Three years have been spent working on this story. Countless phone calls and emails have been exchanged, all in an effort to gain access to the property and house, and with that to have a chance to relive the history that makes this place so very special. After all that effort, it almost seems bittersweet to find the project now complete with our publishing of the photographs and the story that goes along with them.
Built in 1894 to replace a home that suddenly burnt to the ground one night, Elkington House at Oak Park is one of Cowichan Valley’s best kept secrets. It’s also one of our most beloved treasures. Originally situated on 293 ½ acres of prime land in the valley, today the property is owned by The Nature Conservancy of Canada who are tireless stewards in maintaining the rare plants and Garry Oak preserve that the house lives within.
We finally made arrangements for our visit through our network of connections, and when the day came we found ourselves alone inside the house for the entire day exploring it from top to bottom, both in our hearts and with our camera.
We understand that this may be one of the only heritage homes designated in the valley. Family members were born and raised here, and some returned at the end of their journeys to enjoy their remaining time at the home and land that meant so much to them for their entire lives.
Based on our visit, we came away with 64 high quality photographs of the home and the park that surrounds it. This has definitely been a labor of love and has allowed us to create deeper connections with the history and heritage of the area that we love so much and are lucky enough to call home.
Through this project, we’ve learned that exploring history is so much more than reading and learning about the past, it’s a way to connect with those who came before us who were so deeply responsible for shaping the contemporary world we find ourselves living within. And with this comes a profound understanding of who we are as individuals living in modern times.
For more pictures and more of the history, read “A Pioneering Heart”.
Photos are © Scott Johnson – All Rights Reserved