Pirates and ne’er-do-wells heed caution as the lookout may have a peg-leg but is no less a scurvy dog for it.  If you’re looking for a barrel of rum, you might be late, but let’s raise our muskets in celebration as we land upon shore at the dock of one of Victoria’s most fascinating destinations.  This is The Swallowed Anchor, my friends.  Make sure your parrot is firm on your shoulder and let’s lay plunder to this great treasure together, shall we?

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

Over 10 years ago this home was in perfect condition.  Tour buses used to come by to show a spellbound crew the wonders that could be found here.  Today it is famous for a more somber reason.  Today we find the developer who owns the property, the local residents in the area and the municipality it sits in desperately trying to figure out what to do with it.

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

John Keziere, a well-known local to Victoria, first moved in during the 1970’s.  A master carpenter, Keziere went about turning this old character home into something special and unique, something that many Victorians who have lived here for any number of years are well familiar with.

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

With a stork carrying a special package on one end and a peg-leg pirate on lookout on the other, the roof is host to a brief assortment of characters.  This is hardly where it ends, though…

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

Amassing a stock of rum is hard business and can be prone to boarding parties from other pirate vessels.  A lookout perched atop the crow’s nest is an important member of the crew no matter what your vessel or stated purpose may be.

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

No feature was left untouched.  Even the window that provides a look out to sea from the great cabin aboard the ship is finished with details.  A ship’s wheel finds itself attached to the wall, furthering the immersion one has when visiting this place.

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

In 1999 at the ripe age of 90 John Keziere passed away and the next chapter of this magical place began.  As everyone was trying to figure out how to save this place, to preserve the incredible artwork that adorns the entire home and land, time marched on relentlessly and today many of the displays find themselves rapidly deteriorating.

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

A mermaid sits on the steps, waiting for something almost like a siren.  Alas, she has lost an arm, undoubtedly due to some bandit or rascal, and her fading beauty provides a striking and sad subject.  The home today is completely unsafe to enter due to weathering and according to a member of the staff of the developer who owns the property, it may be too late now.  Time is relentless and waits for no man.

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

Neptune’s trident may now be long gone, but his legacy remains.  For how long, no one knows.

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

Keziere was famous for taking a boat out in the harbor dressed in a mermaids outfit to wave at the boats that passed by during the annual Swiftsure event that Victoria hosts.  His love for everything nautical when combined with his incredible talents in carpentry resulted in this one-of-a-kind exhibit, one that will remain a legend in the city and will probably never be replicated.  I was told that the current owner is looking forward to developing on the land but also worked very hard to try to find a way to preserve this place.  It seems that the ongoing struggle to find a way and means to save it may have resulted in its demise.  But hope is not entirely lost; the council agenda for the municipality of Esquimalt notes that motions are active, and that people are still trying to find a way to save it somehow.

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

As you make your way around back, the only landlubbers here who remain on deck are the plants that now overgrow the back door.  It’s been a while since anyone tried to storm this ship.

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

No pirate ship can be complete without a brig.  In this one we find some culprit incarcerated, no doubt awaiting a date with the ship’s captain to walk the plank.  We refer to these troublemakers here as “shark bait”.

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor - Victoria, BC, Canada

The Swallowed Anchor – Victoria, BC, Canada

Those who come looking for the rum held below deck only find empty barrels.  These now form a poetic metaphor for the condition we find the home in.  All hope is not lost, as mentioned, there is still some time left but not much.  Being a landlubber here in Victoria myself since 1980, I can honestly say I will be very saddened if this landmark is lost forever, but sometimes Neptune himself has other plans and no amount of effort or planning on part of man can overcome the inevitable.

Let this be a lesson for pirates everywhere.

Thank you so much for your visit to our blog today, we really do appreciate it.  We always love to hear from all our visitors, so please do take the time to leave us any comments or thoughts you may have.

SOURCES

The Swallowed Anchor
Saving Esquimalt’s anchor (Times-Colonist)
Saving a piece of a folk artist’s passion
CORPORATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF ESQUIMALT AGENDA




  1. What an interesting property as always extremely well photographed. Time perhaps puts its own charm on this display. Definitely a good one to have a record of.

  2. avatar dragonflydreams88 says:

    . . . wonderful series!! . . . I have yet to visit this wonderful location, but have every intention when ever I see someone’s captures . . . yours is by far the BEST documentation of this, and REALLY inspires me to want to seek this out next time I’m down that way!!!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We are honored and humbled today by your kind, kind comments my friend, how can we begin to thank you? That means a whole lot to us, thanks!!

