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Alberta Pool Esther

Alberta Pool Esther

Saying a handful of people live in Esther Alberta might be a stretch. There’s not many here. Even at the peak, long ago, it was never a populous place. It’s a tiny dot on the map, always has been, on some lonely back road, middle of nowhere stuff, seen and visited by few…you get the […]

In search of Mitford Alberta: Cochrane's Railway

In search of Mitford Alberta: Cochrane’s Railway

In 2013 we studied the former town of Mitford Alberta, located just west of present day Cochrane (links to those posts below). One of the earliest communities in the area it was established 1880s. It was also one of the first abandoned too and was completely gone by the turn of the twentieth century. Connected […]

University of Calgary then and now

University of Calgary then and now

Flashback some thirty five, maybe even forty years. We’re at the University of Calgary witness to a couple of “interesting” fellows hamming it up for the camera somewhere on the sprawling campus. Jumping in the time machine, it’s 2016 and C&C are on the scene, hoping to duplicate that photo in both angle and composition […]

Junction Creek

Junction Creek

This hiking trail is located in the Sheep River area of Kananaskis, just west of Turner Valley. It takes one south up a remote densely forested valley, paralleling scenic Junction Creek the whole time. While it’s in the trees most of the way, there’s enough views of surrounding mountains to make it all worthwhile. An […]

Robin's Egg Boler

Robin’s Egg Boler

Still struggling to catch up with these Boler postings. Way behind! Here’s the latest one, gosh, from exactly a year ago, so September 2015 (double gosh) and spotted in Red Deer Alberta as a storm approached. It’s a wonderful and very bold Robin’s Egg Blue, reminiscent of the colour so revered on 1960s Ford Mustangs, […]

The Woods

The Woods

Come on, jump in the truck. There’s room for a few of you. We’ll be heading up a winding mountain road, (don’t worry, we’ll be in competent hands), to a densely forested slope in the West Kootenays of British Columbia to witness something incredibly interesting. We’re hanging with the the Atco Wood Products Field (or […]

Planned Railway Line Empress Alberta

Planned Railway Line Empress Alberta

In the first few decades of the twentieth century a huge number of railway branch lines were built across the Western Canadian plains. Look at any old time map and see. It was a messy spaghetti-bowl of track, running this way and that with reckless abandon, to near every town or village and what appears […]

Providence Grain – Marengo Saskatchewan

Providence Grain – Marengo Saskatchewan

The always on the go BIGDoer.com crew are in the tiny burg of Marengo Saskatchewan to document the Providence Grain facility located there. Join us for a tour of this working grain elevator. It’s a bit different and is not one of the those high-throughput concrete super terminals common today, even if it sort of […]

Adanac Ridge

Adanac Ridge

Wanna’ a new hike in the Crownest Pass of Alberta? Some “fresh meat”? Try Adanac Ridge, a long north/south trending hill. It’s a fine objective, yet strangely visited by few even though it’s not terribly difficult to do and is easy to get to. There is no trail to speak of but getting to the […]

Creston BC Grain Elevators

Creston BC Grain Elevators

British Columbia! Endless forests, precipitous peaks, bears, lumberjacks, bears eating lumberjacks, raging rivers, a moose, a squirrel, all things wild. No arguments here! But what’s this in Creston? Grain elevators, aka “prairie sentinels”…here in the mountains – emphasis on mountains? What the? Aren’t these associated with the vast (and very flat) plains of Alberta, Saskatchewan […]

Hell's Ridge

Hell’s Ridge

Welcome to Hell, Hell’s Ridge that is, South Kananaskis Alberta, a hike you may think twice about given that dark and sinister name. In reality however, it’s something actually quite wonderful. And fun. Heavenly…oh quit! It’s a short steep climb to the modest-height summit, where some pretty decent views await. The ridge crest extends off […]

