Photo Hunt: Machine(s)

Bear with me..

Yesterday, I was harping on about this monstrosity which is in the final stages of completion. It is a refurbishment of the Congress Centre/Westin Hotel complex in the downtown core. What isn’t conveyed in the second photo is the size of the building compared to the surrounding landscape. In fact, it looms over the road beneath it and the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. How and why city council permitted this hideously grotesque building to be built at all is beyond me. I don’t “get” fad for “squashed can” architecture. I can SORT of see when you have the ability to see them at a reasonable distance, but not looming over you, dwarfing the viewer. Personally, I think this style of architecture looks like an explosion in a model airplane factory.

I feel claustrophobic in the vicinity of this thing. AND… prior to refurbishing the building the existing Congress Centre was underused, partly because parking is a real problem in the area. It stands beside a main commuter route which was often at a standstill at rush hour because tour buses loading and unloading had no adequate stopping area so they blocked the right-hand lane. From what I have been able to determine, this HUGE problem has not been addressed at all.

Historically, the area which is Colonel By Drive, south of Rideau and Wellington was the terminus of the Grand Trunk Railway line, at Ottawa’s Union Station (The station still stands, off limits to the general public and used only for government conferences…. once every few years) When they built the new Ottawa railway station further from the city centre, the disused tracks were removed, and the entire area backing onto Rideau Street was stripped of the Railway-related buildings, as well as the old main Post Office building. The old railway beds along the Rideau Canal were replaced with a driveway and parkland matching those along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway on the other side of the Canal. In the 1970s, the land was slated for development and the Rideau Centre was built. As was predicted by those who opposed the redesign of the area, traffic became a nightmare, with the routing of 18-wheelers through the downtown core all day long in a convoluted route. Every new development to the area, from the US Embassy on Sussex Drive to the demolishing of the Daly Building (a building of architectural importance — replaced by condominiums) to the Congress Centre refurbishment has made travelling through the downtown core difficult and unappealing.

So, basically, the city has a billion-dollar monstrosity which will probably be a barely-used white elephant which will continue to cause traffic problems and make the downtown core even less attractive and less human-friendly.

So… here is the “Machine” part of my posting.


The shell

The site back in the 1920s (red rectangle)

Photohunt: School

An abandoned schoolhouse on the road from Merrickville to Smiths Falls.


School outhouse

Woodshed door handle


We went out for a drive, today, but the weather and the light, and the route wasn’t exactly forthcoming on interesting ruins or the light to photograph them in. Hopefully, the next few weeks will bring about better weather and better lighting situations. Hopefully, too, I will have the time to get out and about to do some photographing. We should be moving in the next month or so, as soon as we get the go-ahead to move into the new house.

In the meantime, my hankering for ruins must be fulfilled vicariously…

I came across a posting about drawings of a post-apocalyptic Tokyo and other places, the work of Motoda Hisaharu, a Japanese artist. His work is stunning.

“Indication-National Stadium4 (Bird's Nest)”

“Indication-Tokyo University 2”

The Japanese seem to have it all where large-scale abandonments are concerned. For such a small country, there are a lot of very large buildings and complexes which have been simply left empty. They also don’t seem to have suffered quite as badly from vandalism as buildings elsewhere would have. Is it the general law-abiding nature of the Japanese? The remoteness of many of the locations? Perhaps it is  simply that the litigious nature of North Americans that generally makes such sites out-of-bounds, here.

Read the rest of this entry »


The word haikyo is Japanese for “ruin”.

Here are a few…

A brain in a jar...

…in an abandoned doctor’s lab

A mammoth ride...

…in Niigata Russian Village… Japan

Read the rest of this entry »

More abandonment

Boker mountain resort, Cambodia

Ghost island of Hashima, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan

Read the rest of this entry »

Surprise photo sighting…

Last night, I took my mother out to dinner at the Marlborough Pub and Eatery, in North Gower.

As we followed the waitress into the dining room, I passed a series of photos on the wall over the bus area. I was rather surprised to see a photo which looked rather familiar. Actually, it wasn;t the photo but the subject that looked familiar.

One of my favorite old abandoned buildings was the subject. I was taken aback because it looked so like one of my own photos of it. If it wasn;t taken the same day, it was taken within a day or so of one I took!…. and from almost exactly the same angle!

It really isn’t surprising, though, that the building might have been shot by someone else in the area. It is only a couple of miles from North Gower.

The White House

The White House

Wall advertisements

A while ago, I started a blog about vanished places in Ottawa (so far only two postings but more are in the works!). After photographing the wall advertisment in Westboro for my PhotoHunter submission last week, I decided to branch out and ad one for wall advertising in the area. Unfortunately, I THINK is may not be worth adding a whole blog as these bits of the past are fast disappearing in Ottawa.

