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Canadian Urbex
June 3, 2009 5:13 AM   Subscribe

The Vanishing Point: Urban Exploration in Canada

Michael Cook's website documents his trips to the dark, musty and exciting places where most people don't go.

Ontario Generating Station, Niagra Falls
Toronto Power Company Hydroelectric Plant, Niagra Falls
Storm Drains of Toronto
Storm Drains of Hamilton
Monarch Mine, British Columbia
posted by dunkadunc (17 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Looks like some good places to build an apartment!
posted by orme at 5:28 AM on June 3, 2009


Awesome post. Going to take some time to explore the bulk of it.
posted by a3matrix at 5:31 AM on June 3, 2009


I am going to revise my comment from awesome to meh. It is topic:redux, we have covered it in the past with better sites. This particular site is lacking the beef. And, where is the slide show option for photo sets? Clicking each pic and having it open in individual windows is a bit annoying.
They also cover well know spots done previously ie: Bennett School in Millbrook NY.

Still, I love posts like these. So I will still give it a cool rating.
Thanks again for the post.

Check HERE for more cool stuff.
posted by a3matrix at 5:47 AM on June 3, 2009


Very cool. I work with some folks who do confined space stuff. Gonna forward this to them, too.
posted by angiep at 5:51 AM on June 3, 2009


Now that you fired me up on this (again) dunkadunc I am finding new sites.
HERE is one I found that is of particular interest to me given my Saratoga Springs NY location.
And just in time for the summer season. ;-)
posted by a3matrix at 5:55 AM on June 3, 2009


Some neat photos but his prose can be a bit breathless. I appreciated that my old hometown of Burlington was explored though. I think this is the second time this week that Borington was on the blue.
posted by saucysault at 6:30 AM on June 3, 2009


Hey, that's MeFi's own kowalski. Which I found out from checking a previous thread about what lies behind Niagara Falls.
posted by parudox at 6:36 AM on June 3, 2009


BLDGBLOG has an interview with him along with some choice photos.
posted by parudox at 6:43 AM on June 3, 2009


Hey, thanks a lot, parudox! I had no idea he was on Metafilter.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:45 AM on June 3, 2009


Being from Hamilton, I absolutely love this. Thanks.
And some of the pics in that OGS Niagara link look like they're straight out of Myst.
posted by rocket88 at 7:40 AM on June 3, 2009


I am going to revise my comment from awesome to meh.

... then back to awesome, then back to meh ...

I love that people still do this kind of stuff (ie: get out there and explore). Reminds me of being ten years old again. But then, it starts to bug me that it's all so thoroughly mapped and photographed and journalized and websited. I mean, does anyone just go out there anymore, see, feel and do wild stuff, and keep it to themselves (or maybe a small circle of immediate friends)?

Also, I'm concerned I'm going to go one of my favorite industrial ruins one day, delve high and deep, finally reach some rare and hidden chamber ... and there's some asshole taking pictures.

I blame Obama.
posted by philip-random at 8:38 AM on June 3, 2009


It's okay, I actually agree that this isn't best of the web these days. It's a creaky old website that has barely been updated in the past few years, and really needs to be razed to the ground and restarted at 0, which is what I will be doing whenever I end up with the time to do it properly (maybe next year when I need a distraction from thesis writing).

In the meantime, I'd like to point everyone to my colleague's blog, Under Montreal. His site really is best of the web as far as urban underground exploration is concerned.
posted by kowalski at 11:08 AM on June 3, 2009


Since this is local and a bit self-linky (most of the people mentioned are friends or acquaintances) I wouldn't want to FPP this, but here seems a good a place as any to throw some light on something some people in Toronto do interesting things with these locations other than take pictures of them.

From Zoilus, an excellent Toronto blog I've previously linked to:
Zoilus amanuensis Chris Randle ran an interview with the organizers of Toronto fabled surreptitious-music-series Extermination Music Night in Eye weekly last month, but it was much truncated. This weekend, on the occasion of the latest in the EMN series (Sat at midnight; see the gig guide), we thought we'd run the full shebang. (Man, that's the dirtiest word.)

Chris: What's the process for scouting out new locations? I know some of them are already used by skaters or rave kids...do you only use those established venues, or go looking for new ones?

Matt: We try to go and look for new ones. Dan does a lot of driving around looking at places. The thing is, most of the places that we've used are documented on the [urban] infiltration sites and stuff, just because they end up being the most reliable in a lot of ways.

Dan: Yeah. The last one I found out about from an urban exploration photoblog. A couple of friends had told us about the second one in the Buns Master factory. Our friend Ian had gone to a rave there a year previous or something. But yeah, mostly we'll find something on the internet and go check it out.
Extermination Music Night is a series of illegal art parties that has been happening in Toronto since 2005 (see bottom sidebar).

From that last link (from last year):
Toronto is lousy with music festivals, but for three years now our city has also hosted a clandestine cult: Extermination Music Night. Art-nerd acolytes have followed the irregularly scheduled, mobile concert series into abandoned factories and decaying office buildings, underneath Lansdowne Bridge and towards the lake’s edge — most recently, this past Saturday night (Aug. 16) under the old Eastern Ave. bridge at the Don Valley Parkway.

Its programming varies (free jazz, conceptual noise, Pat Benatar dance routines), though its ethos does not: site-specific shows that eliminate all “mediating things” between space and event, trespassing both legal boundaries and the bureaucracy that normally surrounds presentation of rock bands or art installations
Pictures of the event in general over the years 1 2 (3--from the Facebook group)


The most recent one was this past Saturday. Here's a blog post with an 8-minute video and a lot of nice pictures.

More great pictures of that location.

It got shut down just as the first band was starting, but the art was up for two hours before that.

EYE article about it going back underground.


This is an articulate report from a reluctant participant to one of last summer's events. This was at one last summer which got shut down by police almost as soon as it started, with everyone getting kicked out.

I was at that one. Like this blogger, I took my time leaving. I was on the fifth or sixth floor of the building with the girl I was seeing then and descended in no hurry. At around the fourth or third floor we stopped and pushed the heavy metal door from the stairwell open into this. Totally empty; but filled with one unbelievably beautiful reverberating voice from the very far end of the open floor (it was darker than the picture, almost pitch black). We thought it was some installation that had been left behind as everyone fled from the cops, but then we heard the echoing footsteps and the voice turning around and coming back toward us, and then I saw his profile in the dim light from the windows and realized it was Owen Pallett gliding through the columns, singing some kind of Latin choral work with full voice.

(We stood and listened and he eventually strolled up to us, still singing, and then stopped and asked us if we wanted to try singing. “Great acoustics,” he said.)

After that I ran around collecting extension cords for the organizers while the cops filled the lower floors. I was on the tenth floor, the top, when about ten of them came up the stairwell w/ flashlights and riot shields telling me to “Put your hands in the air! Do you speak English! Do you speak English!”

So uh, this is a fun way to use these kinds of spaces.
posted by skwt at 11:42 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


creaky or not, it's best of the web as far as i'm concerned. i love it when stuff like this gets posted, so thanks!
posted by the painkiller at 11:42 AM on June 3, 2009


Wow, those pics really bring back memories of the years I spent as a CHUD.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:22 PM on June 3, 2009


Bud? Is that you?
posted by item at 5:21 PM on June 3, 2009


Don't forget the excellent Infiltration.org. The site's primary author and owner, Ninjalicious, passed away a few years ago after a battle with cancer. I think his widow keeps the site up. Shortly after he died she published the book he was working on.
posted by RockCorpse at 5:15 AM on June 4, 2009


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