One such place which has been completely erased from this physical plane and only does exist in the past is the former Prisoner-of-War facility just a short drive north of Barrie, Ontario. Although it was not always an internment facility . . .
Near Gravenhurst, the Minnewaska Resort was built in 1897. This establishment catered to the well-to-do of Toronto, seeking vacation at the time when the lakes of Muskoka were plied by a small fleet of regal steamers. The Minnewaska closed its doors and was promptly seceded by the Calydor Sanatorium to deal with the devastating tuberculosis disease. Where the Muskoka Sanitorium accepted people from all walks of life, the Calydor, located only a short distance away, was private.
With the introduction of antibiotics, the prognostics for a tuberculosis patient was good and the hospitalisation time greatly reduced. With the outbreak of World War Two, the need for confinement facilities for prisoners of war brought a new use for the buildings and the premises. With the Calydor already in decline, the government took over management, rapidly converted the buildings and grounds and accepted the first prisoners in 1940. At anytime, the new 'Camp 20' held around 500 prisoners which were guarded by veterans of the previous war and other younger Canadian soldiers.
(L) German Prisoners being marched from the Gravenhurst train station to the camp.
(R) German Officers posing for a photograph at the prison camp.
With the war won, Camp 20 closed in 1946, but not for long. The Gateway Hotel opened up for business in 1949. Ironically, this kosher hotel catered to Jewish vacationers from Toronto. This hotel closed in 1967 and the location became a camp for youth but was soon destroyed by fire.
The grounds are now deserted, located on the edge of the residential area of Gravenhurst there is nothing there but some old concrete footings to mark the location. There is a rumour that after the fire, some of the damaged structures were bulldozed into the lake and may still be viewed by recreational divers.
Another location which needs very little imagination (and no 'temporal looking glass') to step into the past is this Mill . . .
Can you identify this place ?
Some more hints . . . If you grew up near the Greater Toronto Area, you may very have visited it on a school field trip . . .
If you guessed, the Blackcreek Pioneer Village, you would be correct.
It is recommended that you pop by Roblin's Mill at Blackcreek Pioneer Village, if you are an Urban Explorer who enjoys poking around old mills. This one has been restored very nicely and you just might learn what the heck that broken thing-a-ma-jig is you were photographing at your favourite abandoned mill.