Recently my partner and I were out visiting my family and part of my showing him around their small town was exploring some of the abandoned infrastructure along the main waterway there. The town is very old and borders a major river, in the past there were plenty of mills and factories along the water which served as the main way of transporting goods/supplies. Nowadays these enormous stone mills and factories are long out of operation and many have been left to decay.
This was a huge three story factory building, full of shattered glass and peeling lead paint. I’ve decided not to share the location or name of the property because I really don’t want to be blamed if someone goes there and gets hurt (and it’s not really “legal” to explore spots like this, sorry mom!). Risking our well-being is one thing though, and I took a ton of photos on my phone to share because the space was really incredible and fascinating! I didn’t bring my either of real cameras with me so please bear with the semi-ok phone quality.
The first floor was gutted and left open, and probably the most safe of the the entire structure. Some of the rubble had been heaped up under plastic tarps as though workers had just given up and moved on. The higher floors were flooded in places and had been vandalized, the very top floor was especially eerie and seemed more unsafe so we didn’t really explore it as thoroughly as the others.
I loved this rotting office area, the layers of paint peeking out through the decay and the paneled old fashioned windows. We also found a very old solid metal safe tucked in a weird corner cupboard on a lower floor, it was pitch black in that space so we had to use our phones to try and illuminate it. Inside of the safe was a pile of burnt fabric and papers, deliriously.
It’s amazing to see these sorts of places before they’re torn down and replaced with condos or parking garages. These old buildings are part of the history of Canada, of a time when the waterways played a much more important role in the economy of smaller communities. As we’ve progressed and changed the way we move goods around the nation these businesses have moved on or shuttered entirely, and some have left behind the bones of their previous lives.