Holeproof London

The building located at 203 Bathurst Street in London is known as the "City Centre Storage" building, but only a limited number of Londoners know that this was at one time a textile factory and a very important industry.

In 1919, American industrialist Carl Freschl constructed this 4-storey, 9,000-square-metre structure on the corner of Bathurst and Clarence to house his hosiery business, Holeproof Hosiery Co. This company's flagship factory was in Milwaukee but was expanding by leaps and bounds. Holeproof already had a smaller operation in London from 1911 but needed to expand their production capabilities. As Mr. Freschl needed to received his raw materials and shipped his finished goods for this factory by rail, the location was expertly chosen just south of the rail yards. The business at one time employed 500 Londoners.

Although this was a great location, in 1933, the City of London closed the railroad grade crossing road at Clarence which put a dent into some of the logistics of Holeproof. So much so, Holeproof sued for $ 50,000 which during the depression was no small amount of money. This eventually wormed its way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Textile company Kayser-Roth later bought the company and ran it until 1989 when the factory closed. Approximately a year later, Dick Berdan purchased the building for commercial storage and and is now known as City Centre Storage. Mr. Berdan converted the upper floors to accomodate 770 storage units to self-storage units while the main floor houses an antique furniture store.


Abandoned 3D

Abandoned virtual reality landscapes . . . The next best thing ?

As my calendar is now beginning to fill up with pre-Holiday get-tog ethers and my region is now blanketed in snow, I find myself now with limited time / opportunities to explore. As it is difficult enough with the accumulation of white cr@p just to get out of the lane-way, it is currently next to impossible to trip out to get to and access some abandonments in my area.

It is typically at this time of year, I begin reviewing the the UrbEx exploits of others. This, although not as satisfying compared to actually being the one with camera in hand and climbing a fence, still does satiate my urban exploration desires somewhat.

While raking 'teh internets' for UrbEx goodness, I did come across something of interest I wish to share with you . . . Virtual 3D abandonments ( ! ).

The site I stumbled across is '3DRT' which is an electronic store-front for all things electronically rendered. I should think that, in large portion, these pieces of work are intended for use in the electronic gaming industry but I still suggest burning some time there as the site does hold a few things of interest for explorers who, like me, may be temporarily denied an opportunity to get out there.

Check out this fly-through of a 3D model of an industrial construct showcasing their vast inventory of buildings, oil tanks, car carcasses, trains, tubes, cranes, concrete blocks, crates, and barrels.

In addition to this, I found several very beautiful images of abandoned urban scenes. The constructs here are reminiscent to the 'Life After People' television show from the History Channel.


St. Pete's Seminary

St. Peter's Seminary, London, Ontario.

Looking back at a warmer time when I popped around to this beautiful Seminary which is still quite active although I do think that they are operating far from their capacity.

The Seminary was founded by the Right Reverend Michael F. Fallon in 1912 with the present seminary building constructed in the the 1920's and the opening / dedication on September 29th, 1926. To the left is an image of the Seminary's first graduating class in 1912.

The seminary building is designed in the collegiate gothic style and constructed of Credit Valley stone with Tyndall stone decoration. A wing was added to the Seminary in 1957, providing a new auditorium and recreational facilities. The library was also expanded at that time by changing the cloister into a reading room.

The front doors of this structure is just about the most beautiful creation in wood I have ever seen.

This recreational facility added in the late 1950's appears like a time capsule from that era with the garish splash of a 1980's couch standing in stark comparison.

In the same room, is a lovely wood-paneled bar. I can almost imagine students gathered here at the end of the day swigging on soda-pop and singing their fav psalms accompanied by this ancient piano.

I would seriously love to get a guided tour of the absolutely glorious / beautiful Chapel Of St. Thomas Aquinas


Base Edgar 5

I had last visited the old cold-war era radar base at Edgar back in the autumn of 2007 with UrbEx buddy Jack Morningwood. As it had been some time, it was decided to make a return trip to get a sense of the rate of decay and the progress of a$$-hat vandals and other miscreants.

To this end, we hooked up with our veteran UrbEx buddy neX and newbie cereal83, who we will nick-name 'Heat-Score' for the purpose of this post. The new handle for cereal83 is by no means meant as a slight against him, just a temporary moniker which he has to endure for this post only.

After making our way onto the property, we made our way into the recreation centre which hosts the pool, theatre, canteen, gymnasium and bowling alley. Unfortunately, it appeared that the vandals and wall taggers had been rather busy since my last visit. Inside the gymnasium, the once-beautiful hardwood floor was now buckled and lifted up which looked similar to a miniature cordillera.

There was not much difference noted within the pool area from the last visit. However, within the locker rooms, some destructive imbecile went to town on the remaining ceramics. The same in-DUH-viduals were most likely to blame for the wanton ruination in the canteen and movie theatre.

With the installation of additional plywood over the many shattered windows, photography now became somewhat more unenviable with the tenuous amount of natural light now entering a number of spaces within the buildings on the property. I typically default to a longer exposure in lower light conditions rather than using a flash which more often than not washes out colour and detail.

Anywho, some of the objectives today was the sewage treatment plant, the church / community and the school. As the school is a bit too close for comfort to the guard shack, we settled for the other two.

