There is just something utterly romantic about trains.  Almost everyone remembers The Orient Express and has some association with trains from this period.  Imagine if you will, a beautiful historic steam-driven train meanders through the countryside, working its way through tunnels, over deep canyons and up over mountain ranges.  The cars are full of the finest dapper gentlemen and the fairest of beautiful ladies all dressed in flowing outfits.  Everyone sits in wonder as the clickety-clack of the wheels moves the procession along.  The landscape rolls by the windows, slowly, allowing the passengers to really take in all the wonder of the scenes around them.

Qualicum Beach Train Station - Qualicum, BC, Canada

Qualicum Beach Train Station - Qualicum, BC, Canada

Before the train came to town, though, Qualicum Beach was primarily focused on the booming logging industry and agriculture.  In 1912 the train station was built, designed to complement the town using rustic architectural features that were so predominant at the time.  The main station has cottage style elements and has a freight storage area directly attached.  The second story was originally built as the agent’s quarters, a concept rather familiar for the times.

HistoricPlaces.ca discusses the history of the place and details the architectural features of interest:

…the building’s rustic-vernacular architecture, including its irregular massing, wood-shingled, bellcast hipped roof, clapboard and shingle siding, eave brackets, dormers, variation in pitch between the station and freight shed roofs, twin brick chimneys and the combination of mullioned single-hung, fixed and casement windows…

All these elements come together to create a totally unique place that fits into the local setting just perfectly.

Qualicum Beach Train Station - Qualicum, BC, Canada

Qualicum Beach Train Station - Qualicum, BC, Canada

Over 10 years was spent in refurbishing this facility to bring it back to the condition we now see it in here.  I have to say, we are pretty excited about all the local groups we’ve found that have a sole focus of repairing and maintaining these critically important heritage structures.  This goes a long way in preserving our really interesting past to share with our future generations.

Even though Vancouver Island is around 100-150 years old, the short history we love is truly storied.  People came and settled on the island and life was not easy for them.  The winters were harsh and the landscape at times was unforgiving as the island features oceans, fields and high mountains…  and everything in between.

Qualicum Beach Train Station - Qualicum, BC, Canada

Qualicum Beach Train Station - Qualicum, BC, Canada

The grounds today are meticulously maintained, accenting the buildings that surround it.  There is a distinct old world feeling to Qualicum Beach and it’s the perfect destination if you are hoping to get away from the modern world and all the hustle-and-bustle of current day life.  When you come here you find yourself almost immediately shedding the trappings of our electronic world, you are encouraged to slow down and take in the scenery and surroundings.  A walk through downtown takes the visitor through an adventure exploring some really unique and special shops.  We come here often, winter or summer, as a means to take a break.

In the picture above, we see a wonderful old heritage church peeking out.  This church will be a feature we present in the future, and it really adds so much character to the setting.  To us, quaint doesn’t even begin to describe what you see here.

Qualicum Beach Train Station - Qualicum, BC, Canada

Qualicum Beach Train Station - Qualicum, BC, Canada

As you turn to leave the station you find this wonderful old locomotive on display.  This truly speaks to the importance of our past as this steam locomotive is in near pristine condition.  These locomotives were rather common sights all those years ago, making their way up and down Vancouver Island bringing goods and trades with them.

We really find that this strong connection to our history is both important from the perspective of documenting our history, but is also a heart-warming experience to have on a personal level.  Nothing feels quite so nice as walking through this little community, enjoying the parks and lovely little stores…  and in the summer this place comes alive in grand fashion becoming home to many car shows and art exhibits.  Qualicum Beach is a true destination in every sense of the term.

We hope you have enjoyed joining us today on this little adventure.  Thank you so much for taking the time to visit, and as always we encourage everyone to leave us any comments that you may have as we really love to hear from all our visitors.



  1. avatar Edith Levy says:

    What a beautiful place Toad. I love the second image and I can just imagine people standing on the platform waiting for the train to arrive. You did a wonderful job of capturing and processing these images.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks ever so kindly, Edith, your ongoing friendship & support really means an awful lot to us here. Thank you for taking the time to pop by, and for leaving us your wonderful comments!

  2. avatar Rich McPeek says:

    Terrific writeup and images Toad! Another awesome job!

