We often hear the expression "if only these walls could talk" when we explore and photograph the myriad heritage buildings that cross our paths here at Toad Hollow. Many times when we visit a place like this we have a deep and personal experience as we strive to connect with the rich history that the walls hold secret, save for those who are inquisitive and curious. In today's post we are going to visit one such special place, St. Anne's and St. Edmund's Anglican Church in Parksville on Vancouver Island. This place in particular is held near and dear to us as it was one of the first heritage sites we encountered after we started Toad Hollow Photography. It was literally "one of those days" where we were exploring this part of the island when we turned the corner on a back-road in Parksville and came across this absolutely incredible building.
Our family is rather used to the smell of burning rubber as brakes are applied hard when we are out and about. Particularly if the camera is in the car with us. We simply couldn't believe our eyes! We have never seen a wooden church like this here on the island before and we were absolutely mesmerized as we explored the grounds and grabbed some photographs. Little did we know at that time that several years later we would be working with the Anglican Diocese of BC on a large project dubbed "The Anglican Church Project"
where we were visiting all the churches on Vancouver Island and the surrounding islands. It's funny how you can reflect on things like this after some time has passed and realize how profound the initial visit was; almost as if the project was calling to us, inviting us to explore all these wonderful places.
By taking to the air, our drone offered us unique perspectives of the facility and its surroundings, one of our favorite ways to employ our drone in the pursuit of amazing photography. We are fully licensed by Transport Canada to fly here in BC, and every time we get airborne we are amazed at how things change when you get your camera up to altitude. It's like a whole new world is revealed.
Back in 1894 life was challenging here on Vancouver Island. All the creature comforts we take for granted today did not exist back then, and the central island area of Vancouver Island would have been a difficult place to live and build a family and community. As we took advantage of our ability to fully explore the church, we could see with our mind's eye a small group of parishioners making their way across the landscape each Sunday, looking forward to fellowship and a sense of community. The harsh conditions would not have slowed their step, or taken away from their sense of joy in living in such a beautiful place, even though the simplest things in life would have required much effort.
The interior of the church is no less amazing than the exterior. The rich woodwork we found was warm and inviting, a testament to the people who designed and built this church all those years ago. Again, remember, this was all done in a time and age when there was no such thing as power tools. In the early days there likely wasn't even any electricity. This work was all done using hand-tools, lovingly applied to the incredible local wood that is found out here on the west coast. Each plank represents the care and attention of an early settler here on the island, someone who would have loved everything a new life would have offered and felt an important part of building this important church and all it meant to everyone.
From what we learned, the church was a very active part of the community for over 100 years. Today St. Edmund's Anglican Church sits on the same grounds as St. Anne's, a more contemporary and modern facility that is better suited to serve the needs of the much larger congregation than existed back in the time of St. Anne's. From what we were told, St. Anne's is still used today for special occasions. What a fabulous way to tie its rich history with today's modern life.
Check out our YouTube video that includes drone video footage - click here to see the presentation in full-screen "St Anne and St Edmund Anglican Church - Parksville, Vancouver Island".
The entire Parksville/Qualicum Beach area of Vancouver Island is an important link to our local history. The early settlers faced untold hardships and challenges as they tried to make a new life in this part of the world for their family and community, with the hopes of leaving behind a new legacy. It's impossible to explore a place like this and not have a tangible sense of the years that have passed by, all the births, deaths, Christmas celebrations and so much more that have taken place inside these hallowed walls. I can honestly tell you our experience here moved us on a very personal level, one that will follow us through all our days. It represented our own short history here at Toad Hollow exploring places such as this, and how those things that seemed profound to us in the early days of our photography practice remain treasures that we appreciate to this day.
If you are so inclined, we invite you to see our gallery of photographs "St Anne and St Edmund Anglican Church - Parksville"
that covers both churches inside and out.
This is a guest article by Toad Hollow Photography. Check out Toad Hollow Photography
, exploring the diverse landscapes of Vancouver Island, British Columbia with HDR photography techniques.