Today we mark the beginning of a new project here at Toad Hollow Photography, one that speaks to a subject that is so very important to us.  The heritage and associated architecture of our beloved Vancouver Island are in a constant state of dynamic change, and with this comes a bevy of issues; some good and some bad.  This new series we are titling “Anne Hathaway’s Cottage At The Olde Inn” will be featuring what is likely some of the last photographs of an icon here in Victoria on the island, one I visited many times as a boy when my mom was still alive.

English Inn & Resort, Victoria, BC, Canada

English Inn & Resort, Victoria, BC, Canada

I can honestly say I do not envy the position that our local government leaders and planners have in front of them, trying to balance the needs of commerce against the desire to hold onto the rich tapestry of history that makes this island so special.  To add an even further dimension to the topic, the entire island here has only recently been settled, and as such we have no heritage buildings older than 150 years or so.  This results in a finite number of these facilities, and quite honestly some of them are disappearing at an alarming rate.

But things are not as simple as just having a concern for these facilities and their futures, there has to be some form of a plan that is sustainable.  That balancing act has to put many of the people responsible for these decisions in a rather untenable situation.  If we just blindly tear it down, the entire heritage community will rise in fury, but at the same time the folks who own these lands and buildings must be allowed to find a way forward that is fiscally sound.  This is just the way of the world.

But even with all this being considered, it’s no less of a shock to hear of a landmark in the city being slated for demolition.

This is Rosemead Manor, a true landmark and icon in Victoria.  Rest assured, this wonderful revival-Tudor style heritage building architected by Samuel Maclure will be preserved.  It’s all the other buildings on the luscious 4.5 acre site that now likely have a date with a wrecking ball.

As a little boy we’d come here often on special occasions.  My mom immigrated here from Germany at a very young age, and I believe that she was drawn to these sorts of places because they reminded her of her homeland.  As such, I’ve grown to love these places myself, probably due to seeing them through her eyes.  And as such, the proposed demolition of the remaining buildings on the site hits me in my heart with a deep sense of loss.  But, these are personal feelings and have no bearing on the financial viability of the facility.

Anne Hathaways Cottage (Replica), English Inn & Resort, Victoria, BC, Canada

Anne Hathaways Cottage (Replica), English Inn & Resort, Victoria, BC, Canada

This photograph was taken three years ago in the height of a wet, cold, rainy fall.  The authentic thatched roof on the building covers a perfect replica of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in the UK, which is a landmark and heritage site.  For years and years, people coming to visit Victoria would make the trip out to this landmark to immerse themselves in the genuine feeling of the site.  Peppered with Tudor-styled buildings, the entire 4.5 acre site played host to a setting that immediately whisked visitors away right into the heart of Olde England.

As the years passed by, though, the visitors became fewer and further between.  In 2011 the facility was bought by a group from receivership, further underscoring the challenges a business faces in these hard times.  Facilities like this become victim to these times.

At any rate, the latest plans on the drawing board reveal that everyone believes that Rosemead Manor is to preserved and saved as a heritage facility, but the entire remainder of the site is to be demolished to make room for an entirely new project.  Details are available here on the Times-Colonist: New vision for Esquimalt’s English Inn adds housing, keeps historic manor.

To see the entire gallery of photographs we took in 2010 when the place was still active and in use, please visit our online gallery “English Inn & Resort / Anne Hathaways Cottage“.  As well, we’ll be posting and sharing the entire series of shots we captured on our most recent trip to the site in the coming months, so do stay tuned for that.  Some of the shots we’ve got in the works are absolutely astounding, and as mentioned, are likely some of the very last from the facility.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us here today, as always we love to hear from our visitors and encourage you to leave us any thoughts you may have!  Until next time, my friends!!

  1. avatar mrjom says:

    Hello Mr Toad, the subject raised in this essay is big enough for tomes, and can be debated for days or even years or forever, as the friction between old and new cannot be abated. There has to be a well formed plan to deal responsibly with preservation of an area`s history and in all reality the plan here often seems to be lacking. Simplistically speaking I`d like to preserve areas rather than places and this approach may make economic sense to property and business owners as well. Looking very much forward to your photographs of this project.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What fabulous thoughts you’ve shared here with us and everyone today, Joseph, we sure do appreciate you taking the time to leave these. This is actually a very interesting idea, I wonder if it’s been tabled at some of these planning meetings before? I’d suspect not, but it might warrant a thought by those who make such decisions. Thanks for popping by today, my friend, and for your kind comments of encouragement and support!! Stay tuned, I think you will like the series as we roll it out. 🙂

    • avatar ehpem says:

      Toad, this is a great undertaking, one that could occupy years of your time, and probably already has! I agree with Joseph – preservation of areas is important as it conserves the aesthetic environment and the ‘feel’ of a building in its natural setting, not jammed between modern structures like an old sore that won’t heal, and not getting any respect.

      • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

        What fabulous comments, my good friend, thank you so much for your visit and for taking the time to leave your insights! I really appreciate your thoughts on this and think that what you and Joseph are saying makes a lot of sense. Particularly because in reality there are so few of these types of buildings left on the island here. We sure do appreciate it when you pop by The Hollow here, Ehpem, many heartfelt thanks!

  2. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    Wow Toad, what a beautiful place to have grow up around! I’m really sad to see that most of it will be torn down. I love old architecture, and this style is particularly lovely!
    I’ll be looking forward to all of your posts my dear friend! I’m so glad that you had the chance to photograph these places before, and now during the changing process! 🙂

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You are so very kind, thank you Rachel! We’re pretty excited to share this feature with everyone so please do stay tuned!!

  3. avatar Perry Bailey says:

    The extent to which we value our history and heritage is a measure of the extent to which we understand who we are, both as a society and as individuals.

    A beautiful set of photos of a truly magnificent place, Toad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      How utterly profound, Perry, I cannot begin to thank you enough for taking the time to visit and for leaving these top drawer comments for all to enjoy! Really great words here, my friend, well said. Thanks a ton, your ongoing friendship and support means so very much to us!

  4. avatar dragonflydreams88 says:

    . . . times are hard, and I am also saddened to learn of the future demise of some of these inspirational locations . . . but I am glad there are at least some efforts in the works to find viable/sustainable solutions . . . comparatively, our history is so “young & fragile” . . .

    . . . I look eagerly look forward to your documentation . . . but am saddened that I will not be able to enjoy first hand . . . *sigh*

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We simply cannot thank you enough for all your support and for taking the time to visit and leave us these wonderful comments my dear friend!

  5. avatar wendy says:

    dear mr. toad, I have been subscribing to your vital diary ever since you visited the metchosin museum…thank you for that wonderful service, your pictures give our website a gravitas and professionalism to be admired. you really know how to pull at a person’s heartstrings and give validity to memories and the past; honouring the now shabby and forgotten places that once were of significance. so many landmarks you document are part of my fabric from growing up in Victoria…and now this! I met my first husband and father of my wonderful daughter when I was working as a 17 year old in my first job at the olde England inn. I did every job there, and was excited by the 85 cents per hour I received along with the passport to adult hood! I learned how to clean toilets to be proud of, and make beds to honeymoon on, from Mrs. Lane ; how to hide your Ruby Red in suits of armour with the Squadron Leader (mrs lane’s husband)—he was hiding his wine from his teetotal wife, how to avoid pinches when wearing our bustiers and swirling skirts….
    and how to make love in anne Hathaway’s cottage with a boy as inexperienced as myself! the young men had rooms there, we girls were kept in the manor or tudor street rooms…whatever wasn’t rentable at the time. with age and time you might get lucky and have the small apartment in the basement of the cottage…I never graduated so far.
    I saw in the papers , what? months ago or a year ago? that the cottage was slated for development and my heart sank, I said nothing, wrote to no one, just quietly sucked up another insult to my past and Victoria’s heritage. what an irony to call the cottage ‘heritage’ when it was simply a COMMERCIAL to say the least enterprise and frowned upon by Victoria’s leading [snob] lights.
    I haven’t had the heart to look at your picture gallery yet, I expect that pre-nuptial bed of mine is not in view.
    thank you to all the Toad Family, you have such wonderful sight and recognize the importance of your vision, combined with poignant writing and careful analysis.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Wendy, how can we begin to thank you? It means so much to us knowing that our work reaches you and that you are able to connect with us in our love for the island here. I am so torn when it comes to issues like this, on one hand understanding the core need for things to be financially viable, yet somehow I can’t help but feel that something *could* be done to preserve these places. Unfortunately, I don’t know what or how myself. We are then left with only our camera as our prime tool to use in trying to share these places and bring awareness to the larger issues at hand. Both Mrs. Toad and I hope one day to meet you in person, we are really well aware of your ongoing support for our work as well as the impact you and your family have had in the Metchosin area. You taking the time to pop by and visit today and leaving us these wonderful, wonderful comments means so much more than we can properly express. We are humbled and honored, my dear friend.