  3. Don’t you agree, Mr Toad, that railway stations on Vancouver Island are totally recognizable thanks to their unified style, an indication that they all were built at roughly the same time? You have a great entree. Every photograph here supports the text and vice versa, and the first photograph stands out nicely as a Portrait of a Building. The good weather is here again, so many places to go again (so little time), I really enjoyed this post.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I totally totally agree with you, wholeheartedly, Joseph! Thanks for taking the time to visit, and for these awesome comments! They’ve been working on restoring the Nanaimo station the last few years, I am not sure if it’s done yet or not… but it will be another great subject to shoot, no doubt! Thank you so much for your continued support of us, Joseph, that really does mean so much!

  4. What great care and attention seems to have gone into the station. Reflected aptly in the care and attention in both the photos and accompanying words

  5. Another fantastic series of images, Toad – with your usual informative and equally entertaining narrative. Shame the locomotive was behind a fence as this would have provided a second great series of images as you explored the details so prevalent on such a mechanical master-piece.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I totally agree with you there, Mark. I tried and tried to compose a shot of the train that was a little better than the one posted, but that fence just kills the scene in my humble opinion, so I just opted to go with a wider view to provide a bit of context. Thanks a ton for taking the time to pop by, and for your thoughtful comments!

  6. Wonderful photo essay, as usual, Toad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      It’s always such a huge highlight of our week when you pop by, Mark, thanks so much!! We really appreciate it, more than we can properly express!

  7. avatar Jerry Denham says:

    Great work Toad. What a nostalgic area. Love the old locomotive.

  8. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    Just guessing here, but I am thinking they don’t want you around the train. Curse that fence! Another wonderful photo essay Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so much, Chris, I guess my love and propensity to try and drive anything mechanical was circumvented by someones clever placement of fencing! You know I looked for the keys for it. :D

      Thank you so very, very much once again for your kind visit and friendship here, Chris, it really means an awful lot!!

  9. avatar Curt Fleenor says:

    Wonderful post Toad!

  10. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Wow, that really brings back visions of the past. They really restored it so it looks like brand new. I rather enjoy train travel. It’s so relaxing watching the country side go by.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I’ve only been on one train ride myself, but enjoyed it so much for the exact reasons you mention, Rick. Thanks so very much for taking the time to swing by and see us here today, we sure do appreciate it!

  11. avatar LensScaper says:

    Tremendous story, lovingly told, and great images. This is so beautifully preserved now – it goes to show what can be done if people and communities come together. If only this happened everywhere – sadly it doesn’t. This has been an inspiring read, Toad. Thanks for that.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you for your kind visit and comments here, Andy, your thoughts are really quite wonderful and we appreciate them!

  12. I am so impressed with the way you have shown off this station both with your images and with your words Toad. I have come to expect nothing but quality from you and you never fail to deliver!

    Well done my friend.

  13. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Terrific images and write-up Toad. I always love your description of your subjects . Almost as good as the images…

  14. avatar Fred Norris says:

    Well done old boy,stunning images and a great storyline Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks, Fred, we always love it when you swing by for a visit like this! Much appreciated, my good friend!

  15. avatar Jim Denham says:

    My kind of place of Toads! What a wonderful building and interesting design, with a wonderful surrounding landscape! Good stuff!

  16. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    I have never seen a train station from up north. I will need to include some on my trip (whenever that happens to be!). Lovely writeup and photos as always buddy. Nice work.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Pop on by sometime, Adam, we’ll take you around to see ‘em all! :) LOL Thanks ever so kindly for all the friendship and support you give us here, it really means so much more than we can properly express here.

  17. avatar A.Barlow says:

    wonderful set of images and strong writing also. So much to see and learn there. Just awesome sir.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Aaron, I can’t begin to thank you for all you do for us around here. Much appreciated, my kind friend. :)

  18. Once again you have presented something so charming that I am automatically drawn in and feel like I’m there! I absolutely love trains – there is nothing like ridin’ the rails! So glad to see that it has been preserved for future generations to enjoy. Awesome photos my friend!
    Also looking forward to seeing that church!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What a kind thing to say, Michael, thank you so very much! We truly appreciate you taking the time to pop by, and for leaving us these absolutely wonderful comments! :D

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