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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 in corner in Bashaw Alberta, a small community approximately in the middle of the province, founded about a hundred years ago and visited by us […]

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 […]

Calgary Transit then and now - MacDonald Bridge

Calgary Transit then and now – MacDonald Bridge

Something close to seventy years separate the two images used in this BIGDoer.com then and now. The theme, one of our favourites for this type of report, and by traffic numbers something similar with our readers, is Calgary Transit or public transit in general. The location is the historic century plus old MacDonald Bridge in […]

Foran Grade to Windy Point Ridge

Foran Grade to Windy Point Ridge

Normally done as two short and separate trips, parallel ridges Foran Grade and Windy Point Ridge, in the Sheep River region of Kananaskis, can be combined into a single and longer outing by following our special approach. Neither is that high, they are humble foothills summits after all, but the views from each is pretty […]

Seven Houses

Seven Houses

The third report in what’s turning out to be an ongoing yearly series, it just kinda happened, where we casually catalogue all the houses still standing in downtown Calgary. The count today is seven, down one from the previous year. Some of them are still lived-in, some are now used by businesses as office space, […]

Spaca Moskalyk Church

Spaca Moskalyk Church

Today we’ll take a look at Spaca Moskalyk Ukrainian Catholic Church, impressive, photogenic, with perhaps a uncertain future. Located along a lonely back road on the vast northern Alberta plains, the majestic building is not aging as well and is suffering from some potentially serious structural issues. If these problems are not addressed and the […]

Buffalo 2000

Buffalo 2000

The elevator seen here really stands out as unique and was in the 1980s a highly innovative design, the future of the Alberta grain industry. The Buffalo 2000, the dawn of a bold new era, modern and efficient, a new way to do it. It was not just a means to supplement, but perhaps even […]

Medicine Hat Turntable

Medicine Hat Turntable

The large steel structure seen here is a railway turntable. It would be used to turn locomotives around and would be located, often along with a roundhouse, at strategic railway divisional points and most major yards. Typically associated with smoke belching steam locomotives, there used to be hundreds of these scattered across the county. Some […]

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is located just southwest of Calgary near the tiny community of Priddis. Owned and operated by the University of Calgary, it’s used as both a research and teaching facility and is home to a collection of telescopes of many forms, types and sizes. We’ll spend a day and night there watching […]

Urban Trek - Bow River Loop

Urban Trek – Bow River Loop

Another adventure, this one an urban hike, which we did in the depths of winter but you can do anytime. A short “stroll” (for us), follow the Bow River making a loop of sorts where one travels down one side and up the other. Along the way we’re witness to lots of wildlife, including majestic […]

Unfinished Railway Line Calgary

Unfinished Railway Line Calgary

File this under obscure. We’re looking at the roadbed remains of a Canadian Northern Railway branchline that was to break the Canadian Pacific Railway’s monopoly in southern Alberta. Some sections, including this one inside Calgary city limits and being encroached on by development, were built, about 1910-1912, but track was never laid. I doubt many […]

Rocky Mountain Raceway Park

Rocky Mountain Raceway Park

Rocky Mountain Raceway Park, we never really knew you. In operation for only a few short years, it was one of the last racetracks in the Calgary area. Now there are none. Built from passion by two dedicated enthusiasts, it was shuttered not really due to a lack of business, but rather ugly politics, the […]

Drumheller then and now - Homestead Museum

Drumheller then and now – Homestead Museum

Something close to forty or forty five years separate the two images used in this then and now. Our subject is the Homestead Museum, well their sign anyway, located deep in the Badlands of Alberta in the town of Drumheller. The old image comes via a reader of this website and is a scan of […]

Boler and Canoe

Boler and Canoe

It’s almost a rock solid guarantee that while out exploring we’ll come across a Boler or two. Case in point, the seventeen foot example seen here, along with its attendant canoe, spotted in the community of Didsbury, part way between Calgary and Red Deer, while we searched out an old house we were due to […]

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