Aug 312015
Searle Grain

Built a century ago, the grain elevator we’ll be exploring in this report once stood alongside the train tracks in the small community of Gartly Alberta. Moved in the 1970s, it can be found on a farm just down the road from where the village once was.

Aug 292015
In Event of Nucular Attack!

Located beneath a nondescript building in a small Central Alberta town are the remains of a forgotten military bunker, constructed during the paranoia charged days of the Cold War. Today, the silent halls are sealed up and known only to a select few, in stark contrast to the floors above, busy with the comings and goings of people, most unaware of what lies deep underfoot.

Aug 262015
Protection Mountain Mine

This is a “history hike” where we combine two of our favourite obsessions. We’ll climb to a point high up on the flanks of a peak in Banff National Park to visit the Protection Mountain Mine (official: Eldon Showing) an operation that dates back about a hundred years. It’s one of the highest in elevation we’ve ever visited and the views from it are simply amazing.

Aug 212015
Canadian Pacific Railway #4090 and #4469

The Canadian Museum of Rail Travel in Cranbrook BC owns a huge collection of vintage train equipment. Founded in the 1970s, the organization has grown over the years and today occupies a huge tact of land on the far edge the community’s downtown core, just beside an active railway line. On display at one end of the property are two old diesel locomotives and a passenger station.

Aug 192015
Sandy McNabb Hills

This day’s objective is a series of eastward trending low rolling bumps, treed on one side, grassed and open on the other, overlooking the Sheep River in Kananaskis. They make for a nice and easy hike when ambitions are lacking, in the colder months when trails in the west are buried or simply inaccessible, or like in our case, when time is a bit short.

Aug 182015
Building Information Modeling For Dummies

An interesting way to spend an afternoon, connects up with a group of three travelling the globe on a lengthy and ambitious mission to document train stations…in a very interesting way. From the University of Rochester (New York), the trio have brought along some high-tech equipment which is used, specifically, to create a three dimensional digital model of their subject matter.

Aug 142015
Hillcrest United Church

Built near a century ago, the Hillcrest United Church (formerly Hillcrest Methodist) in the Crowsnest Pass held its last services in the 1990s and is today privately owned. This fine old building, located a street west of “downtown” Hillcrest, looks fantastic for its age and with Turtle Mountain towering above it’s in a wonderfully picturesque […]

Aug 142015
Lime City

The lime kilns at Lime City, in the Crowsnest Pass, were in operation for about a decade around the time of World War One. Located just east of the huge Turtle Mountain Frank Slide boulder field, which they pulled the limestone from (imagine them trying that today – the slide is a protected site) which […]

Aug 132015
Industrial Park Living

The Calgary district of Alyth – Bonnybrook – Manchester, three formerly separate neighbourhoods now sort of seen as one, is mostly industrial, but here and there are some old houses, a couple of them even lived in. Join us a we walk about this gritty neighbourhood, located southeast of downtown, in search of these dwellings.

Aug 132015
We STOP for Bolers

If we see a stationary Boler parked somewhere we rarely pass it by, usually taking the time to check it out and snap a few photos unless time is very, very pressing. We have the fever! This one we had no choice anyway, since it’s located at a controlled intersection, a three way stop in […]

Aug 122015
Trainspotting - Field BC edition

If you follow our adventures, you know the crew is always go-Go-GO! We’re always doing something! Every now and then we like to drop a few gears and slow right down and unwind, taking an hour or two break where we do nothing but relax, sip wine, talk, maybe read a book or daydream, and of course train spot.

Aug 112015
Mount Lipsett

Reaching the top of Mount Lipsett is incredibly simple and easy. One need only follow an old road that meanders up to within sight of the summit. From there is a quick push and you’re done. Even though it’s not a terribly high elevation “peak” (okay, calling it that is stretch, it’s more a big hill), especially when compared to Mist Mountain directly east, the views from it are pretty darn good over all.

Aug 062015
Canadian Pacific Railway then and now – Banff Park

We’re deep inside gorgeous Banff National Park armed with an old photo showing a train. Our goal, find the spot where that image was captured – easy enough – and then shot a similar one for inclusion in this BIGDoer “then and now” post. To complete our project we’ll need a train to show, but we won’t have to wait long for that to happen.

Aug 042015

We’ve photographed and written about hundreds of abandoned places before, and many ghost towns too (browse and see). The report we’ll be presenting here will be a wee bit different from the norm however. We’ll not only talk about our subject and its history, Bents Saskatchewan, but we’ll touch on the struggles the land owner is experiencing due to the rise in “Ghost Town Tourism”; specifically the ugly side of that activity.