As we find spring approaching, everyone begins to revel at the notion of warmer and longer days to enjoy.  We have a wood burning fireplace at The Hollow for our source of heat, and I can honestly tell you my flippers start getting tired from stacking, chopping and carrying wood for 11 months straight, and we really look forward to a break from it all.  But, it wasn’t that long ago now that wood burning appliances were the difference between surviving and not.

We’re back at the Metchosin Pioneer Museum today in Metchosin on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.  This post continues our now long-running photoblog series “The Antiques Toad Show” which is the direct result of having private access to the museum one day after-hours, with great thanks to our best friends Dad, The Curator.  This was a wonderful experience, and we still have quite a few images on file here to share with everyone.

Antique Wood Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Antique Wood Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

I’ve always been amazed at how function dictates design, but this is always tempered with mankind’s ingenuity and artistic flair.  Back in the day, wood stoves like this one were used to heat the home in the dead of winter, and in many cases were also used for cooking and/or heating water.  It’s quite obvious the “function” part of the equation here, but what about the “artistic” part?  On this stove, two pieces are enameled in blue adding a touch of the personality to the item.  If you look carefully, the intricate iron-work is also noteworthy inasmuch that a lot of care and craftsmanship went into its design.

Antique Wood Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Antique Wood Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Although this unit might be far less colorful, it is no less ornate.  This one is long and skinny, and the top element section was used to heat your hands or your hot-toddy after a long day in the frozen outdoors.  Once again, fairly intricate ironwork is visible on this piece, even though it clearly was designed primarily to suit its function.

Antique Wood Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Antique Wood Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

This unit was on display in a little girls room.  We have photos of that room pending for a future post, but in the context of today’s feature this fireplace was a delightful item to include.  This particular stove is much more ornate with delicate details and features to soften its appearance than the others discussed so far.  It would totally fit into any little girls room as both a decoration and a utilitarian appliance.  The weathering evident on this unit must tell a story, and you can almost picture a little girl sitting around this stove with her toy dolls as the brutal Canadian winters raged on outside.

And now we shift our focus away from wood-burning fireplaces to a wonderful antique wood stove.

Antique Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Antique Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

This is a really, really incredible old cast iron wood stove.  There is just so much to take in with this scene, all the weathering and wear-and-tear on the stove adds so much character.  Oh, the stories it could tell!!  We also enjoy seeing some period-correct cooking pots and pans on the stove, bringing the entire scene to life.

Antique Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Antique Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

As far as we were told, all the pieces were intact here but time had taken its toll.  The really great news about this stove is that it is in process of being completely restored!  Each nut and bolt, each piece of carefully designed cast iron has been disassembled and refurbished back to new.  We have seen a few images of the stove in its current condition, most of the way through the restoration, and we can honestly say this piece is even more magnificent now.  We hope to head back to the museum in the near future to take some images of this beauty in her current state to share, so please do stay tuned.

Antique Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Antique Stove - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

On a personal note, this is one of my favorite images from the shoot.  We really get to see the rich textures and details at work here with the shallow depth-of-focus.  I’ll just bet that many-a-finger was burnt on the handle for the stove cover during those nasty winter storms when this stove was running at full tilt.

The museum was so full of great items to view and explore, it was quite the challenge to focus on the ones that stood out for photography.  The entire adventure was a pure delight to have, and as mentioned we still have many images to share with everyone.  We hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with us on today’s field-trip, and hope you join us on our future posts as we continue to explore the Metchosin Pioneer Museum together.

Thanks so much for your kind visit today, we really do appreciate it.  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. we take certain things for granted in our modern, western civilization. Things such as heat and hot water on demand, electricity at the flick of a switch, Irons that do not need heating on a stove.
    In one of the farmhouses I grew up in we had wood fires and no central heating, we had an old range cooker fired by wood to provide hot water and heat in the winter you could cook on it too, although we had an electric cooker which was normally used for this purpose.
    These marvellous images take me back to my childhood at the farm and simpler times but even that pales in comparison to the hardship that the early settlers must have endured.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What fabulous comments to share here with everyone, Chris, thank you SO much! I totally agree with your thoughts here, this is pretty much what I was thinking of as I was writing today’s post. It really means a lot to me to see you come here and connect with our work like this, that is just wonderful. You, sir, are the best of the best!! :D

  2. avatar Mrs. Mudpuppy says:

    Great images Toad! I believe the cookstove is completely refurbished now so you’ll have to hop back over for another photo session, she’s a beaut now!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Obviously we need to fire up the ol’ rocket and head back there for a follow-up! Thank you for the update Mrs. Mudpuppy, we sure do appreciate all your support and kindness around here!