St Peter and Paul

St Peter and Paul

Under powder blue skies and wispy white clouds, amid endless fields of bright yellow Canola, we find ourselves at the door of St Peter and Paul Church. Quaint, charming and oh so picturesque it can be found on a lonely Alberta crossroads. We’ve come to explore it, photograph it, learn something about it. Join with […]

Crowsnest Collection - Finale

Crowsnest Collection – Finale

Every good thing must come to an end. And with that we present the final instalment in this series where were look at the Crowsnest Collection, an incredible and diverse mix of old metal. There are trucks, lots of trucks, rare makes including the likes of Diamond T and REO, others more common and everyday, […]

Roland School

Roland School

The final count, thought to be somewhere between three and five thousand (reports vary). That’s the approximate number of one room schools that were once located in Alberta. The first opened in the 1800s (some say 1860s, others 1880s), the last closing a scant dozen or so years ago. They shared common features. They were […]

Under Wraps

Under Wraps

This pair of cocooned locomotives call Nelson British Columbia home. It’s hoped they will eventually be put on display near the town’s restored railway station but for now are stored nearby on a siding, not publicly accessible and “under wraps”, awaiting the next move. Both date from the 1950s and while unseen under all those […]

Yankee Girl

Yankee Girl

The history obsessed crew at BIGDoer.com pays a visit to British Columbia where we’ll explore the remains of the historic Yankee Girl Mine overlooking the tiny community of Ymir. There’s the mine dumps where non-ore bearing material was discarded, some collapsed buildings, bits from a tramway, rails, metal, who knows what, and much more. The […]

Crowsnest Collection - Second Helping

Crowsnest Collection – Second Helping

Time for the eagerly awaited second instalment in the series where we explore the many vintage vehicles that make up the Crowsnest Collection in Southwest Alberta. There’s an incredibly interesting mix here, trucks mostly, dating back as far as the 1930s, and as recent as the 1980s. Of varied makes and models, most of are […]

Troup Junction

Troup Junction

Railway history time! And today’s subject, what’s left of Troup Junction along the shores of Kootenay Lake near Nelson BC. The former line, going back to the late nineteenth century, has been abandoned for decades. On a small jut of land, they managed to fit in an amazing array of track, complex but necessary since […]

Mountain Solitude

Mountain Solitude

If you crave splendid full-on remote middle-of-nowhere not a soul around isolation, in a beautiful mountain setting, this is the hike for you. We picked it for just that reason. After an incredibly busy couple weeks documenting all manner of historic and industrial sites across Alberta. Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and interviewing those associated with […]

Crowsnest Collection - Round 1

Crowsnest Collection – Round 1

Tag along as we explore an old equipment yard bursting to the seams with all manner of vintage vehicles, machinery and odd bits of scrap metal of every description – aka the Crowsnest Collection for the area of Alberta where it’s located. There are plenty of old trucks here, some common makes others less so, […]

Bridge Hunting - Waneta British Columbia

Bridge Hunting – Waneta British Columbia

The bridges of Waneta British Columbia. One, the elder of the pair, historically far more interesting and oh so photogenic, dates from the 1890s and once carried trains, It’s now used by highway traffic and is the oldest such span in this service in the province. The second, tight beside it, almost touching it in […]

Valley Social Boler

Valley Social Boler

I’ve just come to the realization we’re almost a full year behind in our Boler postings. It’s been crazy busy and admittedly we’ve let them sort of fall to the wayside. Time for a quick one though – this example with a very, very interesting paint job – found in the small surrounded-by-mountains southeastern British […]

Indian Oils

Indian Oils

The Indian Oils Trail in Kananaskis is most often done as an out and back. Nice enough, but why not mix it up a bit? Try a far more interesting alternative making a modest length loop using the official route for the ascent leg then a connecting ridge for the descent. The rewards? Nice views […]

Empress AB then and now

Empress AB then and now

The images we’ll be viewing today were captured two decades apart. The location is Empress Alberta, the scene taking us to the old railway line that once passed by town. In the first photo, we’re witness to perhaps the last run on the soon to be abandoned branchline, an enthusiast organized “speeder” outing, and today […]

