Like the Canal, the industries that formed along the corridor needed to adapt and change as technology, power, and market demand changed throughout history. During the early day of the Canal, industries could get by working in a relatively small area. Local grain, timber, and materials were brought to the mills, and then the products were used within the local market. The Canadian Industry during the first part of the 19th Century remained local, colonial, provincial. They were dedicated mainly to the extraction and processing of raw materials. But the 1850s brought two significant changes, the first being an effective railway network that provided furtherRead More →

The Welland Canal attracted a wide range of industry. But most of the industry used the Canal as a way to bring in power to drive the machines, transport in raw materials, and ship out finished products. But if there is a single industry that not only depended on the presence of the Canal but also provided goods and service to the Canal, it is the shipbuilding industry. Shipbuilding in Canada was nothing new; ships were the cars of the day as water was the highway. And with most the communities that existed in Canada were on the water. While Mills drove inland communities onRead More →

Since the first arrival of European settlers to the American continent, the drive to develop a local economy and industry. The new continent proved a wealth of raw material through timber, fur, and minerals. Open untouched space allowed for large farms and rivers teamed with fish. The first industries in the area were all related to the extraction and processing of these raw materials. The business owners made a fortune and grew into a new world nobility. Electricity remained decades away, and these industries relied either on animal power or better, water power. Water power relied on running water to drive massive wheels which turnedRead More →

By 1836 the Welland in its current form remained woefully behind the times. Compared to the canal systems along the St. Lawrence River, the military Rideau Canal, and the under-construction Trent-Severn waterway, the Welland Canal remained little more than a cheap imitation to the technology of the day. Technology had moved on, and most ships now used steam power rather than sail power larger ships, especially those with side wheels and greater drafts and displacements prevented the larger modern cargo and passenger vessels from fitting through the canal. To simplify the problem, the Welland Canal had outgrown its usefulness. But the need for a canalRead More →

Some of my earliest adventures exploring abandoned buildings were taken here in Milton, small farmhouses mostly. But what would have been amazing to check out was the Milton Pressed Brick Company. Formed in 1877 as one of the early large scale industrial setups in Milton. Milton Pressed Brick by the name not only baked their bricks, but they also pressed them. Which in the world of brick production produced a higher-quality product. By 1901 it was said that the company was producing some of the best bricks. The plant continued operation until 1974 and at the peak employed some 200 people. Yet today there’s littleRead More →

Like most history, there is always a bit of legend mixed in with fact and a fair amount of embellishment. That statement is even true when it comes to PL Robertson. If you live in Canada you know well the socket or square head screw, it’s standard across all provinces and all trades. Peter L. Robertson would often tell the story of how, as a screw salesman, a slotted screwdriver slipped during a demonstration and sliced his arm. Being both a salesman and an inventor, Robertson decided to invent a safer head for the standard screw. Although the more likely story is that Robertson sawRead More →

It’s always great to go back to a location you used to explore and see it legally…and in daylight. The Don Valley Brickworks was a staple of Toronto Urban Exploration for many years before Evergreen began it’s award winning transformation of the place. Someone had left the gate to the old kiln building open which gave me a chance to show friends Chris and Tim one of my old UrbEx playgrounds. It was great to see that the kilns and other small reminders of the place had been left. The Don Valley Brickworks was established in 1889 and operated for almost 100 years before finallyRead More →

I love wandering around historic sites, especially when they’re closed for the season, you don’t have to worry about children running around and getting into your shots, over protective parents worried about the young man with the massive backpack filled with four cameras, and the staff also wondering what I was doing with an old Speed Graphic press camera (let alone having to describe it to everyone there as you’re trying to line up your very first large format photo). It was also the one thing I was a little worried about because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get too close toRead More →

The Greenwhich-Mohawk industrial brownfield site provided the backdrop for Week 20. This massive complex in Brantford, Ontario has been up for development for years since the last business left late last century. The site dates back to the mid 1800s, providing homes to many companies such as Massy-Furguson and the Cockshutt Plow company. Recently they hosted an open house that allowed local photographers to come and visit and photograph the location to raise awareness for the project. It was a cold damp day like many have been over the course of spring here in Ontario, so I opted for a fast black and white filmRead More →

The MetalTech Foundry in Woodstock has always been one of my favourite abandoned Industrial locations. First built in 1913, it changed hands several times over it’s life before finally closing in 2005. And it is the subject for Week 14. See I said abandoned stuff would come back. Nikon F4/AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D/Kodak Tri-X 400 (400TX)Read More →