Linseed factory hopperTowards 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.

Toronto from 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!

Linseed factory reactorsLinseed factory furnace

Linseed factory water tankLinseed factory wrenchLinseed factory window

Linseed factory basementLinseed factory water pipes

Linseed factory pipeworkLinseed factory pulley

Linseed factory lampLinseed factory grille

One does not simply ski into MordorAs I was walking from the smoking crater of Mt. Naka (中岳) towards the less-active Mt. Eboshi (烏帽子岳) (a possible inspiration for Lady Eboshi in Princess Mononoke), I happened across an abandoned ski field. While ski slopes clearly don’t rate as highly as hotels or amusement parks, the place was still interesting and (given the rate of decay) had clearly been abandoned for some time.

Walk or waitChairlift motor

Abandoned polesThe chair lift, severe rust aside, was more or less intact, though the chairs had all been piled inside the main building (presumably when the place was closed down,to prevent them falling off). All the rental equipment – skis, boots, sledges, clothing and so on – was still stacked neatly on the shelves, and the offices seemed to be completely intact (even down to tea-making equipment). It looked as though the place had been abandoned almost overnight, with no effort made to salvage anything useful or even retain the business records. I didn’t have enough time to check the place out properly, but it was a superb addition to an already fascinating day.

Abandoned chairsNo more rentals

The last cupWaiting to restart