  3. avatar Jim Denham says:

    My Grandma always had a wood stove for heat and man did they put out! Awesome set of images showing a classic household instrument that would still be a viable option without the feed of electricity! well done!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you for those most wonderful comments here Jim, everyone will enjoy them, no doubt about it! We really appreciate all your friendship and support, good sir, thank you!

  4. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    We had a cabin when I was a kid that had an old wooden cooking stove like your last three photos. The great thing is that puppy would heat the cabin up nicely in the winter, but in the summer it was brutal. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That’s the thing about wood heat, eh? No thermostat. LOL :) Thanks so much for popping by today, my friend, we really appreciate that so much!

  5. I need to find a curator friend! Great series as usual Toad! I love the last shot as well it’s so rich in detail and texture and reminds me of my late Grand Uncle that lived his whole life in the old family farmhouse, he had a stove just like that in the kitchen with a coal pan right next to it, and used it until about 1998, I was always enamored with the spring handle (but it sure got hot!)

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What incredible comments to share here, Howard, thank you ever so kindly!! We appreciate that more than we can properly express! I got a burn just by looking at the hot handle!

  6. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    These are some really cool images Toad. They really show how hard (at least by today’s standards) it was to supply the normal trappings of the home. You are quite the master at giving us a perspective on history.

  7. avatar Dave DiCello says:

    I love the textures in these my friend! Outstanding work and amazing processing!

  8. avatar Eden says:

    I like the DOF in the last shot, Toad :) Have a great weekend!

  9. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Wow these are great. I love that wood burning stove. You’ve done a tremendous job in bringing out all the wonderful details in it.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks ever so kindly there, Edith, your ongoing friendship & support means the world to us here at The Hollow!!

  10. avatar A.Barlow says:

    Another awesome and informative set of antique shots man. Your a master at this!

  11. avatar Jim Nix says:

    nice work Toad! I esp like that last shot, well done!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you Jim! That one is doing really well on Flickr, too! It was definitely my personal favorite from this particular batch, but I do admit I love ‘em all! Thanks so much for your kind visit and comments today, we sure do appreciate it!

  12. avatar Fred Norris says:

    Blimey Toad jolly good job! As a young lad I remember growing up in several flats that had similar stoves,these images really take me back.Thanks for sharing

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so very much there, Fred, we really appreciate it so much when you pop by for a visit like this!

  13. Another great series Toad! It’s always interesting to see how people lived in simpler times. And the cook stove? WOW! That thing is so cool! I love the details you presented of it too. I really like those old stoves. Hope you have a great weekend my friend!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks SO SO much there, Michael, your ongoing friendship & support means more than we can say my friend!

  14. avatar LensScaper says:

    I love that final image. The selective focus is very well chosen indeed. I remember the coke that was shovelled into the boiler in the kitchen to heat the hot water. No central heating – on cold winter mornings there was frost on the inside of the window in my bedroom.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Oh wow, Andy, that sounds cold from HERE! Thanks so much for your kind visit and great comments that I am sure everyone will enjoy!

  15. Looking at your different entries about the Metchosin Pioneer Museum I know I have to visit the place in the foreseeable future. Of course perusing this great set of photos is a good motivator for visiting the museum.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You will LOVE it if you go, Joseph! We didn’t even scratch the surface as to what’s all hidden in this wonderful treasure-chest! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and for leaving us your comments today, my friend, we really do appreciate it!

  16. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    The Antiques Toad Show is back!!! These need to be compiled in to a book. I would surely purchase one. Nice work as usual you two. Some fantastic work here.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You, sir, are both a scholar and a true gentleman Adam! Thanks so much for your words of support and encouragement!! A book, eh?? Hmmm!!!! There’s a great idea!!

  17. Terrific series of images my friend. That last one is especially nice with great details and nice dof.

  18. Nice, I like old things telling history, especially in good photography!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so much, Bente, that’s awfully kind of you my friend! We really appreciate you taking the time to pop by, it was nice to meet you! Please come again, we’d love to see you here at The Hollow one day in the future!!

  19. avatar ehpem says:

    I really like your artifact photos Toad. You really do a nice job with them, and bring out so much information in a single view.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Gosh, thanks so much, that’s awfully kind of you my friend! :) Many thanks for your visit and support!!

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