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.
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.
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!
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.