As we made our way up the weathered path we heard twigs crack off in the brush, making us both stop dead in our tracks and look at each other silently.  With such a warm and dry summer, bears and cougars had been reported in the area, often making their way down from the mountains towards communities where food and water can be more readily found.  There is no cell service out here, and if something were to happen who knows how long it would be before we were found.  But, the sense of adventure and the yearning to see if we could actually find the abandoned Jordan River Power Station we had heard so much about kept us moving forward.  Even the intense feeling of trepidation wasn’t enough to make us turn around.

The trees and brush are very thick through here, and as we turned a corner on the path we came across the monolithic remains of the power station, now long forgotten and unused, save for the myriad graffiti artists who come here to color the walls in large pictures often depicting personal political manifestos or mourning the loss of a fellow artist and adventurer.  The life of a graffiti artist in a derelict facility like this is a dangerous undertaking, and according to some of the notes left on the walls it would seem that sometimes it is even deadly.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Looming large and seemingly rising out of the land that it inhabits, the derelict remains of this once busy power station now sit empty and hollow.  Signs of natural decay are everywhere, from the wooden window frames, to holes in the floor that lead to the caverns below, to sections of the roof that have caved in over the years.  This is not a place for the faint-of-heart.

Partially constructed Jordan River Power Plant, showing tailrace discharge from original power units in power house - City of Vancouver Archives (Public Domain)

Partially constructed Jordan River Power Plant, showing tailrace discharge from original power units in power house – City of Vancouver Archives (Public Domain)

Construction of the facility was completed by The Vancouver Island Power Company in 1911.  It was originally created to service the increasing power demands of the growing communities on lower Vancouver Island, primarily the city of Victoria.  Over the course of many years, upgrades were conducted to improve electricity output as new technologies emerged.  Some years ago, the site was finally abandoned as newer and more efficient power generating stations were brought online, hearkening the beginning of the facilities demise as the forest that it inhabited began to overtake the remains.  The history of this tiny town can be found on Wikipedia here: “Jordan River, British Columbia“, and the history of the dam is located on Wikipedia here: “Jordan River Dam“.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

We first heard of the site several years ago from friends of ours who provided vague directions on how to locate the site.  Over time we visited Jordan River frequently, checking out various buildings and reveling in the incredible landscapes and seascapes that the town enjoys with front-row seating.  We were always close, but the path that leads to the power station is not evident to the naked eye, and only when we were given detailed instructions on how to find it did we learn of it’s actual existence and location.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

An overhead view shows just how much the forests have encroached on the site, and how the years of weathering and decay have taken their toll on the structure.  It can’t be much more than 30 or 40 years since the power station was still used as a power generating facility, and the realization of how quickly that nature works in it’s reclaiming process is a stark reminder of how delicate life truly is on this planet we all call home.

Shakie's Burger Shack - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Shakie’s Burger Shack – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Let’s step back a few years in our story here, back to 2011 when we headed out to Jordan River one afternoon in the hopes of visiting one of our favorite little roadside restaurants, aptly names Shakie’s Burger Shack.  Upon reflection today, it would seem that this day would become a harbinger of times to come when we found that the restaurant that had been here for countless years was now boarded up with little hope for its future.  Our blog post “No Burgers Today” tells the sad story of the day of discovery when we learned of its imminent demise.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Flash forward to the fall of 2016 when we encountered several of the buildings and homes that sit on the shores of the ocean now boarded up.  We took the opportunity to explore two of the remaining buildings, not really knowing at the time we photographed them the deeper meaning behind what we found.  Our blog post “Jordan River – Forgotten In Time” discusses this visit and the subsequent research we did, only to learn of the larger story that loomed right under our gaze.  The days were numbered for Jordan River, the Diversion Dam that was located several kilometers up the mountain was located on a serious fault-line that could cause massive flooding in the community below in the event of a major earthquake.  This news left little question as to the wisdom of relocating the residents of the town to safer ground, yet this still didn’t relieve the sense of loss and sadness in discovering a place that we frequently visited and enjoyed that was soon to just be a footnote in history books.

This gave us a larger impetus to locate the power station, in the hopes of visiting it in person before it too disappeared forever.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Our first visit was really just an extended scouting mission, with Mrs. Toad and I making our way trepidatiously up the path in the hopes that the site would emerge.  Indeed, it did.  The discovery was breathtaking in scope, and we took the opportunity to fly our drone around inside to capture some unique perspectives.  Even though it was late summer, and this years summer was amazing in terms of wonderful warm weather, it is always cold and drafty on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  Our drone was buffeted around inside the structure a bit, yet we still managed to maintain good control of the craft and were able to capture some amazing images.

