Sally Ann Shelter

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was afforded precious little time in between Easter gorgings to allow me to get any serious explorations undertaken in London.

I was, however, able to escape my gastronomic chains to be able to get downtown to the former Salvation Army Men's Mission. The Sally Ann operated a 100-bed temporary shelter, thrift store, and provided other social services at this location since being built in 1952. The Salvation Army latter sold the property in 2003 and have since moved to their new digs at the corner of Bathurst and Wellington Streets.

Here is a short video of the exploration . . .

Since coming onto the 'UrbEx' market in 2003, paint peel production (P3) has kicked it into high gear. Everywhere within this 3-story brick structure one may view absolutely exquisite peelers in a rainbow of tacky institutional hues . . . Lets start in the stairwells ->

Similarly, a panorama of peelers may be found in the passageways. Melt water, finding its way into the the structure had formed a frictionless sheet of ice. Were it not for the peelers on the floors, yours truly may well have gone a$$ over tea-kettle . . . . (whatever that means - ? )

This propensity for peelers did not confine itself to the perimeters of the above-mentioned stairwells and hallways. Indeed, they may also be found within the group dormitories. ! ! TEST ! ! - What colour do you think this dormitory was before some kind-hearted soul chose a more neutral (read: "natural") hue ? ?

Time for an intra-post image randomness . . .
What does Clark Gable and a roof-access ladder have in common - - not much I think BUT both of these things may be found in this hostel.

Attached to the shelter is a two-story storage / warehouse deal. As I entered the large open space upstairs, I took notice of a large cat checking out my exploratory progress from the other side of a window. I also noticed the classic 'is it a wagon wheel or a chandelier' ceiling fixture. What I did not notice was the gang of vicious attack-pigeons laying in wait for me . . .

At the time of my exploration, the toilet bowls were surprisingly devoid of any hobo-dumplings. As I was denied my 'di rigeur' money-$hot, I had to settle for a urinal and weird-a$$ basin stand.

Until next time, Happy & Safe Exploring . . .


Apartment Demo

Hope everyone had a pleasant holiday. I spent the Easter weekend in London with relatives. In between servings of ham, turkey and other gastronomic goodness, I managed to slip away for a quick exploration of an apartment building being demolished on Kipp's Lane in London's north-east, not far where I did some growing up.

Buildings under demolition are an inherently dangerous place and I am very hesitant to venture in as the entire affair becomes structurally unsound with the removal of supporting walls.

This being said, these types of 'in-process demolishments' do offer the urban explorer a glimpse of what it may be like for a war correspondent on assignment or what it may feel like for a Palestinian living in the West Bank.

It may also provide a window into the lives of the denizens who had, until recently, called this place their home. Unfortunately, any personal effects or other detritus produced by human occupation had been all cleared from the building and was piled in a large heap on the east side of the structure leaving the rooms without any flavour.

This area of town was decidedly bad-a$$ back in the day when I was growing up here. As a result, I took extra precaution when poking around half expecting to find a crack party in progress . . . all I found was an abandoned hobo carriage.



Not necessarily a post about 'Urban Exploration' per se, but certainly one close to the UrbEx spirit of going boldly forth and exploring your surroundings.

Recently, I had occasion to pick a parcel up at a business located in a nondescript building located within a warren of other nondescript buildings in a light industrial plaza in North York. Making a wrong turn into a lane way led me around to the back of a large warehouse where a loading door was open letting the warm sun in. Hoping to obtain directions, I walked in looking for a shipper or receiver. Unfortunately, they must have all been squirreled away in a hidden lunchroom providing me an opportunity to 'look' for someone in the racks and aisles.

One of the first things I noticed was wooden office furniture . . . a LOT of wooden office furniture - all in fairly decent condition. Perhaps I was in some surplus office equipment warehouse.

Confirming this suspicion, I happened upon several aisles of newer desk and boardroom chairs.

About here, things went a bit strange.
As I continued 'looking for someone' to provide me directions, I came across several models . . . (of the Alps / Rockies / ? )

Stranger still, an odd model showing underground utilities of an city block. One business identified in this model was 'People's Credit Jewelers', which I suspect has been out of business for some time.

On the way out, I also took note of some very retro-looking laboratory equipment whose function I can only guess. Close to this was something I did recognise - an old sign from the Toronto Science Centre. This sign provided directions to disorientated visitors on Level 'D' and since became out of date after the new additions.

I never did find anyone for directions but did certainly enjoy an impromptu tour of a strange warehouse. I guess that if there is a lesson here, always look lost and carry a camera.

~ Happy & Safe Exploring !


Dunlop Arena

The days appear to be numbered for a historic arena here in Barrie. The Barrie Arena, also known as the Dunlop Arena, was constructed in 1932 and served as the main hockey venue until 1995 when the Molson Center was built. The aging Arena did go on to serve as a municipal recreational facility until early 2008 when the new Holly Recreation Centre opened. The Arena has a date with a wrecking ball this summer to make way for a new 12-million dollar Fire Hall to replace the aging Station No. 1 on Vespra Street.

The building of the Dunlop Arena was funded in large part by William Wright, the founder of today's Globe & Mail. The arena hosted the Barrie Flyers of the Ontario Hockey League, and also briefly hosted the Barrie Colts while the Barrie Molson Centre was under construction.

The Barrie Kennel and Obedience Club held its first championship show at the arena in June of 1947. The original structure was expanded in the 1950s, when Barrie Flyers owner Hap Emms required a larger facility to accommodate more spectators for the popular OHL team.

The arena has a 190 foot by 85 foot ice surface, a food concession stand and 2,500 uncomfortable wooden seats. It also contains a lot of fond memories - not just hockey. Residents knew when the Garden Brothers circus was in town when they saw an elephant parked at the Dunlop Arena lot.