A Shot Into The Rough

Posted: 30th August 2013 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , ,

There’s just something haunting about amusement parks that are left forlorn for long periods of time.  It’s as if the screams of the children that once filled the park with sounds of joy have become the haunting sounds of that which is forgotten, only audible to those who stand in the quiet to take it all in.  This was a bit of a strange find for us, the tiny town of Coombs, BC on Vancouver Island is well-known for its boutique little stores and offerings that make it one of the biggest attractions in the summer months on the island here.  As we meandered past these stores and wandered deeper into the back of the town on the main street, we came across this abandoned mini golf course.  Completely fenced in, undoubtedly for insurance liability reasons, we were relegated to shooting it from outside the perimeter.  A story emerged, nevertheless…

Abandoned Mini Putt - Coombs, BC, Canada

Abandoned Mini Putt – Coombs, BC, Canada –

Abandoned Mini Putt - Coombs, BC, Canada

Abandoned Mini Putt – Coombs, BC, Canada –

It’s been a while, a long while, since this particular paddle-wheeler made its way up and down the rivers of our imaginations to add a bit of whimsy to your golfing experience here at the mini putt.  The details that went into the design of it are really noteworthy, including the captain’s bridge and the New Orleans style smoke stacks.  We believe the folding window we see in the front is where you’d buy tickets, and it appears that a restaurant of sorts was here at one time.  The smoke stacks undoubtedly wafted aromas of hot dogs and hamburgers, further frustrating parents who could sense their wallets being emptied as their little ones howled in anticipation.  You just have to wonder how many ketchup stains on the inside of people’s SUV’s came from here after a long day of adventure and excitement.

Abandoned Mini Putt - Coombs, BC, Canada

Abandoned Mini Putt – Coombs, BC, Canada –

Abandoned Mini Putt - Coombs, BC, Canada

Abandoned Mini Putt – Coombs, BC, Canada –

Evidence of running water is found everywhere, yet today the dulcet pools are empty and only dry and cracked surfaces remain.  This paddle-wheel must have been a real sight when it was operational, no doubt a constant source of wonder and amazement for the little people who visited.  Paths and bridges lead from one feature to the next, leading the visitor on what once was a journey of discovery.  What treasure, what interesting little vignette, awaited you around the next corner?

Abandoned Mini Putt - Coombs, BC, Canada

Abandoned Mini Putt – Coombs, BC, Canada –

Abandoned Mini Putt - Coombs, BC, Canada

Abandoned Mini Putt – Coombs, BC, Canada –

Abandoned Mini Putt - Coombs, BC, Canada

Abandoned Mini Putt – Coombs, BC, Canada –

The trees and all the little buildings and other creations that make up the character of the place work hand-in-hand here.  The way the man-made features take on a natural and cartoon-like appearance at the same time really does work.  With a little imagination a make-believe world becomes real.

Abandoned Mini Putt - Coombs, BC, Canada

Abandoned Mini Putt – Coombs, BC, Canada –

Treasures long-lost and forgotten are found everywhere.  What once was a cave to store booty and rum today is home to squirrels and wasps.  Bits and pieces of debris on leaf covered pathways lead to the lonely sense one has when being here.

Abandoned Mini Putt - Coombs, BC, Canada

Abandoned Mini Putt – Coombs, BC, Canada –

As we turn to look one last time before leaving, the bridge and smoke stacks on the paddle-wheeler peer above the thick trees.  BC forests are dense and green and it’s not unusual to find really interesting things buried there.  Abandoned amusement parks are definitely something new to us.  It was all I could do to refrain from hopping over the fence for a detailed explore, but we would certainly have been seen by the throngs of folks enjoying the town and it’s amenities.  Besides, sometimes it’s the things we don’t see, the things that remain hidden, that help create a sense of mystery.

Is this park destined to be forgotten forever, only to have Mother Nature herself reclaim the land over time?  Will it open again one day, beckoning children young and old from places far away to come and partake in its adventures?  We certainly don’t know and judging by the way things look here this answer won’t be evident anytime soon.

Thanks very much for your visit today, my friends.  As always we love to hear from all our visitors so please do feel free to leave us any comments you may have.  Until next time!




  1. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Unfortunately, in the age of the video game digital devices, these places just don’t carry the same weight they used to! In our childhood, this would have been a highly rated place to be! Well done Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so much Jim! I totally hear you there, my friend, and I do agree. I hadn’t really thought of it in this context, but your points make perfect sense and I am sure you are right. Many thanks for your kind visit and comments here, my friend, it’s always a highlight for us when you pop by!

  2. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    Wow Toad, what a wonderful place that once was! Awesome post, images and processing! Just the right touch to give it that once loved, but abandoned feel! 🙂

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Many heartfelt thanks, Rachel, we really appreciate you popping by and leaving us your terrific thoughts like this! Best wishes for a terrific weekend, my friend!

  3. avatar ehpem says:

    Toad, what a treasure. I am so surprised to see this. It just shows that usually I drive through Coombs, only stopping along the highway. I had no idea this place existed.

    Nice set of shots. I like that last one – it is evocative of how one of those river boats might have looked as it steamed up a remote northern river.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so much Ehpem, exactly what we were going for with that shot! We sure do appreciate you taking the time to pop by and see us here!

  4. avatar Rick Louie says:

    You really captured the eeriness of that abandoned amusement park. Any minute now I expect a ghost of child’s past to come out of one of the openings! Yikes!

  5. You guys gotta live on the edge and sneak in next time!!! Great shots…. love this kind of stuff.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Can we have your number to call for bail, Derrick?? LOL 🙂 Thank you so much for popping on by and leaving us your comments, even if they incite jail-time for yours truly, the Toads!! 🙂

  6. avatar Edith Levy says:

    This looks like it was quite the place in its heyday. I agree with Jimmy though in today’s world of video games, iPhones and laptops places such as this are dwindling. Beautifully documented Toad.

  7. avatar Rich McPeek says:

    Very well put and another terrific post! Terrific photos my friend!

  8. avatar LensScaper says:

    How on earth did a paddle steamer end up here on dry land? What an extraordinary find this was, Toad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I think that right there is the proverbial “$42,000 question” Andy!! 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind visit and comments, good sir!

  9. when my sons were young we must’ve stopped for every mini golf course we saw on our frequent exploratory drives and I remember this one vaguely because of the boat. Nice treatment of the subject. Good fun but without people these amusement parks look even stranger than they’ve always looked to me. That oddness has been beautifully captured here. A great show Mr Toad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so so much Joseph, your comments really mean a lot to us! I am sure everyone will enjoy them! Many thank for visiting today, my friend!