UrbEx Potpourri

A brief word on urban exploration 'scouting'.
It's not too unlike the months or years of academic or scientific research with the potential of a big discovery at the end of this drudgery.

Left- An abandoned development gone bust in Innisfil.

I personally do not relish the hours of on-line research, scanning newspapers and driving across God's creation of Central Ontario to find a potentially good location to explore.

Following are a number of places I had visited over the course of the last three days. Some locations were simply stumbled upon,
some are the labours of the aforementioned research, and others are old haunts of mine I had just dropped by to update myself. Hence the title of this post 'UrbEx Potpourri'.
Be advised that, like an experienced building hacker, not all my visits are provided here as any attention may put at risk any future exploration.

Base Edgar

We were informed by our associate neX that there may be film crews at the abandoned radar base, possibly filming episodes of Canada's Worst Driver. A discreet inquiry to a communications official with CTV confirmed that filming was indeed in progress and expected to wrap up by the week's end.

At the time of our visit, the base was absolutely crawling with film crew and site security. They had even patched up some of our favourite holes in the fence. The risk-to-reward ratio was not worth venturing in further to discover who may had been selected 'worst driver'.

Some odd barriers the set builders constructed at the maintenance yard
and a purple bus (? wtf ?).

African Methodist Episcopal Church - Oro
A Canadian National Historic Site

From the plaque
Built in 1849, this church is the last vestige of one of the oldest African-Canadian settlements in Upper Canada. Here at Oro, former members of the Loyalist militia from the War of 1812 established the only Black community sponsored by the government. Free Blacks from the northern United States later joined them. Located in the heart of a strategic and vulnerable region, the community guarded against an American invasion via Georgian Bay. This church is a testament to the contribution of African Canadians to the settlement and defence of Canada in the 19th century.

Between 1830 and 1850 some 24 Negro families who had fled from slavery in the United States to freedom in Canada were settled in Oro Township mostly on the concession running north of Shanty Bay, known back in the day as Wilberforce Street. In 1849, they acquired this piece of land for a burying ground and built this Church. Several of these first settlers were soldiers of Captain Runchey's "Company of Coloured Men" who fought the Americans in the War of 1812. The next wave of settlers were freemen from the Northern U.S.

Left - A late 1940's photograph of the Church.
Top Right - Davey Thompson, a grandson of one of the first settlers, and his brother . . .

Right - James Dixon Thompson, the last descendant of the original settlers still living in the area. He died at Barrie's Royal Victoria Hospital on Sunday December 18th, 1949 at the age of 72.

Typically, this church is closed to all but by appointment only but on my drive by, I was fortunate enough to find a care-taker showing a couple through.

The Church suffered neglect due to the lack of funds to keep it repaired. It had also sustained heavy damage due to vandalism (in the early 1960's), and damage due to a vehicular accident in 2004.

Also, someone had broke in and stolen several pews. More recently, a$$-hat geo-cache nuts are using the site and have disturbed the grave-yard with some digging.

Oro-Medonte Abandoned House

I am not a particularly big fan of abandoned houses unless they are older structures or still have an inventory of personal effects left by its previous occupants.

This house had neither.

The house was fairly sterile and appeared not to have had anyone except for some local idiot vandals in. A washer, toilet and old big-a$$ television in the garage was not even worth the bother of a shot.

Abandoned Innisfil Dream

From the road, you see a gate, rusty chain and lock and boarded up gatehouse . . . very intriguing. The boulevard is choked with weeds and vines climb the street light standards. All I need now to complete this UrbEx dream is a 'No Trespassing' sign . . wait . . there it is. Lovely.

This is one of those 'stumbled upon' finds located near cottage central in Innisfil Township by Lake Simcoe. Apparently a planned subdivision but only a model house and short street is all that was constructed before the project went bust.

The local a$$-clown vandals went straight to town on this one. There was not one sheet on intact drywall left inside.

Very sad.

Anywho, as mentioned before, scouting can be fairly boring but I would not say unproductive. From the trips on these three separate days, I have at least three hot leads on what may be the next big urbex ticket. If successful, I will have these posted in the next few weeks.

Also - more newsworthy than UrbEx, one of the older buildings in downtown burned down in Barrie Sunday afternoon.

These two images from Simcoe.com showing emergency personnel and equipment responding.

Barrie Fire & Emergency Services responded to a large fire Sunday afternoon around 1:30 p.m. to 67 Dunlop Street West, formerly Pharaoh's Pita but now home to Earth and Sky Connection, a spirutual medicine shoppe, owned by Tamare White-Wolf and two other businesses. Above the stores were approximately a dozen apartments leaving the tennants homeless. The adjacent Imperial Cinemas evacuated movie-goers as a precaution during the fire.

A man was watching efforts to put out the fire from a lawn chair on a nearby rooftop. To police officers, he was a bit too close to the fire for their liking, but refused their requests to get off the roof. Officers arrested him for public intoxication, and released him when he was sober.

Five fire trucks, 30 firefighters, several police cruisers and paramedics responded. Although there were no injuries, the building was lost. Springwater Township and Innisfil fire departments provided coverage at Barrie fire stations while firefighters were still on scene late Sunday night.

The last major fire to occur in downtownBarrie was the blaze which destroyed the Sam the Record Man Store at Five Points in January of 1994. Hopes, prayers, and best wishes to Tamare White-Wolf, the other business owners and former tenants for a rapid recovery and return to normalcy.


jannx said...

that piece on "Canada's Worst Driver" is insane! Film crews everywhere doing what they want. These people and the Police Demolition crews seem to inflict more damage on the place than UE people who just want a look.

There's something pretty screwy about that because I like that place. Its a shame that vandals, both private and public are slowly beating that facility into the ground.

Thanks for the update

Laura said...

We drove through town yesterday afternoon and that burnt out building is just a pile of rubble and bricks now. Maybe Barrie will get another Tim Hortons soon, now that they found some fresh space to fill.