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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 Most of theses buildings, dating from the early 1900s to the mid-1980s, are gone now, having been replaced by newer, larger and more efficient “grain terminals” made of concrete or steel.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 […]

Hillhurst United Church

Hillhurst United Church

Today we’ll be looking at Hillhurst United Church, a charming heritage building with amazing stained glass, wonderful woodwork, an impressive vintage pipe-organ, and a vibrant spirit. Just over a hundred years old and clearly well loved and cared for, it’s located is in an equally dynamic community of which it shares a name, across the […]

Draglines and Shovels - Reynolds Alberta Museum

Draglines and Shovels – Reynolds Alberta Museum

A heavenly place for lovers of vintage metal and machinery, the Reynolds-Alberta Museum is home to today’s subjects, several giant mining shovels and draglines. These humongous beasts are connected historically to various coal mines in the province and date back as far as a hundred years. Impressive at a distance, doubly so (no, a million […]

Gunnery Mountain

Gunnery Mountain

It’s a modest-sized lump of limestone in the foothills of Kananaskis. That’s Gunnery Mountain and hiking it is nothing short of pure and unadulterated fun. Sure, it’s a bit rugged looking as seen from the highway, what with all those steep cliff bands, rock outcroppings and scree slopes. But…using a back side approach one can […]

Scot King C1FD

Scot King C1FD

The vintage fire truck we’ll look at today is a heck of an impressive sight, a real head-turner, doubly so when all lit up at night. For a couple decades it was employed at a small town British Columbia fire department, but today is used by a Calgary firm, Springbank Christmas Lights. Not just a […]

Calgary then and now - Ogden Road

Calgary then and now – Ogden Road

Two photos shot at almost the exact same location but some sixty five years apart, each showing a passing Calgary Transit vehicle. The location here is the community of Ogden, along Ogden Road to be exact, the background showing a railway bridge and in the older photo, bits from a refinery that today is no […]

Calgary to Chestermere bike

Calgary to Chestermere bike

One of the least demanding bike rides ever, the route we’ll show you follows a meandering irrigation canal all the way from Calgary to Chestermere. Thirty or so clicks of pleasant and enjoyable fun, it’s paved for ease of ride, flat the whole way so peddling is near effortless, and overall is not that terribly […]

Calgary then and now - Civil Defence

Calgary then and now – Civil Defence

A BIGDoer.com then and now – where we take an old photo showing a building or street scene from way back when, return so the location seen and shoot an image that’s similarly composed. Fun or what? The subject this day is an interesting one and for the then bits we’ll take some screen captures […]

One corner in Bashaw Alberta

One corner in Bashaw Alberta

Presenting the almost perfect timeless scene: a vintage truck, former service station and an old school wood grain elevator. Taken not twenty or thirty years ago, but in 2016. One corner in Bashaw Alberta, a small community approximately in the middle of the province, founded about a hundred years ago and visited by us for […]

Carefree

Carefree

Here’s an interesting find in the field of tiny vintage fibreglass camping trailers, a rarely seen model by the name of “Carefree”. Made in the southern British Columbia town of Trail during the mid to late 1970s, or thereabouts, they came in at least a couple sizes, all of them in the thirteen to fifteen […]

Tiny Stone House

Tiny Stone House

The stone farm house we’ll be exploring today, a small two story affair, dare we say an almost cute one, is located along a lonely backroad on the endless plains of Northern Alberta. Built close to ninety years ago, it was only lived in sporadically at the start and from time to time thereafter. For […]

Grand Trunk Pacific Calgary

Grand Trunk Pacific Calgary

The berms seen in the photos below are some of the last remnants of the former Grand Trunk Pacific Railway line that once lead into downtown Calgary. Built in the early 1910s, the stretch of track came in from Northern Alberta (near Edmonton), entering the city in the east, before bending back and paralleling the […]

Mesa Butte

Mesa Butte

Some call it Square Butte, but to most it’s Mesa Butte. Regardless of name it’s a modest height and easily climbed bump, in the foothills of Kananaskis west of Millarville. Mostly treed, it’s wide open to the south, rewarding hikers with pleasing views of rolling hills and low ridges below it. It’s doable all year […]

1915 Cement House

1915 Cement House

Over the years, we’ve explored countless abandoned farm houses. The great majority are constructed of wood, the most common building material for rural dwellings like this, then as now. Occasionally we’ll come across ones of brick, but not terribly often. Very rare, but still seen every now and again, are ones in stone. We’ve seen […]

Warwick AB Pool

Warwick AB Pool

Built in the late 1920s, the grain elevator we’ll be looking at briefly here was once found along the train tracks in the tiny community of Warwick Alberta. Today it sits in farmyard a short distance away. A former Alberta Wheat Pool facility, it still wears the old company colours proudly, the building is or […]

Carry Ridge to Muley Ridge

Carry Ridge to Muley Ridge

This hike takes in two long and low bumps, side-by-side Carry Ridge and Muley Ridge, right at the entrance to Kananaskis in the Sheep River area west of Turner Valley. They’re not terribly high and often times you’ll be in the trees, but still there are some surprisingly far reaching views to be seen from […]

Chain-link Boler

Chain-link Boler

What’s that? The hard-to-see but clearly unmistakable outline of a Boler through a chain-link fence and hedges? Yes, it is! This find, one well hidden behind an industrial building, out of view from any road and generally speaking something that would be most difficult to see. Yet, we found it. Chalk another one up for […]

Needle in a haystack challenge

Needle in a haystack challenge

Here’s another BIGDoer.com needle in a haystack challenge, where our readers send us an old photo showing a street scene with little or no accompanying information, in hopes of stumping us. We’re put the test, our goal to find the exact spot using only our sleuthing skills (and perhaps a little luck) and then shoot […]

Grist Mill Farm

Grist Mill Farm

Certainly the most interesting element found in this abandoned Alberta farm yard is a building that was once a wind powered grist mill. Unique in form, with an almost European flavour, for much of its history it was actually a blacksmith and metal shop. Come with us as we explore this unique looking structure and […]

Banzai Water Slide Park

Banzai Water Slide Park

Calgary is perhaps not the best place for an outdoor water park, what with all the strange and unpredictable weather and rather brief summer season. None the less, one such business operated in the southern half of the city for a time. Presenting: the the Banzai Water Slide, or rather what little is left if […]

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