Apr 112017
Railway Bunkhouse

This long skinny shed looking building was once a railway bunkhouse. Simply, it was a crash-pad for train crews overnighting away from home base. There would be a couple beds inside, a simple kitchen, a biffy and that’s about it. No five star resort, it was about as basic as accommodations could get. There used […]

Jan 022017
Dwyer Farm

This old farm house is probably one of the most photographed abandoned buildings in the southwest corner of the province. We’ve seen countless pictures of it from any number of photographers and we’ve shot our share too. No doubt that it’s easy to find accounts for some of its popularity. But the clincher, the real […]

Dec 282016
Trainspotting BIGDoer.com style

We call it Trainspotting. There are other names for the pastime, but we like that one best (loath the term “railfanning”). In its simplest form…one grabs a camera, finds a place overlooking some train tracks, snaps away and there you have it! Of course there are those who take it “higher”, foamers as they’re oftentimes […]

Nov 252016
Cabin in the Woods

Not much is left of this cabin. Located deep in the woods of the Crownest Pass Alberta, along an old pack trail, and towered over by precipitous peaks, it’s connected to a small coal mine operation of which little information is known. We did dig up (get it) a few snippets however, but data was […]

Nov 162016
Salmo River Bridge

There’s a series of old wood truss bridges scattered across the back roads and secondary highways of British Columbia. Distinctive in design and framed with massive timber beams, all tied together with metal bolts and rods, they look a bit outdated in today’s modern world, seemingly more fitting for a time when horsepower came from […]

Oct 312016
Dive Motel

Team BIGDoer has this fondness for dive motels. You might call it strange. As accommodations go, they’re low cost, which is a plus for us professional historians (yes, it’s a career) who dream of minimum wage as some sort of glorious income nirvana. We’re budget minded, we have to be, this job dictates it. But […]

Jul 182016
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 […]

Jun 132016
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 […]

Jun 092016
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 […]

May 192016
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 […]

May 172016

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 […]

Apr 252016
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 […]

Apr 182016
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 […]

Apr 042016
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 […]

Mar 292016
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 (or Bonzai) Water Park, or rather what little is […]