Urban Exploration Friends

Urban Exploration just is not about the locations we visit but also about the friends and acquaintances we make along the way.

This page holds links to the people and communities we hold in high regard.

Urban Exploration Kitchener / Waterloo

UEKW is a Urban Exploration group based in the Kitchener / Waterloo area in Ontario and home to our good friend Crossfire, and is a Midnight Exploration Crew Canada (MECCA) site This group also hosts a great forum (link accesible from this site). Our good friends Dark Shadow, Frost, Capone, journeylady, Simmoril, and Big In Japan are oftern found lurking on this forum.

Urban Exploration Resources

Urban Exploration Resource offers articles, photo galleries, stories, and an active forum for the Urban Exploration and Infiltration Community.


The website and zine that started it all. It features a forum (uer mirror), webring, dictionary, and many pointers. The founder Ninjalicious, passed away in August of 2005, was a great loss to the community.

UE WebRing

This ring contains sites focussing on the art of urban exploration: touring storm drains, abandoned buildings, rooftops, transit tunnels, college steam tunnels and other off-limits locations.

Ontario Abandoned Places

This is most definitely Ontario's Largest Ghost Town / Abandonment Webpage. Recent new facelift. This on-line resource provides photographs, history and stories of old towns in Ontario and is maintained by a friend located in the frozen wastelands of northern Ontario.


My very excellent friends Air33 and Jannx share some of their absolutely beautiful and engaging urban exploration photography on this site. I have explored with these two before and have been looking at their flickr images for some time.

Down the Rabbit Hole

A collection of thoughts in the happy, free and single life of our very good friend and fellow explorer JuicyFruitKisses.

In The Zone Magazine & Zone 3 Photography

Local fellow UrbEx couple I've been shooting with. Gazoo and Kimeleon have an E-zine edfinitely worth checking out which features industrial pin-ups among other goodies.

Dark Playgrounds

This site is the cyberspace home of our good friend and fellow explorer Axle.

Abandoned Echoes

This site of a kewl person and our good friend faded_x. Her interests includ urban exploration, photography, graphic art, writing, music, tattoos, cemeteries.

Urban Exploration London

UEL is a Urban Exploration group based in London, Ontario. They photograph, document and explore abandoned structures in and around the London area.

Freebase Ideal

Freebase Ideal is a Urban Exploration group based in London, Ontario. r00bix, CkY, Theo, and Pigeon, frustrated by the infrequent updates provided by UEL, decided to form 'Freebase Ideal' in early 2004. Great website with decidedly rural location leanings.

Fobidden Places

The site of a Belgium couple. One of the best European sites I know with thousands of photographs from urban explorations performed in Belgium, France, Spain, Germany Netherlands and Australia. ( Slyv rocks ! )

Urbex Forum

A popular European Urban and Rural Exploration community. Our friend y0ze ( Urbex NL )from the Netherlands is a founder.

Abandoned Dreams

Great Blog put together by our buddy PunkUE.


Base Edgar 2

Because the Edgar Adult Occupational Centre is too large for one visit

For more background information on this location, please see Base Edgar 1

This Urban Exploration Mission's objective was to explore the gargantuan recreation centre.

It is currently unknown how much of the recreation centre existed before the Province purchased the property from DND. It is assumed that the centre had been modified extensively to suit the requirements of the mentally-handicapped in the programme of learning life skills here.

JuicyFruitKisses, LostInTheWoods and I found ourselves at Base Edgar once again.

Being the first visit for LostInTheWoods, we take him on a tour of the massive Food Services Building. This building held a central industrial-sized kitchen and two cafeteria wings.

We moved quickly into new territory with a brief visit to the Infirmary and the Administration Building.

The Infirmary hosted personnel from the Air Service, and latter Mental Health patients who had non-life threatening illness. The more serious cases are thought to have been sent for treatment in Barrie or Orillia.

The Administration building was badly damaged by Police SWAT forced-entry training exercises with most door locks being blown off. There was also indications that A$$Hole vandals had spent some time in the building as well.

The highlight of the visit was of course the recreation

The pool, with a deep end of 12’, was approximately 50’ by 30’ and offered a viewing gallery accessible by stairs. The pool appeared to be in relatively good shape.

The centre contains a two-lane bowling alley with (I was informed by LostInTheWoods) a classic Brunswick five pin, strung, lever trip design. A meter located by LostInTheWoods indicated that several thousand games had been played in these lanes.

