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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 […]

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 […]

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