  3. […] See original here: Landlubbers And Scallywags Beware « Toad Hollow Photography […]

  4. avatar Mark says:

    What an interesting place! Super set of accompanying images too. Having just seen the teasers on Flickr, I felt the need to know more… Hope it can be saved friend.

    Mark..

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks, Mark, that is awfully kind of you! We really appreciate your visit and great comments here today!

  5. When you look up the word “character” in the dictionary, you should be greeted with a picture of this place. Very nice work highlighting all its detail and charm.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Your ongoing support and encouragement is a total highlight for us here, Steven, many thanks my friend!

  6. avatar Katia says:

    Love these, saw them on DPS! Great job, it’s making me want to visit Victoria once again!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much Katia! I can’t begin to thank you enough for taking the time to pop by and see us here, and for leaving these awesome comments!!

  7. AVAST!
    So OGH Toad puts up a Pirate-themed post on September 19, and neither he nor any of the comment so far mentions that today, September 19, just happens to be International Talk Like a Pirate Day?!?!?!?!?
    http://www.talklikeapirate.com/

    Arrrg, it makes me blood boil, it does!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Well, before we toss the scallywag o’board, let me clear up the air over a pint of rum! It would seem that, indeed, the post went live today afore yours truly here could realize the implications of such! I would thusly refer to this as a pleasant coincidence, my fine sword-wielding friend! LOL

      Thank you SO much for your visit today, Mark! After I realized the incredible coincidence of this I was waiting for someone to mention it… a real joy to see it was you!

  8. A great story and set of images here today Toad!! As you know I love all things nautical so this was a real treat for me.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much, Anne, we really appreciate you popping by and are glad to hear you enjoyed this post!

  9. avatar Edith Levy says:

    What a cool place Toad. It reminds me (a little) of the Admirals house in Mary Poppins 🙂 A very interesting history and you’ve documented it beautifully with these images. Great job.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Many, many thanks Edith, we really appreciate your kind visit and comments here today! It really is a whimsical place, isn’t it?

  10. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Holy cow, what a unique place and what unique character Keziere must have been! Hope it can stay alive Toad, but as you said, time waits for no man! Excellent post!

  11. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    I totally want a rum barrel in my front yard! This is a pretty cool looking place and sparks many ideas for my new home in Iowa!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Awesome, Chris! I think one of the best parts of setting up a rum barrel in your front yard would be the bit about emptying it first!! LOL 🙂 Good luck with your new home, my friend, and send us some pics once you get it all setup!

  12. What an amazing place! After reading the post I realized that I had a ear splitting grin! What great details and fun styling, I’m totally in love with…well everything on that building!
    I really enjoyed the barrels, the iron bands look like the bleached ribs of some iron whale washed up on shore. and that brig is wonderful. Just another great find Toad. Thank you so much for sharing all these amazing places with us.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      And thank you for all your fabulous friendship & support here, Howard, I have no idea how we can properly thank you! This is exactly why we do what we do… we really enjoy giving everyone a taste of something slightly different! Thanks for all you do for us Howard, we sure do appreciate it.

  13. avatar Perry Bailey says:

    What an amazing place, like a bit of a storybook come to life. I sure hope a way is found to preserve it. Amazing captures Toad.

  14. This place is great, awesome series!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much there, Mike, your ongoing friendship and support here means a whole lot to us! Sorry the rum barrel was empty by the time you got here but if you come by our place sometime I’ll make sure there’s a barrel of something here! 😀

  15. I’ve seen that house, but didn’t know the story behind it. Fascinating! And a great set of images to boot. Thanks, Toad! I do hope that Council finds a way to save it.

  16. avatar ehpem says:

    Terrific post Toad, the photos are among your best that I have seen. And a great story, though it is sad to see this place crumbling. It is terrific that you have documented what may be its last days.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you SO much, Ehpem! Those are some mighty kind words you’ve shared here with us today, and we really do appreciate it!

  17. avatar Jim Nix says:

    HA what a great place Toad, nice shots!

  18. Looks like an interesting place Toad! It would be a shame to lose it. I hope they can find a way to save it. Great photos and I really enjoyed reading about it!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you ever so kindly, Michael, your support here means so very much to us! Thanks for your kind visit!

  19. Your it peaked my itarticle is a treasure trove of good info – it is so sad the place is gone – it peaked my interest for years – thanks for filling me in on the background info!

    Heather Hess

    • Hey Heather, thank you so much for popping by to see us here at The Hollow! Your article over on Life As A Human reminded me of this place and I was very saddened to hear it’s gone when we turned the corner on a photoshoot we were on earlier this summer to see an empty lot. I love these landmarks and really am sad to see places like this disappear at an alarming rate. Thank you for taking the time to come see us and for leaving your comments!! 🙂