The once-beautiful wood floor of the full gymnasium was buckled and damaged by water and exposure to temperature as the heat had been off for some time. The Gym was approaching 100’ long by 50’ wide and was equipped with a partition.

The 80 seat theatre was approximately 25’ by 40’ with a raised stage. The design did not appear to offer the best view to those seated in the back rows as the floor was level.

The canteen offered patrons a large seating area around a counter (with fixed stools) and cafeteria-style benches. This area (approximately 20’ by 40’) was subdivided by
an enclosed smoking area.

We are always looking for feed back -
send a message to: CopySix@gmail.com


Muskoka Regional Centre

Steeped in One Hundred Years of History, the former Muskoka 'Cottage' Sanatorium lays sprawled across several acres of prime lakefront property like a sleeping Giant.

A rich and lengthy history characterizes the Muskoka Centre, situated several miles north of Gravenhurst:

Sir William Gage, was a very wealthy Toronto philanthropist who offered the Toronto city council $25,000 to start building a tuberculosis sanatorium in 1894, but no action was taken.

The next year, Gage called a meeting a the National Club in Toronto to discuss his idea, and a committee agreed to "take steps leading towards the organization of a Sanatorium for Consumptives". While travelling across Canada to find a suitable site for the sanatorium, and visiting institutions in Europe and the United States, Gage realized that it was time to establish a more definite administrative organization. On April 23, 1896, by a special Act of the Dominion Parliament, the National Sanatorium Association was born.

Kamloops, in British Columbia, was nearly chosen as the site for the first sanatorium. Sir William van Horne, President of the Canadian Pacific Railway at the time offered free transportation for tuberculosis patients from any part of Canada if the sanatorium were built in Kamloops - quite an incentive to locate the facility there.

However, the town of Gravenhurst in Ontario, offered $10,000 towards the building if a sanatorium were built in or near the town.

A suitable site was soon found on the shores of Lake Muskoka near Gravenhurst, and the Muskoka Cottage Hospital was costructed. Additional private funds came from Mr. Gage ($25,000), Mr. Hart A. Massey ($25,000), and Mr. William Christie ($10,000). Canada’s first sanatorium was officially opened in 1897. (How these gentlement made their money: Mr. Gage - Publishing; Mr. Massey - think tractors; and Mr. Christie - I hear he makes good cookies)

Construction in 1897 of the Muskoka Cottage Sanatorium, started with a 35-bed tuberculosis hospital - the first of its kind in Canada. It was not uncommon to have patients from the far southern U.S. States travel to this facilty for treatment.

Major expansions to the Sanatorium took place in the 1920’s at which time the facility could house 444 patients - a sizeable institution at the time. Additional buildings such as surgical facilities, a laboratory, several service buildings and private dwellings for the resident professionals were also completed shortly after.

As more modern treatment and prevention of tuberculosis became more prevalent, therequirements for traditional isolation sanatoriums lessened. The Muskoka hospital experienced decreased occupancy during the late 1940’s and throughout the 1950’s. Meanwhile, a counterbalancing phenomenon in the field of mental retardation began demanding increased care and treatment space.

In 1960, the 62-acre site, on a rocky peninsula jutting out into Lake Muskoka and the existing structures, were acquired by the Ontario Department of Health as an extension of the Ontario Hospital School at Orillia which came to be known as Huronia Regional Centre.
In 1973, the facility, now known as Muskoka Regional Centre administered to 305 female patients between the ages of 16 to 80 years with the total staff of about 300. There were also several male adolescent resents. Approximately 275 of these residents occupied the large Gage complex, originally constructed in 1922, with the remainder housed in the Barbara Heyden Residence, constructed in 1936.

By 1978, a plan of de-institutionalization was placed on the political agenda and had been carried forward by each political party while in office.
The Muskoka Centre was finally closed in 1994. Some buildings still do witness use by the Ontario Provincial Police for SWAT tactical forced entry training as well as 'K-9' Unit training.

UrbEx Barrie has hosted and attended a few meets at 'the San' and have left only footprints to keep this beautiful location 'pristine' in its delicious decay.


Oxford Mental Health Centre

The Oxford Regional Centre, Oxford Mental Health Centre, or Ontario Hospital - Woodstock operated from 1906 to 1996.

The Oxford Regional Centre was a facility that housed, assessed, and treated developmentally disabled individuals. Over the course of its history, it served as a facility for epileptics, as a treatment centre for tuberculosis, and as a facility for the developmentally disabled. The facility also served as an audio-visual repository for other developmentally disabled facilities in Ontario.

