Friday, 17 November 2017

A few minutes in . . . Candiac

Candiac, Saskatchewan on November 12, 2017. Not a ghost town. There are less than fifty people living here in a few modern homes. Candiac has some interesting old buildings that have long been abandoned. It was my first time here. I had heard about some of the old stuff here. I did a quick drive through the town just to take a look. I would love to come back here in the summer.

Former store.

Former business of some kind.

An old McCormick Deering tractor.

Beautiful church. I do not know if it is still in use.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The wall of text post

Years and years ago I used to hang out at a place called Sunset Billiards just off downtown Calgary. Sunset Billiards was a pool hall with a few coin operated games. The hours were nine to five, nine in the morning until five in the morning. I really do not know why they ever bothered to close for four hours.

No matter what time of the day of night there was always someone playing. The odd thing is that I can only remember one person working there that ran the place and he seemed to always be there. For some reason that I never found out he let my friend and I play and charged us very little or nothing at all. Being a reasonably poor college student I spent many hours, possibly hundreds, playing there. More than a few times I spent straight eight hours playing. No matter how much I played I could never any good at snooker. The bigger tables seemed to stymie me. I played enough eight ball to get somewhat good. My problem is that I did not have any natural talent. I got to the point where I could run the table a few times but I considered that luck more than skill.

I never neglected my classes or my studies. After school obligations were met my friend and would meet up and frequently play until the doors were closed. What does one do at five in the morning when you can no longer shoot pool? We would head over to Chinatown for fried rice and Chinese beer. It was cheap and it was good. After that you had no choice except to call it a night. Or in this case a very early morning.

There were some excellent players there. There were a few sketchy types. I never saw any fights. There were some Chinese players that really got caught up in playing three ball. That was a game I never understood.

There was also a coin operated tabletop hockey game. My friend and I would monopolize this when we were not playing pool. Every time we played the hockey game it would be a best of seven series and I spent a lot of quarters on it. It got to the point where we were so evenly matched most times it came down to a game seven. One time some guy pestered me and my friend for a game. He insisted he was the tabletop hockey champion of Canada. We laughed at that one. These days there likely is a Canadian champion, every other activity seems to have a champion of something. To get him to leave us alone we each played him and both of us beat him with a shutout. 

Sunset Billiards closed some years ago absorbed by downtown sprawl and those days are well in the past. For me it was a great place to hang out and it usually did not cost me a lot of money. Other than pool tables, some games, and cues they did not have a lot invested in the place. You could get pop or chips, no alcohol. It was a plain open space and nothing fancy. There are no cheap pool halls anymore. There should be. Anti-smoking laws killed a lot of them. For the ones that do exist owners think you have to offer food and craft beer with loud music in the background and it has to be an experience. I have not played in years and have no idea if there is a decent place to play.

There are few if any places to just hang out these days without it costing you an arm and a leg. A lot of the fun has been taken out of things and I kind of feel for people in their late teens and early twenties. I really cannot see how playing video games all weekend can be all that entertaining. Fun is where you find it. I do it these days with exploring and taking photos. I would love to find an interesting place to hang out one of these days. 

Fortress of barnitude

You hardly see old stone buildings in Alberta. There are a lot more of them in Saskatchewan. I saw this barn over by Francis, Saskatchewan on November 12, 2017. The lower part is stone. I am guessing it is abandoned as it looks in rough shape. It says Ambray Farm on the front.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Catholics have Vatican City

The Lutherans have a road.

Saskatchewan November 11, 2017

Getting clipped

I am not really a fan of "World's Largest . . . " that you see in small towns. This one is unique. This is the world's largest paperclip in Kipling, Saskatchewan. I remember the story that went with it at the time. I found myself in Kipling on November 12, 2017 and saw a sign with an arrow that said "Paperclip". Since I was already there I just had to turn and drive a few blocks to see it.  

From the Town of Kipling's internet page:

"On July 12, 2005, while living in Montreal, Kyle Macdonald launched an unlikely sequence of online trades which would earn both him and Kipling places in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Starting with a single redpaper clip, the young entrepreneur began “trading up”: the paper clip for a fish-shaped pen; the pen for a unique door knob and the door knob for a camp stove.

This he swapped for a generator, which was subsequently traded for a keg party.

Ensuing trades were for a snowmobile, a snowmobiling adventure to Yahk, BC,

A cube van, a recording contract, a year’s condo rental in Phoenix, AZ, then for a day with Alice Cooper.

The entrepreneur next arranged for a double switch with Actor-Director Corbin Bernsen, an avid collector, who agreed to accept a “KISS” snow globe in exchange for a role in an upcoming Hollywood movie.

The movie role was offered online and Bert Roach, who was Kipling’s Economic Development Officer at the time, proposed to Council that an offer be made. After some negotiation, Kipling traded the house at 503 Main Street in exchange for the movie role. That final trade was made on July 12, 2006, one year to the day after Kyle Macdonald had begun his world record trade sequence with a single paper clip. The house itself is now most often referred to as “The Red Paper Clip House”.

