Dreams are the fuel for goals.  It’s that desire to see our dreams come true that drives many of us to do the things we do in life.  No matter how odd or strange a dream may be to someone, the beholder sees something personal and meaningful.  Mrs. Toad and I have a dream like this, one we’re not sure will ever come to life.  Sometimes it’s the dream itself that is important, giving us a little bit of extra encouragement to take on life and make it all it can be.  To try to reach just a little further.  To fly a little higher.

St. Andrews Anglican Church - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Andrews Anglican Church – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Our deeply rooted love for Vancouver Island and it’s architecture and character is by no means a secret.  There is a distinct flavor and feel to the island, and we find it expressed in our architecture, particularly buildings that have historical and heritage significance.  St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Cowichan Station is most certainly one of these buildings.  A heritage church well over 100 years old now, it finds itself in a state of disrepair, but even with this being the case its wonderful personality and spirit still shine through.

St. Andrews Anglican Church - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Andrews Anglican Church – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

How does this apply to our dream, I can hear you ask?  Well, my friends, the lovely Mrs. Toad and I would love to get our flippers on this place to convert it into a home with an external photography studio.  This would serve several purposes.  The first one being our deep desire to live in an old character church like this.  Beyond that, there would be the obvious reduction in my daily commute, taking something that finds me on crazy busy highways spending about an hour each way down to a quick 5 steps to get from the front door of our house to the studio.  And, there’s plenty of parking.

But really, it’s all about the character.  In this second shot of today’s post we can see the detached bell tower, and a close look reveals the bell is still there.  How cool is that.

St. Andrews Anglican Church - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Andrews Anglican Church – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Kids would love to visit us at Halloween, and we would love to be part of weddings and other celebrations that would find a facility like this to be perfect.  After coming home from this shoot, we spent hours processing the photographs and talking about how wonderful it would be to live here.  There’s little wonder that we are made for each other as we both talked over each other in hurried excitement, trying to imagine living life here.  Hours flew by and our hearts were full of hope and joy.

St. Andrews Anglican Church - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Andrews Anglican Church – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Even the gate itself reveals a story if you spend time with it.  We just love how the bricks were used in the stonework to create crosses, a wonderful and authentic touch to the church itself.  You can’t help but think of the craftsmen who worked here as part of the community with a terrific sense of pride, and how all these little touches add so much to the overall feel.

St. Andrews Anglican Church - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Andrews Anglican Church – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Sure, time has not been kind to the building and we are sure many people who see it see an old and dilapidated building.  We see something entirely different.  Years of weathering, use and love have all left their mark on St. Andrew’s, but with some resources I am sure it’s all restorable.  This obviously isn’t a project for the faint of heart or those with light wallets, but we see a canvas here, a piece that just needs some care to bring it back to the beauty and glory it once so proudly exhibited.

St. Andrews Anglican Church - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Andrews Anglican Church – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Andrews Anglican Church - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Andrews Anglican Church – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As Mrs. Toad and I made our way around photographing the building, the clouds began to part, revealing a bright and sunny look at this side of the building.  The incredible colors in the siding really bring these scenes to life, we find, again being perfect examples of traditional Vancouver Island architecture.

St. Andrews Anglican Church - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Andrews Anglican Church – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

A view from the front yard, showcasing the incredible colors in the tall maple trees that call the valley home.  A close look at this scene reveals a No Exit sign by the power pole, adding a certain element of humor to the immediate setting.

St. Andrews Anglican Church - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Andrews Anglican Church – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Andrews Anglican Church - Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Andrews Anglican Church – Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Just before leaving for the day, we took one last walk around the premises, taking in the lovely vignettes that present themselves everywhere.  The fall leaves add a wonderful element of tension and loneliness to the scenes, revealing treasures that appear to be long forgotten.  Yet everywhere we find signs of life, signs of visitors and people coming to spend time with loved ones.  It’s a bit of a dichotomy, but so is life really.

Thank you so much for joining us on a story of whimsy and hope today, we really appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have.  Until next time, my friends!




  1. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Oh boy I hope that this dream becomes a reality for the Toads! What a beautiful place indeed and to have a photo studio in such a setting…WOW. Beautiful images Toad.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so much Edith, your ongoing support and encouragement here means so very much to us! You’ll be the first invited to our “church warming” party should it ever become reality!

  2. Great images – especially love that one of the gate – and oh, what fun you describe if that dream should ever come true!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much Laurie! 🙂 It’s fun having dreams like this, they really keep us lifted on days that are challenging! Many thanks for your kind visit and comments my friend, we really appreciate it!

