I’ve found myself wandering around the Cowichan Valley lately, sometimes rather early in the morning.  And as such, I am finding treasures in my own backyard once again.  It’s been said many times before that new compositions and studies can be found by revisiting places with strong subject potential.  Join us today as we take a brief stroll into the heart of our little town, Duncan, BC on Vancouver Island in Canada.

Duncan Garage - Duncan, BC, Canada

Duncan Garage – Duncan, BC, Canada

Small town life has its distinct advantages.  We find much of our original architecture has been lovingly preserved and re-purposed at times, keeping these ties to our rich history alive for years to come.  The Duncan Garage is a landmark in town today, and is home to some of our greatest little stores.  Inside you’ll find a hair salon, a book store, an incredible coffee shop and bakery, and of course The Community Farm Store.  With an eye towards healthy choices the store is full of great organic items, most of them locally grown and raised.

Island living at it’s very best.

Originally, the garage was the site for the very first automotive garage in town after the Malahat highway was completed, connecting the big city of Victoria to our outlying community.  Full of rich character, this fabulous old building stands proud today in the heart of our town welcoming locals and visitors alike.

I find photographing the building to be one of my biggest challenges, due primarily to the incredible abundance of power lines that seem to cover the sky from all angles.  Even still, the terrific colors and details of this building make it one of our key landmarks, and a great facility to photograph.

Duncan Garage - Duncan, BC, Canada

Duncan Garage – Duncan, BC, Canada

This photo was taken in January of 2011; New Years Day to be precise.  It’s one of my favorite shots due to the quaint heritage feel of the garage.  As we compare the shot above with the first one in today’s post we see little has changed except for a fresh coat of paint that has made this incredible old building really stand out in town.  There’s no missing it, that’s for sure!!

Duncan Train Station & Museum - Duncan, BC, Canada

Duncan Train Station & Museum – Duncan, BC, Canada

On the very spot we were just standing admiring the Duncan Garage, we turn to find a real icon in town.  This is the old Duncan Train Station, now also home to the Cowichan Valley Museum.  Many of us who call the Cowichan Valley home love it very much.  The museum hosts both permanent exhibits as well as special features that really are so very important in helping us to maintain our links to our rich pioneering past.  None of this would be possible without the incredible work of local folks who put a lot of effort into making this happen.

Modern times are exciting, full of great adventures and stories all unfolding in front of our very eyes.  But, it’s also great to see this all merged quite naturally with rich historical elements that help to encompass the character of the town.

Do you have any landmarks or icons in the city or town you live in that really bring the character of your place to life?

This post is part of our photoblog series “The Toad’s Hometown“, a running photoblog series chronicling Duncan and small town life in Canada.  We really do love to hear from all our visitors, please feel free to leave us any comments or thoughts you might have.  Until next time!



  1. Two things always seem to hit me when I read your posts:

    The great photos
    The obvious love of the area you live in

    Today has not failed to disappoint on either score. I feel like I could walk into Duncan and it would be like visiting an old friend.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Wow, Chris, what absolutely wonderful comments, we’re completely humbled by your kind words today. It always means so much to us when you pop by and leave us your wonderful comments, thank you my good, good friend!

  2. Love to see y’all documenting your town history!!! It does my history nerd heart good!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      It seems that you and I share a common affinity for all things old, eh, Derrick? Thanks so much for your kind visit, good sir, and for your wonderful comments!!

  3. avatar Gracie says:

    Nice post! Sounds like one great community. I understand how you feel about the power lines, but I think they are also an integral part of the urban landscape. Your photos are brilliant, and yes, even with the power lines :)

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That’s really kind of you Gracie, thank you so much for taking the time to visit us and leave us your fabulous comments! We really appreciate that!

  4. Nice images with a terrific local appeal. I especially like the second shot with the sun star from the reflection in the window. Well done my friend.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much Steven, we really appreciate your kindness and support! That shot was actually used as a reference for a painting by a local artist, so we were pretty proud of that. Many thanks for your visit and comments, good sir!

  5. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Terrific shots Toad. I love the secod one with the sun flare off the window. I’d love to come visit one day.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      And we would LOVE to see you, Edith! Thank you so much for all your kindness and support, we sure do appreciate it my dear friend. Best wishes for a fabulous weekend!!

  6. Very nice set Toad, I love the railroad shot, well done man!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much, there, Mike, you’re a scholar and a true gentleman sir! We sure do appreciate you taking the time to visit us today!

  7. avatar Rich McPeek says:

    Terrific shots and post Toad! Love the burst off of the window in the 2nd shot! Great work!

  8. I feel your pain regarding the power lines. They are one on the most annoying blights in most towns making good images so much harder than it needs to be.

    Your love of your home town and the surrounding area really shows in both the shots and the narrative. Keep up the good work, Toad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks, Mark, that really means an awful lot to us here. Thank you from the bottom of our flippers, my good friend! Your friendship and support is what keeps us going!

  9. avatar LensScaper says:

    The love of your neighborhood is so obvious from the way you write about it, Toad. Your Images bring Duncan to life. Power lines are a menace, but when an image is strong as yours invariably are, then they become a very minor distraction.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That just means so much to us here, Andy, thank you so much! Thanks so kindly for taking the time to pop by and see us, and for your really thoughtful comments!

  10. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Wonderful post and images Toad. That last image is killer my friend. Love, love, love it!

  11. Great photographs every one of them. The angle taken on the little station make that third one especially a pleasure to view. As an aside, I am just thinking how nicely the conversion from the garage to what it is now was done.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We totally agree with you Joseph! Absolutely!! Thank you so much for popping by today, and for leaving these very meaningful comments for us my friend!

  12. avatar Jim Nix says:

    what a great place Toad and wonderful photos too!

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