Towards the end of my first quarter in Toronto, I came across a local urban exploration group and (taking advantage of the relative freedom offered by a transit pass) headed down to a late-summer meeting. Toronto isn’t the post-industrial wasteland that certain other Great Lakes cities are, but there are a few sites that have so far escaped the exponentially-accelerating condo construction boom (an unfortunate consequence of lax planning laws, astronomical property prices and outright bribery of city officials). The general consensus was that we should check out a former rubbish processing plant (which I took to mean a compactor and/or incinerator), but it had been tramp-proofed and so, unable to get in, we moved on to an ancient linseed (flax) oil factory in the west end.
A breezy redbrick building surrounded by grass-split tarmac, the oil factory presented much like many other former industrial buildings: long stripped of most useful machinery, covered in graffiti and thoroughly devoid of intact panes of glass. However, the labyrinthine basement with its nuclear reactor-esque furnace and the soft-tar rooftop with its giant seed hopper added an aura of grandeur and industriousness to the vast open rooms. The local explorers quickly pulled out professional photographic equipment and dispersed, leaving me feeling a little outclassed. Next trip: undetermined!