It was a damp, grey and rather dreary spring afternoon when Mrs. Toad and I found ourselves coming into the wonderful little character town of Chemainus here on Vancouver Island. The colors were somewhat muted by the thick rain clouds that lingered overhead. It was a good day to photograph the wonderful Victorian styled character homes of the town, bringing us back to our very roots in photography by inspiring us to spend some time with that which we love so much here on the island; our local architecture.
As you come into town a row of these simply beautiful homes comes into focus. They have been beckoning us to photograph them for years now. Each one is unique, yet as a group they all share marked similarities that bring them together in community.
Each house has its own color scheme, which is likely chosen carefully to be highly sympathetic for the times the homes were designed and built. Peaked roofs and wonderful details make each one stand out, while at the same time being a part of a collection. This one was likely converted to a duplex at some point, turning one wonderful home into two.
Some have slightly weathered features worn with pride that embody the years of life and love experienced within the walls. Each one has been modified, added onto, over time with personal features that make the home both unique and unlike any other, as well as creating a space that is literally customized for the family that inhabited it.
Some are very brightly painted with colors that exude the personalities of those who own them. This home features a wide bevy of architectural features which appear to be customized by a highly skilled woodworker. Some of these features are referred to as “Victorian Lace” for obvious reasons.
This one is a home and is host to a small local business. If you look carefully you can see additions that have been added on, likely over time as needs and the families changed. The colors are bright and cheerful, as are the residents of Chemainus, creating a happy and inviting feel. It’s easy to imagine yourself visiting this shop and spending hours exploring the wares displayed within. An entire afternoon can melt before your very eyes.
Some of the homes have received very tasteful contemporary renovations, all the while maintaining that special link to the Victorian era that makes them what they are today.
For some people, this is an old house for sale. For us this is a dream just waiting to be discovered. These homes are a lot bigger inside than they look from the outside, this one having around 2,000 square feet in it. It is so easy to imagine a summer’s evening spent on the porch in a chair with your favorite beverage, watching the townsfolk and visitors alike as they pass by. This is a sure-fired way of making new friends, not to mention the wonderful lifestyle that you would have living in a small close-knit town on Vancouver Island.
A literal stroll across the street and you find yourself visiting one of Vancouver Island’s best treasures, the Chemainus Theatre Festival. We’ve been many times ourselves for a gala evening of a black tie dinner accompanied by a lovely pianist, then followed by a wonderful evening of live theatre in a very intimate setting. There is simply no better way to spend some time.
It’s truly amazing what you can find in your own backyard if you open your mind to look for it. The tiny town of Chemainus has a wonderful back-story to it, now it’s colloquially known as “The Little Town That Did“© through an entire revitalization process. In the summer, the town is full of locals and visitors alike, all coming to experience the unique feel and offerings that are found here, and in the winters the town leaves you feeling as if you’ve discovered a wonderful secret that is yours alone to explore and experience.
Thanks for popping by to visit us here at The Hollow today, we really appreciate it! As always, we love to hear from all our visitors, so please do feel free to leave us any comments you may have below!