A New Beginning

Posted: 10th May 2012 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography, TLC
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The constant drumbeat of progress rings in our ears as everywhere we turn we find changes in the cities we live in and have grown to love.  What if no one preserved the important heritage?  What if our history was replaced with new housing developments and no one tried to maintain this link to our past?  We’d be left with parables and fables, with scenes painted in the minds of our youth through the art of prose.  Distant reminders of what used to be.

This post marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for us here at Toad Hollow Photography.  As most of you who follow us regularly know, our first love in the world of photography is the historic homes and buildings here on Vancouver Island.  Modern architecture tends to be rather removed from all the intricacies of the historic designs and features that we love so much.  These details help to create the overall character and feel of Vancouver Island.

Gonzales Hill Regional Park - Victoria, BC, Canada

Gonzales Hill Regional Park - Victoria, BC, Canada

This is a story of hope and inspiration.  Recently through our local newspaper, we came to know about an old schoolhouse here in Victoria that has really significant historical importance.  After reading the story of the challenges involved in managing and maintaining such a property, we were inspired to call the folks who run the facility to see if we could somehow work together.  Thus began a new journey and chapter in our lives and this post marks the beginning of what we hope will become a wonderful partnership.

After several meetings and some correspondence back and forth we managed to work out the details of our first assignment.  The group we are working with is TLC The Land Conservancy of BC, a local non-profit charitable Land Trust working throughout British Columbia.  It quickly became evident our personal values were in direct alignment with these great people, and our initial meetings revealed a level of excitement on both of our parts to try to move these projects forward.

Gonzales Hill Regional Park - Victoria, BC, Canada

Gonzales Hill Regional Park - Victoria, BC, Canada

So this is our inaugural post working with the our friends at TLC.  Our first assignment was a pretty exciting one and we have two more blog posts to feature the results of these photo-shoots coming up in short order, so please do stay tuned.

In April of 1999 TLC managed to acquire the Ross Bay Villa.  This house is one of the original homes in Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island in Canada.  One of less than a dozen remaining homes that were built in the 1860′s in Victoria it is a magnificent example of the architecture of the times.  TLC has been working tirelessly on restoring the outside of the house, the surrounding grounds and gardens, and the interior with a group of dedicated volunteers many of which have been involved in the project for over 10 years.  At the time of this writing the outside is nearing completion and the final stages of restoration are primarily focused inside the house.  You can just imagine how excited we are to be a part of this!

Gonzales Hill Regional Park - Victoria, BC, Canada

Gonzales Hill Regional Park - Victoria, BC, Canada

We were asked to attend two events hosted by TLC in an effort to create further awareness of their work.  We attended both events on Saturday, May 5th, 2012 and came away with a really great set of photographs to share with everyone.

The first part was held at the Gonzales Hill Regional Park in Victoria.  High atop this incredible hill sits another one of Victoria’s iconic structures, the Gonzales Hill Observatory.  The Ross Bay Villa volunteers have been working every Saturday since last fall on recreating an authentic oilcloth floor covering to use in the restoration of the foyer of the Villa.  We had a great time photographing the team working on this piece and came away with a whole new understanding and appreciation of how and why these coverings are created.  It’s a gorgeous piece of art they are creating, and we’re really looking forward to showing it to you.

The second portion of our assignment found us at the Ross Bay Villa photographing an archeological dig that is happening right now.  As the group at TLC is working on restoring and recreating an authentic garden for the house, they commissioned an archeological dig to see if anything could be discovered from the period.  It was absolutely fascinating to watch the people digging and sifting through the material looking for items and artifacts of interest.  We also attended a detailed tour of the house and have a few interior shots to share of the completed Drawing Room.  We plan on returning soon to do a full shoot of the Drawing Room and the completed Dining Room, both of which are absolutely exquisite and completely authentic.

Great care in the restoration of the facility has been taken in an effort to create an historically accurate experience for the visitor.  The only thing better than seeing photographs of such a wonderful place would be to see the actual building in person, to take in the details and observe the incredible amount of care and effort that has gone into the process.  No detail has been overlooked, no matter how small.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our first post on behalf of the group at TLC.  We warmly invite you to join us again as we share the details of the events we attended.  If you are in the Victoria area, we encourage you to pop by and see the wonderful house in person.  Also, please feel free to join up and become a member of TLC if you’d like to show your support.  It’s a great cause and well worth it.



  1. avatar Rick Louie says:

    This is awesome! I love it that you are trying to preserve history. Such a beautiful place depicted by your images. Congrats on your partnership with TLC!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks, Rick, we’re pretty excited to have a chance to work with these great people! We’re really looking forward to trying to bring a whole new awareness to their cause. Thanks a ton for taking the time to pop by today, and for leaving us your great comments!

  2. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Congrats on the new assignment Toads! Sounds like you and TLC were meant for each other! can’t wait to see what comes about from this partnership!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so much Jim! We’re pleased as punch to have such a great opportunity, especially when it coincides so closely with our own beliefs and values! Thanks for your support, my friend, that means an awful lot to us!

  3. Congrats on the assignment Toad, this sounds like a really exciting project and a great thing to be involved in.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      It really, really, really is Chris, thanks so much! It’s a huge honor to have such a chance and we’re thrilled to be here right now!

  4. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Toad, congratulations. This sounds like a perfect assignment and a perfect partnership. I have too say these images are truly magnificent my friend.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you ever so kindly, Edith, that is so very kind of you! Please stay tuned, we’re going to have some spectacular new work to share with everyone in the very near future! Many thanks for your ongoing friendship & support here, my friend, it means so much to us!