Now that we had found the site, and it was far more than we originally expected, we were driven to organize a second visit, this time with our two dear friends who also love these sorts of adventures.  A return trip was planned with a lengthy visit to the site to take in all it had to offer.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Our second visit started with a stop at one of the remaining homes in Jordan River, now apparently abandoned for what looks to be some time.  This particular house has a storied history to it, with a personal connection to me which we discussed in our blog “Laughter In The Wind” featured previously.  This was a bittersweet exploration as one of the families who lived here many years ago were friends of mine, and it was rather hard to see this gorgeous house with an incredible view out on the ocean sitting in this state today.  This visit also happened to coincide with one of the worst fire seasons we’ve had here on the west coast in many years, causing the skies to take on a smokey aura with a strange orange tinge to the light at times.  This only added to the eerie feeling.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Our next and final stop for the day was the power station itself.  Minutes turned to hours as we carefully explored the site, trying to understand what machinery was placed where, and what it’s ultimate purpose was.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The windows were huge, it’s really hard to understand the true scope of this site from the photographs, but with a somewhat southerly facing and no trees or brush to obstruct the light, this facility must have been glowing in natural light during its active years.  Today we mostly find shadows creeping across the remains of the floor as the light shifts over time during the day.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Without any doubt whatsoever, one of the best parts of our explore was the discovery of the graffiti.  Even with only the space of a few weeks between our visits, the site had undergone changes, with artists coming and reusing the cement canvas from previous artists to create new and exciting works.  The colors are vibrant, and needless to say Mrs. Toad spent quite a bit of time really taking as much in as she could, observing the fine details that often revealed a hidden story as to the pieces origin and meaning.  This was a profound and sometimes melancholy experience as sometimes the art revealed homage to an artist who lost their life.  Some of the pieces are located quite high up inside the structure, with access to the spot undoubtedly a result of some intense daredevil antics.  A fall from these perches would be fatal, for sure, if that is indeed what happened here.  This part of the experience added a certain depth to the overall artistic tension that almost literally dripped from the walls and the remains of the roof overhead.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

If you notice near the bottom of the foundation here, you will see a pipe inlet.  We believe this is where the pipes ran into the structure, coming down the side of the mountain as the waters up at the Diversion Dam ran downhill.  These rushing waters turned massive turbines, which in turn generated the electricity.  At the front of the building, huge flues ran out from underneath the facility, likely where the water ran off once the electricity was generated inside.  We were unable to get a decent shot of that aspect of the facility due to the incredible overgrowth of the trees and vegetation.  The black-and-white archival photo exhibited at the beginning of our post offers a good view of them.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

This shot gives us a good perspective of how the trees are encroaching on the facility.  It’s amazing to think that over the years, a tree like this could cause so much damage just by the act of growing.  Extending this thought, it’s not hard to imagine the effect of the overgrowth on the rest of the facility.  How much time remains before it finally disappears into the earth forever?  We are not sure.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Back inside we take a look at the somewhat well-known stairs that lead to the underground basement area.  We believe this is the area that the water ran through, turning the turbines on the main level where the power was generated.  There is little headroom down there, and it is dark as night.  From what we could see with our limited lights, the entire underground area is strewn with garbage, and some fellow explorers who came in as we were there noted that it was full of big spiders.  No one in our group could move past the shivers this invoked to make their way down there.  No way.

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan River Power Station – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Let’s take to the air in this final segment in this special feature post.  As you can see, the entire area is a thick and lush forest that leads down to the shores of the Pacific Ocean, a place where outdoor enthusiasts and surfers have come for years to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the tall waves.  Wicked storms are know to move through the area at all times of the year, as the shoreline here faces the open ocean facing out towards Asia.  Once stepping foot off these shores, the traveler would have to cross vast expanses of ocean to find Terra Firma once again.

No wonder this spot was so highly revered by both those who called Jordan River home, as well as those who traveled from far and wide to take advantage of the world-famous waves that created near perfect conditions for brave surfers.  The power and majesty of nature itself can be found here in the countless square miles that make up this portion of the coast of the island.  To call this truly amazing is not doing it justice.

Now that we’ve made it through this rather long article, it’s time to enjoy the drone footage and a collage of some of the best still photographs we captured from our two site visits.  We hope you enjoy this video presentation.

Please click here to see the presentation “Jordan River Power Station” in fullscreen on YouTube.

We are hoping to head back to the power station this winter as we were told the structure takes on a whole new personality during this time of year when the leaves on the surrounding trees are all gone.  In the meantime, we have these images and memories to share here with you.

Thanks very much for taking the time to visit us here at The Hollow 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 below.





  1. avatar Frank King says:

    Wow! Lots of work and attention to detail in this excellent photo essay. Well done. 🙂

  2. avatar Edith Levy says:

    What a find! Awesome place and awesome images Toad.

  3. avatar Lisa Gordon says:

    This is definitely my kind of place!
    How fortunate you were to be able to explore and photograph it.
    One of the many things I love about places like this is all of the color and texture in the (sad) demise, and you have captured that beautifully.
    As always, thank you so much for taking us along with you.
    Have a wonderful week ahead!

    • Everything about our universe is constantly heading towards a state of decay. I find beauty in that for some reason. 🙂 It’s nice knowing that we have friends who share that vision, Lisa! Many heartfelt thanks for your kind visit and words here, cheers my friend!

  4. Very nice series indeed! I’ve added you to my reading list, maybe I’ll pick up some tips! 🙂

    • Thanks Paul, we sure do appreciate that! We always love hearing from new visitors to our site, so we’d like to send out a special thank you at this time for doing just that! Have a great week, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us at anytime! Cheers!! 😀

  5. Great shots, my kind of place, well done!

  6. cool video! . . . I’ve yet to discover first hand, thanx for the introduction!