The Oxford Regional Centre began it's administrative history in Gravenhurst, Ontario in 1906 as the Hospital for Epileptics. In 1919 it was renamed the Ontario Hospital, Woodstock.

The epileptic unit was closed in 1967 and in the following year the facility changed its name to the Oxford Mental Health Centre. In April 1973, the Health Centre became exclusively a facility for the mentally retarded and in the following year was renamed the Oxford Regional Centre.

The centre was originally administered through the Department of the Provincial Secretary. It was transferred to the Department of Health in 1931. Following 1972, it was administered through the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

The facility typically housed about 700 residents in its heyday. Residents living in the Woodstock shopped at a store filled with a variety of crafts and other articles manufactured by the patients.
The was closed in 1996 and sat abandoned until 2003 when the developer started to tear down the buildings. The last building was torn down in late 2004 for condos.

The developer did save one building - the old steam power plant which now serves as a sales office.


Going Postal

The other month witnessed another successful mission - this time to the abandoned Post Office on Collier Street in beautiful downtown Barrie. We were able to get to this location before the hoarding went up as part of the Scotia Bank renovations.

The mission was joined by UrbEx Barrie's new favourite explorer chicks, faded_x, and OneDeadHero. A new explorer, LostintheWoods. Mr. Lost conducted himself most admirably. Much frivolity ensued with JuicyFruitKisses hamming-it-up for my camera.

The location proved somewhat challenging due to high road and pedestrian traffiic. Another challenge presented itself to our merry band inside - hobo-faeces (everywhere!). This building showed evidence of significant use by the unfortunate Barrie homeless.

Future Plans:

The Scotiabank announced on November 17, 2005 that it will redevelop the old post office site, at Collier and Owen streets. The new 22,000-square-foot, two-storey centre will offer a complete range of banking and financial services, as the bank consolidates Dunlop and Allandale branches and its commercial and investment services. Rezoning is currently underway to allow re-development to 'C1 / C2'.

Across the street where the remnants of the once beautiful Barrie Opera House now sits is the subject of another $ 6.8 million project. Parallax Investments intends to develop a three-storey office building attached to a five-storey parking garage. Annother major financial tenant is expected to be part of the new professional / financial commercial plan.

Some Notes on the proud history of postal service in Barrie:

The original Post Office was built in 1884 as was located on Dunlop Street at the present day Memorial Square. During the demolition of this beautiful structure in the early 1970's (?), a time capsule was discovered. The documents discovered was reprinted by by the Simcoe County Historical Association in 1979 and is titled "Historical Sketch of the Town of Barrie".

he document was prepared by the mayor at the time for the occasion of Laying the Memorial Stone of the new Post Office, Customs House and Post Office Inspector's offices, by Hon. Sir Hector Langevin, Minister of Public Works, Dominion of Canada, on Wednesday October 8th, 1884.

The Post Office moved to the new location sometime in the mid-1950's at 44 Collier Street. Due to a variety of issues, the office was moved again sometime in 2003 to its present location at the old 'Hasty-Mart' on 150 Collier Street. Happy & Safe Exploring to All.


The Abandoned Farmhouse

It is always interesting exploring an abandoned farm. From the forgotten rusting tools and the structural decay to the wild growth of untamed plant life. In reviewing the images we take and observation of effects left by the former occupants, it is difficult not to imagine a simpler, richer way of life lost.

It is generally believed that the transition in Ontario between pioneer or traditional farming and the modern 20th century farming occurred between 1900 to 1950. After this point in time, farming became highly mechanized and agriculture products more specialized. This point in time also marks a dramatic movement of rural populations to the cities. The number of farms in Ontario had dropped from almost 13% in a ten-year period from 1991 to 2001. What must also be considered is that the size of the average farm had also increased, hinting at a move from family-orientated operations to a big-business approach.

Ontario's agri-food sector is the largest and the most diversified in Canada, marketing more than 200 agricultural commodities with an estimated on-farm production value of nearly $8.47 billion in 2002. Food and beverage processing industry is the second largest manufacturing sector in Ontario and contributed $9.5 Billion towards the GDP in 2001; during the first nine months of 2002, their contribution to GDP rose by 5%.

There are
approximately 97,000 operators of the 67,500 census farms in the province, 95,000 employees in the food, beverage and tobacco processing sector, 275,000 jobs in the foodservice industry and 160,000 jobs in food retailing. Given these strong numbers, it is somewhat alarming that the sector receives only 0.7% of the entire provincial budget. This chronic underfunding has led to many problems in other areas of agriculture.