The road through Northern Ontario is long, windy, slow and heart-breakingly bleak at times. My new job has me living between two distant cities, surrounded by reserves, and has me flying to and from small communities transporting the physically and mentally sick. I chose to work up North so I could understand the lifestyle, explore lesser-known parts of Canada and help people in the best way I know how.
My first time driving across Canada, I was intrigued by all the abandoned hotels and fishing lodges throughout Ontario. Having had the chance to explore a few now, they're more depressing than I first realized. Each one represents not just a failed company, but a family business.
I could not believe my eyes when I opened the door to this old burned-out resort. I saw interesting things to photograph almost everywhere. I spent about 20-30 minutes just walking around, looking at what was left behind in the smoke and ashes.
...that's when I heard the squeal of a vehicle's brakes outside.
I peeked out the window, and someone had parked right behind me in a green pick-up truck and was writing down my license plate. I packed my camera bag quickly and opened the door to greet the person in the truck.
"What are you doing here? You know you're trespassing." asked a huge man in a plaid work shirt with a beard and fluorescent orange hunting hat.
"Hey, sorry I was just walking around looking for cool things to photograph. Are you the owner of this place? It's really interesting." I replied.
"No, just a friend. We have to protect this place from people breaking in. We get a lot of vandals and thieves here."
After talking a little while with him about what I do as a hobby, I asked him if he could direct me to the owner so I could approach him and get permission to continue exploring. Getting directions, I left the property shortly after the man did and drove 15km down the highway to the owner's house.
I didn't even have my truck in park yet when a stern looking man walked onto the deck of his house to talk with me. "So I hear you've been stealing." the property owner called out to me as I stepped out of the truck.
"Just stealing photos..." I replied with a grin. I walked to him, and explained what I was doing, showed him a business card with my photos on it and my website.
"It's a good thing you came because we were just about to call the police."
"I had to show my face so you knew who I was... I didn't really think anyone was interested in that place. I never saw any signs and it just looked abandoned."
"Well it's not abandoned." the owner replied rather sharply, after pausing and relaxing his posture a little. "...well I appreciate you coming here. You can go back, but do NOT touch anything."
"You have my word... I'll take only pictures and leave only footprints." I replied gratefully.
After that, he told me a bit more about the property. At one time it was a large operation, with their own hunting and fishing guides, float planes and pilots, restaurant and hotel staff. A fire broke out in the main building and shortly after that they were hit with some heavy vandalism, making recovery nearly impossible.
There's a lot of stories like his up here.
Anyways... here's what you came to see:
Taken from the lookout spot in our town.