Reflections... The Linseed Oil Factory

Well it was time for some members of the group of 7 to get another urbex fix to satisfy their cravings and hopefully carry them over the winter. We haven’t been able to enter any buildings since Detroit, as Hamilton was a bust, so to be honest I was starting to get the shakes from being in withdrawal. As you may or may not know, I had the privilege of working downtown Toronto for 2 years, and got to ride the GO train into work everyday. The first few weeks were great, meeting new people, getting lots of reading done, even a little homework from time to time! But after awhile the annoying clickety clack of the rails, and the rocking back and forth starts to wear you down. Believe or not, but one of my good seat mates has been doing it for 30 years! I soon got tired of this routine and began my endless hour and ten minute constant stares out the window in both directions, looking for new things to keep me entertained. I luckily found this graffiti laden building in the junction area of Toronto fairly close to Union Station. I spotted it way before I was ever into photography, but yet I was intrigued by it and almost wanted to pay it a visit to see its story.

It stood out like a sore thumb, in a neighbour hood of houses that can’t be more than 5 years old, and beside this beautiful park with a soccer field and an off leash dog area. Yet, I got more and more attracted to this building every time we passed it. One day on the GO train, it would seem as if fate was in my corner, I was reading a photo magazine, when a guy in the quad next to me noticed it and started a conversation. Turns out he is huge into photography, and he even introduced me to this strange concept of going into abandoned buildings just to take pictures! Brian is his name, and he has become a great mentor to me as he has been on pretty near every photo shoot I have done to date. We started chatting nearly everyday on the train, and I think I mentioned how I want to get into the Linseed building nearly everyday. I think after about a year he was getting pretty tired of it!
After we finally got some free time as a group, I arranged for a visit to this building so that we could see what it was all about. Let me tell you, this did not dissapoint at all! I think it will carry my urbex high over for a long time! A building that is 101 years old, is something different in its own right, the architecture, the materials used to build it, and the surroundings were all things that had to be taken in and experienced. To me, it was just nice to visit a part of Toronto history. This building was key to the development of the Junction, as it was one of the first buildings there. Linseed Oil was a key commodity back in the early 1900’s before oil and polymers were developed. Linseed was used in paints, varnishes, and was a weather proofer for canvas. It was truly a unique ingredient, that now is virtually unobtainable now a days.
The building represented some closure for me though. As I no longer take the train to work, except for the odd day here and there. I have lost my ‘seat’ on the train, but still hold onto some great friendships developed over those two years, but this building was the last thing I was holding onto from the GO train that I wanted to derive some benefit from before I moved on. It was a glorious building in side, and I’m so happy I was able to go there with the guys and experience it!

The above photos are my favorites from that day, but I will post some additional photo’s over on my facebook page so you can experience the whole building! You can check them out here and make sure to click the ‘Like’ button at the top of the page to keep up to date!

Hamilton or Bust.... or Bust

Well back near the end of October our photo group, which I have started to call the modern day group of 7!, took a day trip down to Hamilton to try and do the Urbex thing. Urbex is the fancy dancy name for urban exploration which all the cool kids are using these days. There was three buildings we had in mind to enter that day. First the old abandoned Firestone factory… bust. This building looked great on the Internet, until we showed up and realized the City of Hamilton took it over and is now the HQ for their Public Works department. Next was this building called the Lister block… bust number 2! Again this building looked amazing on the Internet, an entire city block that was abandoned. I guess this building was one of the first indoor shopping malls in Canada and was around for years. When we showed up, it was freshly renovated and occupied by stores! Last on the building tour list was the Royal Connaught Hotel… bust number 3! Again another beauty of a building that we seen on the net, but in the midst of renovations when we showed up! Now this is where I get bittersweet. As a photographer and Urbex’er I really wanted to get into these buildings! But on the other hand, as a proud Canadian, it is nice to see that we are converting these buildings and renovating them so we can continue to enjoy them in the future. On our states trip, we didn’t see much of that at all! As Michael Scott would say, why do they even make bittersweet chocolate, who likes that? Why not just have the sweet! Well we can’t always have the sweet, but it was a great trip, and I always learn something new when I’m with those guys. I took a ton of shots, but I am going to post them over on my facebook page for you to enjoy there! Check out my facebook page here and make sure to click the ‘like’ button at the top!