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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 […]

Hillcrest Collieries Mine

Hillcrest Collieries Mine

Come along with us as we wander the remains of the old surface plant connected to the Hillcrest Collieries Mine in the Crowsnest Pass of Alberta. Closed down some seventy five years ago, a couple concrete buildings can be found at the site, all well overgrown, along with some bits of metal and other junk […]

So long Radio Shack

So long Radio Shack

What’s this? A ghost sign from an old Radio Shack, a firm that closed down in Canada over a dozen years ago, this one being exposed during renovations at Calgary’s Westbrook Mall. We’re looking at a time capsule here, a reminder taking us back to when the “Shack” was the defacto go-to outlet when one […]

DNR Excavator

DNR Excavator

Found at Pioneer Acres Museum in Irricana Alberta (a great place, BTW, if you love old metal), the leviathan earth mover we’ll be documenting is known as a DNR Excavator. Curious looking, as though random bits of machinery were thrown together by someone without a clue as to what they were to do, it actually […]

St Elias

St Elias

Today we document the remains of a forgotten Monastery connected to the Orthodox Church, found in a remote corner of Northern Alberta. Deep in a wooded grove along a lonely back road, this unassuming cluster of small cobbled-together buildings are in varying states of advanced decay and most likely won’t be around for much longer. […]

Bull Creek Hills - East Approach

Bull Creek Hills – East Approach

A series of summits interconnected by ridges in the Highwood area of Kananaskis, the Bull Creek Hills are a great hiking objective at any time of the year. There are many ways up including this lesser used approach, tackling an easterly rib straight on. Trails on this route are sometimes sporadic and faint, and there […]

GMC L7000 V12

GMC L7000 V12

This short and stocky brute, a GMC L7000, can be found at Pioneer Acres Museum in Irricana Alberta. A bit tattered with faded orange paint, it looks as though it’d be ready to get back to work with minimal notice. Where’s that next load going? Hidden from view behind some exhibit halls, perhaps it’s waiting […]

Fishburn United Church

Fishburn United Church

Fishburn United, a tiny country church found along a lonely Alberta backroad, southwest corner of the province, where the mountains and plains meet and not far from the Crowsnest Pass. Built well over a hundred years ago, it was originally a shared facility used by those of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist faiths. The local […]

Moccasin Flats

Moccasin Flats

Time for a brief stop at the former Moccasin Flats Gas and Confectionery in Bellevue Alberta. It’s a place that’s been on our radar for sometime now – of course every old and empty, overgrown and boarded up building is – and while this stop was brief we fully expect to return at some point […]

Classic cars? No, Bolers!

Classic cars? No, Bolers!

All manner of classic vehicles about, hod rods from many different eras, all shiny and done up, Detroit Metal to the extreme…and we’re fixated on some small fibreglass trailers seen nearby. It’s our addiction for which we understand there is no cure. Must seek out Bolers, and their kin, and stop to photograph each one, […]

Bleak

Bleak

When the day’s all bleak and dreary and the wind blown snow stings, the cold and wet insufferable, the light a sombre depressing grey, it’s sometimes hard to be motivated to explore. Sure, we’re tough and resilient. but even we have our limits. And this day we found them. Not that the subject, in this […]

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