The Church / Community Centre still had most of it's pews still intact and made for some decent shots. Again, some a$$-Clown tagged the wall in this building expressing an atheistical opinion. Thankfully, the ceramic holy water font by the rear door was still intact.

We were skunked for any interior images at the sewer treatment buildings but did enjoy the scenery in the enlisted personnel married quarters or 'lower town' neighbourhood. Many of the buildings here had seen use by SWAT and other tactical police organisations as witnessed by the numerous targets, simunnition, and blown door locks.

As were we reaching our planned time on location, we started making our way out and decided one more stop and photo-shoot was suitable. To this end, we stopped in to see building #3, a two-storey barracks which was used as the 'Oakwood Residence' by the province. It was at this particular building that cereal83 caught the attention of security while taking a panoramic image of the base on top of the roof.

What followed next was several minutes of high-adrenaline cat-and-mouse with the guard and a rapid retreat off the premises without the embarrassment of being detained / questioned / fined by security or the local constabulary. This may very well be the closest that yours truly had come to being charged an UrbEx admission fee to an abandonment.

As with the simple act of getting out of bed in the morning, there exists an even simpler equation of risk to reward. I am quite certain that I will be returning to the abandoned radar base again in the future to photographically record its decay. The risk of being caught uninvited on the property will always exist but with appropriate mitigation and planning, it can be mitigated or avoided. Remember explorers, always have a safety plan and pack a parachute if things go south of cheese.


Aurora Trinity 2

"Trinity" . . . Yep - - Please expect a set of three posts here as well another excellent video from yours truly. This is Post #2 of 3 of a recent rural exploration I took in with our most excellent UrbEx buddy neX who acted as local guide in this neck of the woods near Aurora. For the first post, look HERE.

Following, is a video summary of the Aurora Trinity Session . . . Look for some waggish / witty exchanges between neX and myself in the video - I usually leave my captured video mute, but this was too priceless not to share.


Obtaining a POE at this location was as easy as getting laid at a cougar bar. Greeting us in the garage was this lovely antique night-stand, complete with jar 'o' Vaseline - These jars are indigenous to nightstands and only recently their numbers have been declining due to the introduction of newer lubricant species such as KY Jelly and An*l Lube.

This second house was certainly more grand (and modern) than its neighbouring abandonment adjacent to it to the east. The entrance especially so with its two-storey columns.

The front entry hall was no less grand than its outside entrance. The colours here were a refreshing neutral colour but the stair railing perhaps a bit on the ornate side. It appears that subjects unknown had already liberated the railings ringing the hall on the upper floor. I strongly suggest fall arrest equipment for any explorer who may be exposed to a falling hazard of 3 meters or more.

We now move from the grandiose entry hall to the upstairs washroom. The appalling choice of the coloured ceramics left no doubt in my mind that the former occupants had no capacity or sense for interior decoration. The only saving grace for this house was of course the Epic WIN Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. With Jason (Red), Zack (Black), Billy (Blue), and Trini (Yellow), this once mundane wall became a chamber of heroes.

Someone left a perfectly good looking COLOUR television set in one of the rooms upstairs. I was happy to see that a$$-hat vandals did not find their way into here yet. I was also equally happy that the afore-mentioned miscreants did not find these beautifully-croqueted hangers and unravel them.

Anywho, stay tuned for the third and last post in this our Aurora Trinity Session. I will leave you off with this image of CopySix and exploring buddy neX posing living room of House #2 in the for the cam and being all awesome.


Aurora Trinity 1

"Trinity" . . . Yep - - Please expect a set of three posts here as well another excellent video from yours truly. This is Post #1 of 3 of a recent rural exploration I took in with our most excellent UrbEx buddy neX who acted as local guide in this neck of the woods near Aurora.

This old farmhouse had a very lovely addition to it on the east side (not shown here). Surrounding by residential and commercial development on all sides, this location gave a flavour as to what a working farm looked like here less than a decade ago.

It had appeared that the last time an interior decorator popped around to this place may have been in the late '70's / early '80's. You may call this hideous and want to beat the former owners with a style stick, but I call the shizzle 'retro-licious' !

There is a theme most avian to these two images. One is of a bookshelf in the west living room retro-fitted to house an aviary. The other is a robin, quite dead in the basement . . . or perhaps just asleep / dreaming and pining for the fiords.

Here in the image on the left, my narcissistic side is showing itself in my photographic work. I am also somewhat 'hooked' on this image on the right taken from the front hall . . . (get it - - 'hooked' ! - that was a funny there).

The stairs and arrangement of rooms upstairs were very typical to just about every other farmhouse I had been in dating from this era. The only bit of interest to be had up here was the interior electrical wiring exposed by the removed floor-board (image on right). Unfortunately that image did not really turn out.

I have noted with a casual interest that in many abandonments, I have explored, the previous owners often leave behind toilet plungers and brushes. Although I am rather certain that there is a good reason for this, the answer is presently just beyond my grasp. Also, it was noted that this house was operating with an older version of Windows from which I am sure they had a beautiful rural vista.

This particular barn did not hold much interest for me, that being said in comparison to the wonderful barn neX toured through which will be revealed in our third Aurora Rural-Ex Trinity post.

~Stay tuned kiddies, more to come.
Until next time, Happy + Safe Exploring.