The Toads At The Mill

Posted: 30th July 2015 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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We tend to adventure a lot, even when we are on an assignment for a client here on Vancouver Island.  Frequently we find the most amazing things, things that cause us to take pause, and in many cases result in a plume of tire smoke as we sidle up to the latest find with brakes fully engaged, anxious to discover something new.  In today’s post we are going to take a brief look at a family owned sawmill that has been operating in the city of Courtenay since 1968.

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. - Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. – Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

I simply had to process this first image in sepia, with an eye towards making an image that was sympathetic to the times when the mill was originally built and came into service.  This is a slight departure from our normal work, but one we thought was in keeping with the subject we are sharing here today.

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. - Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. – Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

This is what the sawmill looks like today, in the middle of the summer on a blazing hot day.  The wonderful architectural features of the facility were what caught our eye originally as we passed by, almost missing it.  The red on the roofs work perfectly with the textures of the old wood on the siding, along with all the wonderful little features of the facility that are home to offices and work areas.  To say I’d love to have a chance to photograph the inside would be an incredible understatement, but for today we get to enjoy a brief walk-around of the exterior of the mill.

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. - Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. – Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

For us here, one of the best parts of these types of discoveries is in learning about the place after the work with the images is complete.  In the case of the Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. we learned that the same family has been operating the mill since inception in 1968, and that they have a focus on being environmentally friendly through the process of milling reclaimed wood that would otherwise be left to rot or burnt in a slash pile.

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. - Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. – Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. - Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. – Courtenay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada –

This kind of stewardship of our natural resources is a rare find in today’s contemporary business world.  This makes a place like Thomson Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. all the more special as they are not just focused on the product they create and make available, they also care about the source, and the longevity of our forests.

We can honestly tell you that based on these facts, Thomson Bros. will be one of the first places we consider for sourcing our lumber for our next project.  And to think, if we weren’t the photography adventuring types we would never have found this wonderful local business and learned all about it.  This is certainly one of the key reasons we love our work so very much here at The Hollow.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us here at The Hollow today!  We love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below!




  1. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Fantastic place Toad and fantastic pictures. I’d sure like for you to see and photograph the inside as well. 🙂

    • Thanks Edith, we always find our day is highlighted when you visit us here at The Hollow! Thank you so much for your wonderful comments and support, it means a lot to us!

  2. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    Wonderful images Toad! I’d also love to get a look inside! 🙂

    • Some places just beckon you to look in, and sometimes that desire to see what’s hidden is actually the treasure. There is always joy in the unknown!! But, perhaps one day we will get to visit the inside and show you all what that looks like, I’ll bet it is amazing!!! Thanks so much for your kind visit and comments here Rachel!

  3. avatar Joyfulgozo says:

    So fantastic, a good news perk. Since 1968, had it been built on b4 & they put life into it it, or it was fresh ground, they laid the plans & Made it into what it today?

    • Hi there, my good friend, many thanks for your kind visit! I am not sure of the origins in terms of your question, but if I had to guess I’d say that the mill was built on fresh ground in 1968. We could totally be wrong, and if any of our visitors have further info on that, we’d love to hear it!! As always, thank you so much for taking the time to visit our humble corner of the internet and for leaving your terrific comments!

  4. I love photo blogs that contain a bit of history. You did a great job with this post by adding information about the company and how it’s unique.

  5. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Not many of these here in the Northeast so it is a pleasure to see one up close with your lens, Toad.

  6. What a great find, nice shots as well, discovering new places like that is great, nice work

  7. avatar Lisa Gordon says:

    I just love this old mill. I also love the fact that it looks like someone is taking very good care of it. I’ll be there’s lots to explore here. Your choice of sepia is perfect. It adds so much character to an already beautiful structure.