As a matter of fact, I went down to photograph one which was revealed after a fire destroyed a well-known Ottawa landmark, the Tommy and Lefebvre store on Bank Street in the Spring. I saw a photo that someone else had taken, on Flickr. However, they are gone already!

I did manage to get one on Saturday afternoon:

G.A. Snider ~ Photographer, circa 1890

G.A. Snider ~ Photographer, circa 1890

I don’t know much about G.A. Snider. There are a number of fonds at the National Archives of Canada which contain examples of his work. His shop was at 134 Bank Street and then at 123. He lived, I believe, on Rideau Terrace, in New Edinburgh. The rest of the photos can be seen here.

and one this morning.

The former Imperial Theatre amid Bank Street construction

The former Imperial Theatre amid Bank Street construction

The Imperial Theatre, circa 19

The Imperial Theatre, circa 1914

The Imperial Theatre was built in 1914. It closed in 1955 and was eventually reopened as Barrymore’s, a music venue.

Original Imperial Theatre facade with painted wall sign.

Original Imperial Theatre facade with painted wall sign. (circa 1937)

In case you are interested, the theatre was showing “Forty Naughty Girls” with Zazu Pitts (1937) and “Men Are not Gods” with Miriam Hopkins, Gertrude Lawrence, and Rex Harrison (1936).

Interestingly, The Imperial and other Ottawa theatres appear to have ignored the “Lord’s Day Act” as late as 1950 and incurred the wrath of the chairman of the Motion Picture Censorship and Theatres Inspection Branch. He wrote the Ottawa theatre owners:

“the theatres in your city have been used [on Sundays] more than any others in Ontario and in most cases you have ignored our arrangement with the Lord’s Day Alliance of Canada. You are all familiar with the requirements. They are quite simple. You write me for certain forms which are to be completed twenty-one days prior to any performance, and they must be completed in full…From this date should any of your theatres be opened on Sunday for any event, without the necessary forms being completed, I shall ask the Provincial Secretary to deal with the matter”

This one was a smash and grab as I was illegally parked in a dodgy neighbourhood, left the car running while I dashed to the corner, and the parking authority guy was writing a ticket on someone a few feet away. But I managed to get the photos I wanted and not get a ticket or the car stolen!

Something I never got around to….

On Easter weekend when we were visiting with my nephew and his wife, in order to get ourselves out of their hair, Mom and I went for a drive.

I’m not terribly familiar with the area around Pickering, where my nephew lives. Rather than poke around town, Mom and I drove North to see what the countryside was like.

Straight North of Pickering is the town of Claremont, Ontario.

Claremont has the dubious distinction of being smack in the middle of the long-planned Pickering airport. This project has been in various stages of planning since at least 1972. Proponents claim that a new airport is needed. Opponents point to existing airports which easily have the capacity to handle both existing traffic and increases in traffic for he foreseeable future. They further claim that the expropriation isn’t really about an airport but is a land-grab for the GTTA (Greater Toronto Airports Authority).

Whatever the motivation, houses and farms sit empty, boarded up, and awaiting demolition.

As photographing old and abandoned buildings is one of my hobbies, I set about taking photos of as many of the buildings and the town as I could.

Here are some of the photos I took.









Decaying Beauty – photos by Carey Primeau

As many people know, I have a love of abandoned buildings and spend a lot of time photographing them. However, I don’t think I will EVER be as accomplished in capturing them quite like Carey Primeau. These photos are so awesomely (and sadly) stunning.

unFILED - Carey Primeau

unFILED - Carey Primeau

“When I was introduced to photography many years ago I instantly knew it was a medium that fit my personality perfectly. Photography quickly became an outlet for communication, an illustration for my ideas that sometimes were too complicated for me to put in words.

With a camera in my hand and a bike below my feet, I live, work and play in the City of Chicago in the same way that my mother, father, grandparents, and great grandparents have.

Most of the photographs featured here are from the Neglected Beauty Project that I have been working on for the past 4 years. By inspiring dialogue about forgotten historic structures, there is hope that the general public and our politicians will once again learn to appreciate their existence. Historical buildings are crucial for future generations because they not only provide direct connections to our past, but can be focal points for a shared cultural experience in the future.”

No. 2 pencil ONLY - Carey Primeau

No. 2 pencil ONLY - Carey Primeau

Centrality Amongst Chaos - Carey Primeau

Centrality Amongst Chaos - Carey Primeau

PhotoHunter: Triangle

Architectural triangles.

While I am two days ahead for posting this, I will be slow to acknowledge your comments and to visit everyone else’s contributions. My reason is this…. and this. I know you will all understand. I will try and make my visits, slowly but surely. If I miss you, I am sorry.

"The White House"

"The White House"


"St. John's Church, Pierce's Corners, Ontario"

"St. John's Church, Pierce's Corners, Ontario"

%d bloggers like this: