Seven Mile Island

Earlier this month, I headed over to the derelict Lake Scugog summer retreat with 'Simmorill' and 'SurMom'. At first, I was somewhat hesitant of a purely outdoors exploration but within moments of stepping onto the property, it was very well worth the drive.

Before I get into history and stills from the exploration, we have a very lovely video for you . . . Enjoy !

Seven Mile Island is a 26 acre estate property and is joined to the mainland (Scugog Island) via a 1,650 foot causeway. The island had witnessed a parade owners since the 1880's who had built hunting campsites, cottages and then houses on the property.

The property at Seven Mile came into its own when cigar baron Alex Wilson began developing a magnificent estate there in 1919. If you visit, you will note that the stone pillars along the property line at the front gate look like cigars. Several lovely cottages were added by the Wilsons as well but the gem of the island are the gardens.

Alex Wilson and his wife Mary constructing numerous floral gardens, a swimming pool, a stone tea house, reflecting pool and an elaborate boathouse with a dance hall on the upper level. The property boasted beautifully manicured lawns, rose gardens, bridges, ponds and an elaborate pergola leading to the magnificent 26 room mansion.

In my opinion, the best features of the property include the 62'x14' reflecting pool featuring the bronze statue of the Greek God Mercury, the stone tea house and the absolutely beautifully ornate pergola. If I had a ticket back to time, I may consider visiting the property in the 1920's during one of the many parties held in the dance hall above the boathouse where visitors and neighbours from around Lake Scugog.

According to the best information I have, the Artis Orbus group now own the property with a mind to restore it and provide a venue for an art school or retreat. The very best of luck to them.
For more fascinating history, visit
Scugog Heritage.
Quick Note : My other Blog, Lorwyn Unleashed has moved to
Magic: The Gathering - Alara Spoilers


Caribou Diner 2

We have for you a follow-up exploration of the Caribou Diner, originally explored back in November, 2006.

This time, an impromptu exploration team consisting of (yours truly) CopySix, JuicyFruitKisses, Jack Morningwood, and new UrbEx Barrie buddy BigLens was assembled and rapidly deployed to the location along Highway 11, just north of Barrie.

With the gas station now closed, there were no inhibitions among local vandals and graffiti 'artists', both these belonging to the human sub-type 'Rectal-Cranial Adornment'.

JuicyFruitKisses found a very kewl vinyl K-Tel track titled 'Heart Beat of the 80's, while BigLens and I yattered on about back-lighting techniques and the pros of having a tri-pod for dark interior shots.

What was left of the former restaurant was fairly pathetic . . . There was significant damage to the interior compared with the previous exploration made there.

It takes a fair deal of impact (I believe) to break glass block . . . from a visual assessment of the damage to these glass block windows in the washroom, it appears that the vandals may have used their heads.

Speaking of washrooms, I rather enjoyed exploring the Ladies washroom at this location as shown in this image from BigLens.

OK . . . this is when the exploration went a bit weird and somewhat disgusting. If you are easily offended, do not read on. I would suggest that the following is intended for a mature audience and that viewer discretion is advised.

The small bachelor apartments above the restaurant did indeed contain at one time bachelors . . . lecherous, chain-smoking, hard-drinking bachelors by the look of the debris of personal effects left behind.

JuicyFruitKisses scored BIG with this size 52 hole-y pair of gitches.

We had also found some p0rn and possibly the worst written piece of warped erotica I ever read . . . and believe me I have read a LOT. The story left Mr. Jack Morningwood in stitches.

As the ream began to heap ridicule on the former denizen of this rat-hole, another personal effect was found which changed everyone's opinion. The author of the above-mentioned literary garbage was in fact, a very accomplished artist as demonstrated by the sketch here.

Lastly, I wish to leave a warning to any explorers who may want to drop by this lovely gem of an abandonment . . . watch your step - there's goon juice everywhere.

Remember kids, practice safe exploring !

Quick Note : My other Blog, Lorwyn Unleashed has moved to
Magic: The Gathering


Sundial 3

This is the last trip to the Sundial as it has now been fully explored. For the previous posts, check out Trip 1, Trip 2a, and Trip 2b.

Explorers in attendance were JuicyFruitKisses, our buddy neX, the ubiquitous phrenzee and his exploring partner Ms DeKay. As the day in question was stinking hot, we headed to the pool first.

We were able to get a better idea as to the flooding in the basement but did not DARE venture down due to the one of the most nasty mould / fungual blooms I ever saw.

Speaking of HOT, the crew discovered the hottest place in the known universe - the former hot tub / sauna room. The unique glass dome here allowed the killer heat in and then magnified it. I was rather surprised that none of the team members spontaneously combusted during the brief foray into this space.

Seeking any relief from this heat, the team stumbled over to the empty restaurant, then to the 'Starlite Room'.

Finding no staff to revive us, we seated ourselves at the bar and then waited in beverage purgatory until phrenzee took it upon himself to serve us.
It did not take us very long at all to realise that there were no available staff to serve us . . . To this end, I took it upon myself to staff the facility after finding an appropriate name tag.

Phrenzee left a message for other future explorers in the front lobby shortly before we left this amazing abandonment.

Don't forget to visit the roof of this great hotel which overlooks beautiful lake Couchiching.
Until next time, Happy & Safe Exploring !

Quick Note : My other Blog, Lorwyn Unleashed has moved to


Goderich Gaol

The Gaol (jail) here is Barrie was the subject of a previous post here. Due to a succession of modifications and renovations over the last 150 years, I was left without a sense of the structures 'original self'. To this end, I sought out it's sister, the Goderich Goal, which not only shares the same architect and design but has remained almost unchanged.

The Huron County Gaol was established as the jail for Upper Canada's Huron District. Construction took place between 1839 and 1842 using stone from the Maitland River Valley and from Michigan.

The octagonal jail was designed by Thomas Young, modelled a Panopticon design first proposed by philosopher Jeremy Bentham in 1791. This design features a circular prison with cells distributed around a central surveillance station. Thomas Young also designed the Barrie gaol which shares a very similar design. The panopticon design at the Goderich jail, has an octagonal central block radiated two foot thick walls, with a height of eighteen feet. Encompassing these walls are perimeter or curtain walls of identical dimensions enclosing exercise yards and jail gardens.

At the time of construction, the united counties of Huron, Perth, and Bruce required both a courthouse and a jail before they could gain official autonomy. To this end, a temporary courtroom and Council Chambers were set up on the jail’s third floor which was originally meant to be used as a chapel. It was in this makeshift Council Chamber that the first Huron District Council meeting was held on 8 February, 1842. The third floor was also used for church services and other public gatherings before proper buildings were available. The county courthouse was completed in 1856, in the centre of Goderich’s Market Square at which time, the jail .

In its time, the Huron County Gaol also served as a home for the aged, the insane, and the poor, in addition to the common criminal. The site ceased functioning as a jail serving Huron County in 1972 and inmates were then transferred to regional jails in Walkerton and Stratford.

Three inmates were hanged at the jail and two were conducted publicly. On 18 December 1861 William Mahone was hanged outside the jail walls.

An exterior wall of the jail was the location of the last public execution that occurred in Canada, when on December 7, 1869, Nicholas Melady was hanged for the murder of his father and step-mother. Edward Jardine was hanged privately on June 16 1911.Steven Truscott also awaited execution in the Huron County Gaol from September 30, 1959, when he was convicted of murder, until his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on 22 January, 1960. Some of the notorious criminals who served time at the jail include individuals like the infamous James Donnelly of the Black Donnelly clan of Lucan, Ontario, at that time part of the County of Huron.

The Huron County Museum has done a very lovely job on restoration and now a museum in this
historic structure.
Until next time, Happy & Safe Exploring !

Quick Note : My 'Magic: The Gathering' Blog, Lorwyn Unleashed, has moved to