  6. Toad,

    I’m at a loss of words to express my feelings on your post. What an amazing heritage and what a heartbreaking moment to arrive at in an area so breathtakingly beautiful and so richly portrayed by your skillful eye and touch. I’m absolutely in love with that thatched roof and the Tudor paneling on the cottage and I cringe to think that it will inspire no more. The march of progress is so often the focus in our lives that we miss the richness of days long gone and even those just recently passed all in the excitement of “what’s next?”

    Understandably maintaining such historical places often comes with a steep price and when that can’t be sustained other options must be pursued, and as much as I hate to see something worthwhile and of obvious worth be replaced I appreciate the respectful way you are able to present that side of the coin, it speaks volumes of your compassion and wisdom. I look forward to your future odes to this magnificent place and I’m so glad that you were able to preserve at least that much of it.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You sir, are a true scholar and a gentleman. Your visit and comments here today have really touched us both, Howard, thank you so much for that.

  7. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Your posts documenting the history and architecture on Victoria Island are always excellent reads. The tension between the old and new seems to be a constant theme. Through your work, I hope the old is winning out. Super images, Toad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Coming from you that means an awful lot to us, Len, thank you so much… from the very bottom of our hearts!!

  8. avatar Erin Duke says:

    While I can certainly appreciate the “latest and greatest,” I will never lose appreciation for heritage sites like this that have influenced not only people living near and far but also the shape of the culture in the surrounding area. What a beautifully heartbreaking post, Toad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We just cannot thank you enough, Erin, we really and sincerely appreciate you taking the time to visit us here today and for leaving these absolutely profound thoughts behind for everyone to enjoy. You’re the best, my friend!

  9. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Your documenting the architecture via this blog and images are wonderful. It is sad to see historic architecture go away, but it is a tough balance between progress and keeping existing architecture for historical purposes. Many things these days come down to financial viability and unfortunately keeping older buildings isn’t always viable. It’s sad really. Hopefully images like this will help the cause. I hope that wonderful buildings like this stay around for generations to come and appreciate. Well done, Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so, so much Rick, that’s so kind of you and means so very much to us my friend!!

  10. A great couple of images here Toad. I went to the original Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford a few years ago and this looks very similar in all the details.
    It must be a hard task balancing the need to grow with a need for preservation, it’s an argument that has raged in London for years without answer.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      This seems to be an ongoing issue here, and as I’ve said in other places one of my bigger concerns lies in the fact that so few of these places still exist. This all spurs on our need to photography and document these things, so at least future generations will be able to see them in pictures. We really wish we had the power and resources to do more. Thank you so much for your kind visit today, my friend, it means so very much to us.

  11. avatar LensScaper says:

    As Chris wrote above, we from the UK are familiar with these knotty problems. I have serious reservations about plans to preserve one iconic building on a site and re-develop all around it. That shows no respect at all. As someone else commented, the environment is critical to historic buildings.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Really great comments here today, Andy, thank you so much for visiting and leaving these. I don’t think there are any simple answers to these problems, but the one thing I do know is once a facility like this is gone, it’s gone forever. Many thanks for popping on by, my friend!

  12. avatar Edith Levy says:

    That’s so sad Toad. To preserve one building and not the others seems so unfair but yet a sign of the times. This was as excellent post and the images outstanding and truly brings out the beauty of this place. I look forward to the rest of the series.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so much there Edith, that means a lot to us here. We really appreciate you taking the time to visit and leave us your comments today, it’s always a highlight of our day. I really think you’ll enjoy the series, it’s a little bittersweet but worth it.

  13. avatar Rich McPeek says:

    Sorry to hear about this Toad. Your photos, and post here as a whole is wonderfully done, as usual my friend. Even though this time it is a bit sad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so very kindly, Rich, we really appreciate your kind support here. It is quite the story and these sorts of things are mighty tough to manage in these times I believe. Definitely stay tuned, my good friend, I hope you’ll enjoy the series as it rolls out here.

  14. avatar Jim Nix says:

    so beautiful my friend, well done!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much, kind sir, we sure do appreciate you taking the time to pop by and see us here!!!

  15. What a great post, you make this place look awesome, really nice work!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Mike, I just can’t tell you how much we appreciate all your friendship and support here!