Rust is a great equalizer.  Almost everything constructed of metal begins a slow march towards decay.  In some cases this marks the beginning of the end for the item in question, sometimes it means the item becomes weathered looking.  With this comes character.

We’re heading back to the Metchosin Pioneer Museum today where we continue our long-running photoblog series “The Antiques Toad Show“.  This series came to be after we were given private access one afternoon to the Metchosin Pioneer Museum by our friends dad, The Curator.  An entire afternoon was spent exploring all the displays and items, and today’s post takes a look at a set of antique roller skates and some tin cans.

Roller Skate - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Roller Skate – Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

In today’s day and age where we have composite plastics, carbon-fiber and lightweight aluminum to use in constructing things, it’s almost like looking at a rotary phone today if you’re 12 years old.  There’s no way you’d know what to do with these.  These are the original roller skates that were so prevalent when we were growing up.  The entire concept of safety when using these things revolved around the concept of trying to crash gracefully into a bed of grass instead of headlong into a cement piling.  Sometimes in the event of the second option occurring, our moms would dab the sore spot with Windex, slap a band-aid on it, and send us back out with the refrain singing in our ears “get back on that horse!”

What she really meant, of course, was “get out of my house you darned kids!”

Roller Skate - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Roller Skate – Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

I am a little skeptical that the wheels on these skates still spin.  With that all being said, this display was one that we really had a hard time taking our eyes off of.

Can you imagine the stories these skates could tell?  All the road rashes on little knees, the bumps on the foreheads…  all scars worn with pride, almost as if the mere act of survival itself was a pretty cool feat.  Actually, it was!

Old Can - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Old Can – Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

In some cases this concept is lost on the viewer.  But, when you really think about it, each weathered mark, each spot of rust is directly due to someone handling the item in some form or another.  It’s this handling that tells the story.  Sometimes you are left to surmise this, sometimes the story is rather obvious.

Old Can - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Old Can – Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

We find that items made in the 60’s and 70’s take on an antique feel once rust settles in.  Even something as mundane as an old gas can suddenly finds its character within the wear and rust.

Old Can - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Old Can – Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

This picture is definitely one of our favorites from this shoot.  These classic old cigarette tins are long out of use, and this only makes the item and it’s background that much more interesting.  Whose fingers opened and closed this tin a million times?  Was it a sailor out at sea missing his girl and family?  Was it a local mechanic who worked hard and a few times a day popped out back for a break?  Perhaps it was a barrister who focused on helping his clients, only allowing himself this one vice during moments of solitude?  We’ll probably never know.

I find that as we get older we are more drawn to antiques and things that tell a story of the people who owned and used them.  In some ways it makes sense, when we are young we think we’ll live forever and anything that happened longer ago than last week is considered ancient history.  Age and experience help us put context around things like this, and I guess that’s what we all find so fascinating about them all.

The mystery is as enthralling as that which is known.

Thank you kindly for your visit here today, we really appreciate it.  As always, we encourage all our visitors to leave any comments you may have as we really do love to hear from everyone.




  1. The images of the roller skates really grab my heart. They take me back to a time in my grandmother’s house, when my cousin had left his skates there by accident and I found them. She had wood floors, no carpet, perfect for a pair of skates. I strapped the skates on and had mastered the skill of skating by day’s end. At one point, while helping in the kitchen, my grandmother asked if I would bring one of the cooking knives to her. She looked up and was horrified to see me skating with knife in hand! I was told immediately to remove the skates! Images = memories. Terrific images! And thanks for the memories.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What a wonderful story that adds so much depth to our post here, thank you SO much for leaving these thoughts with us all, Linda! I just love that connection that we sometimes make with people with our photography… this is the thing that keeps us going down this path we find ourselves on! Many thanks for taking the time to visit us today, and for leaving these absolutely fabulous comments for everyone to enjoy!

  2. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    Man, those skates are awesome. Growing up I was a big time street skater, wore Union # 5s for years. Even wore a skate key around my neck. LOL Well, enough nostalgia. 😉

    All of these items are truly special and I love these as they remind us of yesteryear. Great look back, Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Jimi, you sir are the best. Thanks so much for taking the time to share these thoughts with us all, we really appreciate it. It really makes a difference and it’s why we do what we do!

  3. avatar ehpem says:

    Another terrific post from the museum. My favourite is the tobacco tin since ones much like this, and the round ones too, were used for all kinds of things at the family cabin when I was growing up, and some are still there.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That is just so awesome, Ehpem! Thank you so kindly for taking the time to visit and leave us these great comments, we really appreciate it!

  4. Nice work pulling out those great details!

  5. avatar Tom dinning says:

    It’s a bit late but I thought I’d drop in on an old friend to see what he’s up to. Still recording the history of our times I see, with the occasional rev head picture to keep the aging hormones moving.
    If someone ever cleaned up Canada you’d have nothing to do, Scotty.
    Talk about rust. I’ve managed to accumulate a bit around the joints. How about you?

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Mrs. Toad and I do “garbage truck tipping” on a regular basis to ensure that no means or methods are available to clean things up, as you say here, Tom. 🙂

      I have found some new rust around some of my extremities, too, but as you know it’s hard to keep a good Toad down! It is so, so good to hear from you, Tom, we’ve been thinking of you and Christine a lot lately. I will be sending you an email here the first chance I get!

  6. I just love these trips back in time. Metal roller skates, wooden skiis, tvs with knobs. It’s hard to believe we survived such dark times. 🙂

    Great job capturing these wonderful, rusty details my friend.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      No kidding, eh, Steven?! We wonder that ourselves a lot! LOL Thanks so much for your visit here, we really appreciate it so much!

  7. avatar Jim Nix says:

    love all the details here Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You, sir, are both a scholar and a true gentleman! Thanks so much Jim, much appreciated!

  8. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Oh I think you reminded me of how old I am. I think I’ve taken a spill on skates simular to those and remember gas cans like that. Wonderful? trip down memory lane, Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You rock, Rick, thank you so much for both your kind visit and your awesome comments kind sir!

  9. avatar ABarlow says:

    Very cool man, love that Cig box!

  10. avatar Edith levy says:

    Oh my gosh how did I miss this post. I love the Antique toad Show 🙂 You really bring out the beauty in these items. You know I used to have an old tin of Players cigarettes when I was in University. I purchased it at a second hand store. Now I have to go dig it up as I’m sure its still somewhere.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      How wonderful is that, Edith? I am totally drawn to these sorts of items, not just with our photography but personally, as well. I really connect with the items and can almost sometimes feel the people who once owned and used them. Great comments today, my friend, thank you so much for taking the time to pop by and see us!

  11. Great shots Toad and a very interesting story behind them! I wasn’t good with wheels under my feet when I was little 🙁 Unfortunately I’m still not! I love the Shell gas can! That is something you don’t see every day!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You and I, both, Michael! I swear my knees are at least 3 inches skinnier from all the crashes they took the brunt of. 🙂 Thank you so much for swingin’ on by today, kind sir, we really appreciate your support!