the local police believe that the people responsible for this are undoubtedly youths in the area, and to make it even worse, they probably don’t really understand the significance of the hatred they spew.

They don’t even really know what it is they think they stand for.

And the church, and the community, suffer for it.

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

We took no pictures of this vandalism, not wanting to perpetuate and spread the ill feelings these sorts of things promote.  We prefer to focus on the beauty and interest that can be found.

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

We work hard here at Toad Hollow Photography to find and capture images of historically significant buildings and artifacts.  We do this with a deep passion for the area we live in, and as a means to preserve history to share with future generations.  We are actually hoping to work with another group here in the Victoria area in the weeks ahead that is also intent on preserving history.  We strive to be part of the solution.  If you are a subscriber to our newsletter, we’ll have news of all this to share with you in the coming days so please do stay tuned.

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Vancouver Island may only be 100 to 150 years old now, young in terms of worldly civilizations.  But it is a storied place with its own character and history that well deserves to be documented and shared.  We are thrilled to be part of this as it means so very much to us.  We’re noticing that more and more people of our generation are coming together in an effort to preserve our past, and this is a heartwarming activity to be a part of.

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church - Courtenay, BC, Canada

Even in very recent years we’ve planned to photograph specific buildings that the rumor mill seems to believe have a short life expectancy.  On more than once occasion we’ve made the plans and showed up at the location to find the building gone.  This only further serves to remind us of the urgency of our mission here, time waits for no one and progress marches on continuously.

Our desire to photograph and share our history is something that brings us much personal joy and satisfaction.  We are continuously amazed by the following we have here and the way that our work seems to resonate and connect with others.  This is highly meaningful to us, and in some ways drives us on.

We have a second part to this post coming in the next few days, featuring the historic cemetery located right behind the church.  Our story shared here today continues and we hope everyone stays tuned.  In the meantime, we’d like to thank you so much for your kind visit, and we encourage you to leave us any comments you may have as we love to hear from all our visitors.

Sources

Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church – CTV News

St. Andrew’s Mission Church – official Anglican website

St. Andrew’s Anglican Church – HistoricPlaces.ca



  1. avatar Heather says:

    I will never understand that kind of hatred. What a poignant series Toad, thank you!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I can’t begin to tell you how much we appreciate all your kindness & support around here, Heather, thank you both for your visit and your awesome comments my friend!

  2. Stunning images Toad and congrats on them being used in the calender(s). I totally agree about not using images of the Vandalism and the reasons for choosing not to.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Chris, you are both a scholar and a gentleman my friend! Your support means an awful lot to us!

  3. Great write up and set of photos. My favourite is the one next to last. In my experience views through trees and branches do not always photographically work. In this case however the vegetation helps make and frame the image and the photograph has become top notch.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I had a real hard time with that one, Joseph, I am so happy to hear that you share my feelings! I really ended up loving the shot for the reasons you expressed here. Thank you so very kindly for all your support my friend!

  4. avatar Erin Duke says:

    Fantastic write-up and beautiful photos. Well done, sir! On the other side of that coin, I will never understand the deep-seeded hatred that some people hold within them. Good for you for not portraying those images.

  5. avatar Eden says:

    What a lovely old church! I like the shot through the trees :)

  6. avatar Edith Levy says:

    What a lovely series of images Toad. I particularly love the (8th) image with the focus on the stained glass windows framed by the trees. I just can’t understand what drives people to deface property and spew hatred towards any group. It saddens me that there individuals out there who do this. I feel a rant coming on so I’ll stopped there :) Looking forward to recieving the newsletter and I don’t think I told you how much I enjoyed the first one. Thank you!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We’re blown away here today by your fabulous comments, Edith, how can we properly thank you enough for all your kindness, support and friendship?

  7. Excellent series of images Toad with a very nice write up as well. I applaud you for your comments on the vandals and for deliberately not showing any of their disgusting handiwork. This must have limited your work in some way – but you still managed to come away with an great series of shots.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so much Mark! Your support and encouragement of our work here is just wonderful, my friend!

  8. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    You guys are doing a fantastic job preserving the history of this beautiful area! I keep wanting to visit more and more with every post… :) Well done buddy.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      As you well know, not only would your visit be welcomed, it would also be a total highlight for us, Adam! We sincerely hope that perhaps one day it could happen! As always, your ongoing support and friendship here means so very much to us my friend, I tip my hat to you!

  9. avatar Jim Denham says:

    What a gorgeous building with so much character! Sorry about the vandals, such a waste of time on everyone’s part to deal with that. Beauty story and images Toads!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Gosh, thanks Jim! I can’t begin to say thank you properly for all your support and friendship here! You sir are a true friend! Thanks, from the bottoms of our hearts!

  10. avatar Jim Nix says:

    I love how your passion for the area shines thru here (like always) – sorry to hear about the vandalism – glad to see you working to preserve the rich history of your neck of the woods (err, swamp)

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      :) LOL You, sir, always bring a smile to my face. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and for leaving us your awesome comments here, Jim!

  11. avatar ehpem says:

    Toad these are great pictures. I so totally agree with your decision to not photography the graffitti – it should not be perpetuated.

    I love photographs of old wooden churches from this part of the world. They are interesting buildings, with often quite strange designs when conceived and built by a local priest and congregation.

    If you are looking for more subject matter like this, you might want to check out St. Stephens on Mt. Newton Cross Road. It is the oldest church in BC used continuously since construction (1862), and is in a great setting too.
    http://www.ststephensanglican.net/?page_id=170

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Wow, thanks so much yet once again, my friend! You know the best places around here, that’s for sure. I can’t believe I didn’t know about St. Stephens before! Huh. :) Well, it’s on my ToDo list now!! Thanks so very much for your wonderful visit and comments, it always means so very much to us my friend!

  12. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    What a bummer on the vandalism. We’ll never understand why people resort to that. Great choice on not showing their ill-placed expressions.

    But on the positive, these are really great images you’ve provided, as always. Love the write up. interesting and enjoyable reading.

  13. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    So awesome Toad! Congrats on getting the images circulated. It sucks that vandals have to be such pricks :( Hopefully Karma will pay them a visit!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Karma has a real long memory, Chris, so I have no doubt that they will receive what’s coming, in due course. Places like this should be loved and preserved, not used as a platform for a personal (and horrid) message. Thanks so much for taking the time to pop by today, good sir, we always appreciate your visit!

  14. Such a shame that a few misguided individuals can ruin something so meaningful to an entire community. Everyone there is fortunate, however, to have your images and words to highlight all the positives about this church.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That’s so awfully kind of you, Steven, thanks so very much my friend! We sure appreciate all your support around here, it really means a lot!

  15. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    What a fantastic series of images Toad, and a great post that deals with the kind of trouble that permeates our society today. I applaud the fact that you didn’t take any images of the vandalism, and just showed the pure beauty and history of the building itself. I love all of the images, but for some reason the third to the last really stands out for me. Maybe it’s my love of angles and stained glass. They always get to me! :)

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