New Brigden Water Tower

New Brigden Water Tower

Here’s an undeniably rare find, an original standing-where-built railway water tower that was once used fill the boilers of steam locomotives. Way back when there used to be literately thousands of these across the country in strategic places up and down every main or branch line (steamers required a lot of water). With the end […]

SS Hosmer

SS Hosmer

The remains of an ancient tugboat can be found not terribly far from Nelson British Columbia. This craft, the wood-hulled SS Hosmer, was launched over a century ago and for many decades worked hauling barges loaded with rail cars up and down that huge body of water (more on this in a bit). Later it […]

Sibbald Gentleman's Club

Sibbald Gentleman’s Club

The location, far eastern Alberta, the town of Sibbald. A faded sign taped to the door reads: “Warning, nude entertainers appearing within premises. Some patrons may find this offensive. No minors. Picture ID only. $10.00 cover charge. Sibbald Bar & Hotel.” Did I just read that? This ancient little flop house and watering hole found […]

Empress Subdivision Bridge

Empress Subdivision Bridge

Bridges, we love bridges! In fact, we can’t get enough of them! The fine bit of engineering we’ll be looking at today was a mighty one, approaching three quarters of a kilometre in length from end to end (fractions with metric, shame on me). About a century old, it once carried a railway line over […]

GE Dash 8-40CM

GE Dash 8-40CM

Here’s an uncommon find, not one but count ’em, two, old GE Dash 8-40CM locomotives belonging to Canadian National Railways, found along a Saskatchewan secondary line. For someone who resides in the Canadian Pacific Railway-centric world of Southern Alberta, which the company almost monopolizes, seeing that “other” railway is a real treat. That we captured […]

Brokeback Mountain then and now - Brokeback Meadows

Brokeback Mountain then and now – Brokeback Meadows

Yes, it’s time for another BIGDoer.com movie then and now. Man, it’s sure been a while. In this one we visit a location seen in the film Brokeback Mountain, specifically Brokeback Meadows, in the real world a grassy swath on the flanks of Moose Mountain just west of Calgary. This filming site, with a bit […]

Moose Mountain

Moose Mountain

Let us be your guides to the summit of Moose Mountain. Located in the extreme front ranges of Kananaskis, just west of Calgary, it’s a popular destination and understandably so. It’s nice and close to town, the trail is easy going and the views from the top are simply amazing. For little work (really) the […]

Bashaw Processors

Bashaw Processors

As recently as a few decades ago there was something close to a thousand wood-cribbed grain elevators in Alberta. Most of theses buildings, dating from the early 1900s to the mid-1980s, are gone now, having been replaced by newer, larger and more efficient “grain terminals” made of concrete or steel. A few of the old […]

Case Steam Tractor

Case Steam Tractor

A metal leviathan, this steam tractor was built close to a hundred years ago. Today it resides at Pioneer Acres Museum in Irricana Alberta where on occasion it’s fired-up, transforming it into a fire-breathing, steam hissing, smoke belching monster put to work entertaining visitors to the venue. At rest on our visit, we take some […]

Loaf & Jug

Loaf & Jug

Loaf & Jug were a small chain of corner grocery stores in Calgary Alberta. Little information is available on the firm (alternately called Loaf and Jug or sometimes Loaf ‘n’ Jug), but piecing bits and pieces together it seems that they were in business from the early 1970s to perhaps the late 1990s. They had […]

Too Hot Bolers

Too Hot Bolers

Flashback Cranbrook BC August 2015, it was hot as Hades, stifling and muggy, the blast-furnace-like temperatures forcing us to rethink our day. Plus thirty degree weather is our Kryptonite and venturing out into the woods for a hike or even simple exploration seemed like sheer lunacy. Sweat and fatigue and sun burns? No way was […]

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