Aberfoyle Antique Market & Abandoned Prison Road Trip

victorian skull taxidermy cabinet of curiousities cabinet of curiousities dundas ontario aberfoyle antique market ontario

Dead things, old things, abandoned things- Oh My! This summer road trip was packed with all the things I like best and I can’t wait to share some of the photos of the day with you. This is more of a personal post than a Gloomth one so feel free to ignore it if you’re only here for photoshoots and design updates. 🙂

*Just click the images in the gallery below to see them in full, there are so many great photos from this day it seemed silly to cut them down to 5-6 favorites!*

The first stop (after loading up on a lot of iced coffee) was the Aberfoyle Antique Market! Which is an absolutely overwhelming and enormous flea market with antique vendors, vintage resellers, and everything in between- Absolute Heaven for Taeden in other words.

The market is about an hour from Toronto in a gorgeous rural spot near Guelph, Ontario. I was a giddy thing snapping photos and making embarrassing excited-noises about all the antiques and vintage. I love objects with a story, or items that remind me of the past so I’ve always been pretty excited by flea markets and vintage shopping.

One of the most exciting vendors was the Cabinet of Curiousities shop. You can bet there’s going to be a follow up blog about road tripping to their actual store in Dundas, Ontario soon. I fell in love with their eerie collection! Antique medical devices, false teeth, this incredible Victorian real human skull sculpture. Honestly I could have lived in their booth.

By the end of the day I’d purchased a mid century toy bunny (can you spot him in the first gallery of photos?) and two crucifixes, and resisted many temptations!

creepy baby head

After the market and a break for our overwhelmed eyes we went out to the site of an abandoned prison called the Ontario Reformatory and Ontario Corrections Center. It ceased operations in 2002 entirely and now sits abandoned behind the prison fences. The space has been designated a historical site and is protected by the province but is not currently in use near as we could tell. All the windows are boarded up and shuttered and the parking lots are being slowly devoured by weeds and small trees.

It’s a short hike in from the street past a gorgeous pond and fields, beautiful forests and banks of green all around.

Originally built in 1910 the space was used for a rehabilitation and sustainable reformation prison. All of the original buildings still stand and the surrounding farmland is lush and serene.

“From the beginning the goal of the institution was a holistic approach to prison reform: “The whole of a man’s stay in the Reformatory, from the day that he first enters, is orientated towards the time when he will be standing on his own two feet, shouldering the responsibilities and sharing the privileges of a free man in a free society.”(First Public Exhibition at Ontario Reformatory, Guelph).

The buildings themselves are situated behind high fences and very hard to access, which is probably why they haven’t been coated in graffiti. I’m sure their rural location helps with that as well. We encountered one security guard while exploring and taking photos, I’m a little sorry I didn’t stop him to ask questions about the area since he’d be more of an expert than my google searches surely. He did warn us that snakes like to bask on the pavement around the buildings though. After taking a bunch of photos we departed the area and meandered our way back to the big city.

It was so fascinating exploring both of these spots and I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of a summer road trip.



More on the reformatory:


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