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Dracs Castle is it in Merville of Comox valley?
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Photographing the Mythical Dracs Castle in Comox Valley

Unravelling the Enigma: Drac’s Castle in Comox Valley

Nestled amidst the forest of the Comox Valley, an obscure tale of two locations unfolds. Both are claiming to be Drac’s Castle. Locals can’t seem to agree on which one truly is Drac’s Castle. One is majestic, with ancient pillars and elegant arches. The other is a roofless, charred relic with scars from a fire.
So! I am not here to arbitrate the age-old debate over which of these is the rightful Drac’s Castle. Instead, join me on another photographic journey filled with unique opportunities. For, in this controversy, lies a chance to capture history and mystery.

Who cares about the local squabble? Both places are a great place to head out for a morning photo shoot.

Table of Contents

Drac’s Castle: Capturing Beauty in Decay

Every subject tells a unique story. Relics of castles and old buildings, decorated with graffiti, can be fascinating subjects. These decaying structures are living testaments to time, offering photographers an interesting fusion of art, history, and architecture. The beauty of these two locations lies in the contrast between the old and the new, the decay and the vibrancy of graffiti.

Photographing the Arches and Pillars:

One of the most striking aspects of these structures is the juxtaposition of their architecture. Majestic arches and regal pillars against the vibrant and often rebellious graffiti. These elements offer a perfect blend of history and contemporary art, making them ideal subjects.

dracs castle Comox Logging road. AKA Mine #8

The Ruins’ Weathered Walls and Haunting Windows:

Remember to capture the graffiti, disrepaired structure, weathered walls, and haunting windows in your shot. The aged stone walls bear the scars of time, telling stories of the past. In contrast, the damaged windows can add an air of mystery.

Nature’s growth against man-made structures adds depth to your photos, creating a captivating coexistence between two different worlds. It’s a perfect example of finding art in unexpected places.

The Best Time of Day

I prefer the golden hours, shortly after sunrise and before sunset, for both locations. The soft, warm light enhances the textures and details of the graffiti, adding a touch of magic to the ruins. These hours offer a contrast to the vibrant colours of the graffiti, creating a hypnotizing visual scene.

Pros of Photographing Graffiti-Adorned Relics:

  • Unique Aesthetic: These subjects are a refreshing departure from conventional photography, offering a raw, unpolished, and unconventional charm.
  • Storytelling: Graffiti tells stories of contemporary urban culture, against the historical tales hidden in the architecture.
  • Dramatic Contrast: The vivid, often chaotic graffiti against the ancient structure creates a unique photo opportunity.
  • Artistic Expression: The colourful graffiti provides endless opportunities for creative composition, enabling us to showcase our unique photographic style.

Dracs castle Merville road. AKA Sawmill

Cons of Photographing Graffiti-Adorned Relics:

  • Weather and Environmental Challenges: If you are like me, these often take a back seat to photographic opportunities. However, both locations are exposed to the elements.
  • Safety: Both sites are in and around dilapidated structures. Use caution
  • Changing Art: Street art is always changing, which can make it difficult to capture a specific piece of graffiti or scene.

Drac’s Castle Comox Logging Road

History of Mine #8

Mine No. 8, also called the “million dollar mystery mine,” is located between Courtenay and Mine No. 7. It is close to a deserted community known as Bevan. Between 1912 and 1914, Mine #8 and its shafts were excavated. Up until 1936, very little work was ever done inside the main shaft. The mine got its name from the large amount of money invested in it at the beginning.

In 1936, the No. 8 mine’s entire water supply was emptied, and coal production resumed. It operated until 1952 before being permanently discontinued. As oil and gas gained popularity.

Mine #8 has two shafts that were used to access the Comox Coal Fields. Both shafts are roughly 1000 feet deep. The mine’s air shaft was located in the second shaft. Rail lines from mine 7 and 8 were used to load goods onto ships for sale at Union Wharf, today known as Union Bay.

Location of Drac’s Castle

  • From Courtenay BC you want to find Lake Trail School Rd
  • Follow Lake Trail School Road to Comox Logging Road.
  • Follow the logging road 3.8 Klm

Be careful as you can miss the castle it’s nestled in the woods.

Explore the captivating Dracs's Castle on the Comox Logging road.

If you Google the location, you will want to use Drac’s Castle.

Drac’s Castle Merville

History Sawmill power station.

The people in Merville call this building Drac’s Castle. Comox residence refers to Mine #8 on the Comox Logging Road as Drac’s Castle.

The old concrete structure on Farnham Road near the Tsolum River was built in 1912-1913 as a timber mill, but it was never in operation.

So what really happened on July 6, 1922, AKA the Merville Fire? This is the best that I could find from Courtenay & District Museum.

Sparks from a logging locomotive started a fire in the forest. A north-east breeze from the Oyster River through standing forest “crowning” in massive flames. It picked up speed as it struck the Comox Logging Camp 2’s fallen and bucked timber. The fire accelerated as it raced across a hill that had been planted with new trees north of Merville. The newly planted trees burned, then the fire ravaged the Merville Settlement, obliterating structures and everything in its path.

Location of Drac’s Castle

  • The easiest way to explain this is from Courtenay BC.
  • Head towards the Ski Hill, Mount Washington, by highway 19
  • From the intersection of Strathcona Parkway – you want to take Dove Creek Road
  • Take a right onto S Farmhan Rd.
  • Travel for 5.1 Klm
  • Once you cross the bridge. You should see the building on your left.

Drac's Castle for Courtenay to Merville

If you Google the location, you will want to use Headquarter Sawmill.

Conclusion About Drac’s Castle.

As photographers, we sometimes find inspiration in the most unexpected places. Art in photography can exist in decay and graffiti. It’s up to you to find the composition and use your eye. Do you prefer to call Mine #8 or Headquarter sawmill by its nickname Drac’s Castle? Whichever it may be, remember the world is filled with extraordinary stories waiting to be told and photographed.

Well there you have it, two places with the same name almost in the same location. Has this become a local dispute? You bet it has.

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