  5. avatar ehpem says:

    Toad – this is terrific! You are going to have so much fun and learn so many interesting things in the process. TLC has so many wonderful properties you are going to be very busy for years.

    I was thinking of dropping by the dig at Ross Bay Villa last weekend but never quite got around to it. It would have been a hoot to run into you there, I am always passing it by on my daily routes. Also, I can see a glimpse of my house in your second photo above, so you really are getting into my neighbourhood now – welcome :)

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for your WONDERFUL comments today, Ehpem! We appreciate that more than we can properly express! When we were taking that shot, I said to Mrs. Toad “I am pretty sure my good friend Ehpem lives right.. *waves in the general area*… down there!!” :D We love your neighborhood.

      Definitely stay tuned, my friend, we’re going to be rolling out our 2 follow-up posts here in the very near future and I hope you will enjoy them! We’ve been talking with the group at TLC about shooting some of their other properties, so this is just the very beginning of a really exciting new friendship!

  6. avatar Rick Rueter says:

    Brings back memories of my parents house on Denison Road overlooking the Straights of Juan de Fuca on Gonzales Hill. Spent many happy days looking at the scenes you have photographed, and climbing the rocks beside, and across the street from, their house. At foggy times driving along Denison Road through the Garry Oaks is almost eerie, but always beautiful. The observatory is a great site which I hope will be preserved for future generations. There is an interesting path/stair connecting Denison to the street below which runs along side my parents former property and adjacent to Walbran Park. Used to talk to the whale watchers who frequented the lookout across the street, and would direct sightseeing boats if there was any activity. Looking forward to your follow-up shoot.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Hi Rick, welcome to The Hollow! Many thanks for taking the time to pop by today, and for leaving us your wonderful story for everyone to read and enjoy! We always love it so much when we make personal connections like this with our work, it adds an extra dimension of interest to the whole thing. We sure do appreciate you taking the time to visit today, and for leaving these awesome comments with us!… hope to see you back again when we post our next part to this story! :)

  7. Congratulations Mr Toad, what a great opportunity to get into our history even more and report on the work of the Conservancy as well. I am very much looking forward to following you on this journey.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You are a scholar and a gentleman, Joseph, thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts! We’re thrilled to know you’re joining us on this new adventure!

  8. avatar Rich McPeek says:

    Congrats on the “New Beginning”! What a wonderful way to both share your work and give back to your community! Awesome and good luck! Have a great weekend!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Rich! We are so excited and pleased to have an opportunity like this, and being able to share it with everyone here adds so much! We sure do appreciate you taking the time to pop by and read our story today, it means so very much to us! Best wishes for your weekend, too, good sir!

  9. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    This is awesome Toads! I’m looking forward to seeing what all you pull out from this new assignment!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Many, many thanks Chris! That means an awful lot here!! We really appreciate you taking the time to pop by and leave us your great comments today, many thanks!

  10. avatar Curt Fleenor says:

    Sounds like a great new chapter for you guys!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Curt! We’re thrilled and excited beyond words! It’s been a lot of work to get here, but on days like today I look around and realize it’s all worth it! Many thanks for your continued support and friendship, good sir!

  11. avatar A.Barlow says:

    Hey man, that’s really awesome, grats to you both! It’s cool when the stars just align like that isn’t it?

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Oh my gosh, Aaron, we totally agree! It’s funny how these things all come together in their own time, isn’t it! I was just talking to Mrs. Toad this morning and we were saying how surprising we find it that after working on our latest batch of new projects for quite some time now, many of them are coming to life this week! The stars are aligning, indeed, my friend. We hope you have a great weekend!!

  12. avatar Perry Bailey says:

    Congratulations on your new venture, Toad. You will certainly bring passion and excellence to the work.

    Terrific set, love the soft colors. Very peaceful and calming.

  13. avatar LensScaper says:

    Excellent work Toad, and a worthwhile venture to get involved with. I look forward to hearing more about this in the future.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks ever so kindly Andy, that is just so kind of you to say, my friend! Stay tuned, we’ve got more coming!!

  14. avatar Jim Nix says:

    such a great fit for you Toad, glad to see this coming together! great shots too of course!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so very, very much Jim, that really means an awful lot to us coming from you my friend!

  15. Another wonderful series indeed! Well done!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much Erik and Kathleen! We really appreciate all your support and friendship here!

  16. Congrats, nice shots as well!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so much Mike! That’s really wonderful of you to say, thank you so much for taking the time to visit us today and leave us your comments!

  17. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    Congrats, my friend!
    This is wonderful news. What a great project to have, just up my alley. ;-)
    Love the images you have here in this first post and I so look forward to many more.

    Keep up the great work!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you ever so kindly, Jimi, your ongoing friendship & support is something we surely appreciate. :)

  18. avatar Dave DiCello says:

    Many, many congrats my friend! I wish you guys all the best and this is a stunning beginning to that journey! SO well deserved! Of course, the images are just beautiful!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks, Dave, we’re beaming from ear-to-ear here this morning from your wonderful comments, my friend!

  19. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    These look fantastic buddy! Great idea for a new series! Really nice work (as usual :)

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman! Thanks so much for taking the time to pop by and for leaving us your words of encouragement, Adam, it really means a whole lot to us!

  20. Congratulations on the partnership Toad! These are great images. Preserving history is very important and I’m glad you’re a part of it! Very inspiring my friend!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That means an awful lot to us here, Michael, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your very kind thoughts!

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