  3. avatar dragonflydreams88 says:

    . . . great story! . . . thanx for telling it!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      How kind, my friend, thank you so much for taking the time to leave us your comments! It really means a lot!

  4. nice dream – and dream big!! And then make it happen. 🙂

  5. avatar Renee Besta says:

    Dearest Toads: This post just warms my heart in so many ways, as I can definitely relate to your dreams and goals. You are so right, dreams are very important and make up the very fabric of our being. Our souls. They are what makes life worth living instead of just surviving. I hope and pray that your dream comes true, and that you and Mrs. Toad can purchase this beautiful old church and open a photo gallery. I love your writing and beautiful photos here. The emotions are very palpable and real. How gorgeous this church is!

    Partnering with another artist or photographer to open a gallery has long-since been a dream of mine. I came close the last two years as a former Resident Artist at Studios on the Park here in Paso Robles, CA, but that was not the same thing as owning my own gallery. It would be worth all the effort to fix up and remodel the place, to make it your very own personal vision. I hope this happens. Then I can make a trip to Vancouver Island and pay you a visit. My prayers and good thoughts are with you.

    We all spend so much time trying to make a living that we sometimes forget that dreams do come true if we only have faith and believe in ourselves. All the best to you.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Oh boy, would we LOVE TO SEE YOU Renee!! 😀 What wonderful words you’ve shared here today with us all, my dear friend, that really means so much to us. I totally agree with your thoughts here, I tend to be rather passionate about meaningful things and find that these goals and dreams are really important motivators in life. One day maybe all of our dreams will come true! I really hope that your gallery idea comes to fruition Renee, your work is astounding and really needs to be presented to the largest audience possible. Best wishes, from the Toads to you!

  6. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    We all have our dreams and, even if they don’t always pan out, they keep us going. After reading your post, I could see the effort and love you would put into it that would make it amazing. Keep dreaming Toad as they sometimes come true.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That just means so very much to us here, Len, thank you my friend! Your support is wonderful, we really appreciate it!

  7. avatar Jim Nix says:

    lovely tribute to a lovely place Toad, and I hope this dream comes to fruition for you both!

  8. avatar Mark Paulson says:

    Toad

    Just a quick note to Thank You for including some of my images in your postings on Light Stalking.

    I check your website periodically to see what you have been making images of.

    Regards

    Mark Paulson

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks, Mark, you may my day here with your visit and wonderful comments my friend! It’s all our pleasure to feature your work in our weekly articles, I follow your blog regularly to try and keep up with all the great work you produce. Many thanks for popping by to see us here at The Hollow today, it really means an awful lot!

  9. I loved this post. I could just feel your passion for your dream. This place NEEDS you two. I hope against hope that you can make it happen. I’m betting that you can! Wonderful images. They make me dream too…

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What wonderful comments, Sherry, thank you from the bottoms of our hearts!! It’s the support and encouragement we receive from our dearest friends like you that keeps us going here. We thank you very much!!

  10. avatar LensScaper says:

    Dreaming of something different can really lift our spirits. I can sense your spirits soaring when you write about this place, Toad. Can that dream come true? It would be fantastic if it could. A deep pocket and a lot of hard graft would come in handy for this task.

  11. I’ve visited this place with camera a number of times. Fascinating!I like the angles you have used, especially number 5 from the bottom up and that little vignette the final photograph.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You sir are one of the best friends a pair o’ Toads could have. Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement Joseph!!

  12. avatar Perry Bailey says:

    Another great set of photos, Toad. What a fantastic dream, I hope you find a way to realize it, my friend.

  13. avatar colleen namur says:

    Oh My! you two are a couple after my own heart! I have looked at a home for sale in Cowichan Station and regretted not perusing the purchase of it. I had visions of walking by your Church on a daily basis…. It is a beautiful, magical place to me! I hope to hear one day that your dream has come true.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so much Colleen, that really means a lot to us! Perhaps if one day it all comes together we could get together for a coffee at the church, wouldn’t that be fun!! Many thanks for taking the time to visit and comment here my friend!!

  14. avatar Liz (from LD!) says:

    In the very front pointed section of this churchyard is a fantastic headstone with a relief carving of, I believe, a raven… I’ll have to look closer at your shots but I don’t know if you captured it! Fortuitously, headstones don’t move that often..

    Loooooove these shots 🙂

    On Old West Saanich Rd at the corner of Spartan(?) is a lovely church that has been converted to a residence… Talk about a toad’s dream!

    • I just love sharing stories about old buildings like this, thank you so much for popping by to see us here at The Hollow Liz! Hope to see you again one day soon, it’s always awesome to have folks you can share passions with… and old character buildings are definitely a passion of ours!!