Something is fascinating about exploring Northern Ontario; it is a whole different world, with different people and a totally different way of life. Even the towns feel different, almost as if Northern Ontario is a different province from Southern Ontario once you’re past North Bay and Sudbury. Historically, northern Ontario is entirely different, having only been added to the province in 1874, and it wasn’t until 1912 that the modern boundaries of Ontario were established. But this is not a post about Ontario history; it’s about a mine, the Ross Mine. Located in the small, mainly French-Canadian town of Holtyre, the entire area was foundedRead More →

It was called the Hamilton Secret Locations Meet; in late 2006, a group of explorers headed out to Hamilton. These days, the city was a hotbed for exploration; there was plenty to see both downtown and in the industrial sectors. While the old Stelco plant had been demolished, the local group discovered a new location in the industrial sector. The name was initially kept secret to help keep it out of the public eye. The first place we went to was not the main Firestone plant but rather the boiler house that supported the plant. I can now see why because the boiler house wasRead More →

Among explorers, there is always a favourite type of location to explore, photograph, and visit. Some love abandoned houses, others prefer industrial buildings, and then there is the institutional. Here in Ontario, we don’t have too many surviving institutions from the 19th and 20th Centuries; there are some, but most were all torn down or replaced with modern hospitals. So a chance to check out the Muskoka Regional Centre was one I was not going to miss when I met up with strangers from the Internet to drive nearly two hours north to Gravenhurst for a rather epic exploring adventure and eat at a questionableRead More →

There is always a plus of having inside information; you must be careful when exploring former government sites, especially those used by both the military and the police as training locations. So when I got word that a former Cold War radar station was open for exploration, I jumped to head up to the Barrie area to check it out. Sadly, the base had been an adult occupational centre longer than a military base. While there were still plenty of military buildings around, there were only a few clues to the base’s history. Almost as soon as the Second World War ended, a new ColdRead More →

It’s been a long time since I thought about the Darnley Grist Mill. It wasn’t until I saw a memory pop up on Facebook that I was heading out to kick off the start of my War of 1812 project, which included a stop at the Darnley Grist Mill. I ‘discovered’ the location in a book with a list of different sites related to the Anglo-American War of 1812. Oddly enough those shots never went into the project despite the connection of the mill to the war. But despite touching on the subject of mills and local supply lines, I never used those images. HavingRead More →

I know that place, I muttered to myself while watching season 2 of Star Trek Discovery. The tell-tale support pillars were instantly familiar to me, as I had seen them many times before; there was no doubt that those were the generator supports from the massive Richard L. Hearn Thermal Generating Station in Toronto’s Portlands. I knew that Discovery filmed in Ontario and the GTHA (Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area), having seen the white church from Balls Falls and the Niagara Escarpment near Milton, all featured in both Season 1 and 2 of the then-latest Star Trek series. Hearn was my first extensive exploration and one thatRead More →

Canada’s history with the treatment of mental health is long and sorted. And while we’ve made great leaps forward, often, many of the historical institutions have gotten lost and replaced along the way. Not that those who were patients in such facilities in the past would want a reminder standing out to them every day. While the Queen Street Asylum is long gone, replaced by the far more modern CAMH facilities, the asylum at Amherstburg has reverted to the historical configuration as a War-Era fort; even Mimicoe is now being used as a college campus. When I was deep into Urban Exploration, exploring mental asylumsRead More →