As a part of the terms of the trade, Kipling also erected the World’s Largest Red Paper Clip, which was unveiled July 12, 2007."

Kyle donated the house to the Town of Kipling moving away in 2008. This is the house which now houses a museum and cafe.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A little bit here, change that there . . .

I posted this yesterday. After looking at it many more times I did a little cropping and changed it to black and white. I think I like this look more.

Barn it all

My titles need work. Near Arrowwood, Alberta November 5, 2017.

Monday, 13 November 2017


Dead tired. Fit in a road trip for various reasons. Crammed too much into too little time. Entirely self-inflicted so I only have myself to blame. 

Abandoned Lutheran Church

Morse, Saskatchewan, November 12, 2017.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

A truly miscellaneous post

I take and delete a number of photos. Some are duplicates, some turn out to be lousy. Then there are the ones I hang onto. Most get organized into some kind of system. Some of those I forget why I am hanging onto them. Others I thought might make some kind of post. Of course there are always the ones when you look through your photos and you do not remember taking them or why. These ones I really do not know what to do with them if anything. So they are getting dumped in a random photo post.

I liked the stark look of this windmill. I gave up trying to do anything more with the photo.

I liked the sign. I could not get a good enough photo of the church to get more of a post.

I used to have a dog. I found the sign amusing.

A solitary photo of a truck near Trout Lake, BC on private property. I would have like to get more angles. Only so much you can do from the road.

Rural Alberta cemetery. The sign was the most picturesque part.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Lest we forget

Came across this during a road trip in Saskatchewan August 12, 2017. This is a memorial marker for two people who enlisted to fight in World War II and never made it. 

P.J. Haley, a student from Australia, and J.D. Douglas, a Canadian flying instructor, died in a training accident 12-2-1945. They were part of the British Empire Air Training Program. This is just off Highway 21 south of Unity, Saskatchewan.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Skybo School 1908 - 1957

A compact former one room school north of Stettler, Alberta. After it ceased being a school it was sold to a ladies club and was restored. I do not know if anyone is using it now.

Right beside the school is a little memorial put up for someone.

"In Memory of Wayne Dahl 1956 - 2006.

To the pathfinder, the marker of the trail
We who follow, will not fail
To stay the course, that you have set for us
Through act, advise or example
As the light fades, upon these last days
We will follow the path"

No idea if it is related to the school. Nice sentiment.

Definitely one of the smaller schools I have seen.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Striking out

Sometimes you go out to explore the countryside with the intent of taking a few photos and seeing what inspires you. November 5, 2017 was one of those days where none of the marbles seemed to drop into their proper holes and nothing of any consequence happened. There is a very picturesque windmill near Arrowwood, Alberta that I pulled over to take some photos to go with my set I had taken in the spring. Just as I pulled over a truck pulled ahead of me into the field, parked in front of the windmill, and a farm couple started pulling out tools and lumber to do some repairs.

The farmer noticed me at the side of the road and started walking towards me. He asked if I was lost. I mentioned I wanted a photo of his windmill. He offered to hop in his truck and move it so I could take a photo. I thanked him for the offer but I could not let him do that. I told him what he was doing was more important than what I was doing. There will be other days.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Abandoned Alberta

Near Mossleigh, Alberta November 5, 2017. The first snowfall of the year that hangs around always looks nice. I do not mind winter. I miss summer because last summer had such great weather. Hard to tell if this was an old house or barn.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The secret to finding stuff . . .

. . . is to put some effort into looking for it.

I belong to a few online groups where people look for abandoned places or historical spots. There are times I get asked for locations, the same requests are made for some people I know who's interests overlap mine. I am wary of giving out any locations as rural Alberta has been experiencing a crime wave of mainly property theft. Our laws are not really working and with people getting fed up I am sure there will be some cases of vigilante justice.

Another reason is that some people that ask for locations need to have some kind of credibility. On the forums that I belong to that are regulars that post photos. If one of them asks me about a spot I usually have no problem giving the information. If someone contacts me and has not posted anything I usually do not give out anything. There are a few people that just want some stuff handed to them.

If you want to explore and take photos then go out and do it. Some drives are fruitless, some are not. Look county maps. A lot of them list old and new cemeteries as well as other features. If there was once a church there might be something else nearby. I also look through Google Earth and Bing aerial view. Sometimes you see old buildings or other features that stand out. This church marker is at 50.222942, -113.255813 (just type this "50.222942, -113.255813" into Google or Bing maps and it will show you the location). I only found it because I was trying to get to 50.215391, -113.254226 which looked like a cemetery that I found on Bing. I tried driving out to the cemetery on November 5, 2017. There was enough snow that drifted in places where I decided against driving on that particular road that ran alongside it. I ran across the church marker on the way. The two go together. I have nothing against posting these locations as there is really nothing there. My point is there are ways of looking for things and you may or may not find something interesting when you to to check it out. I found this by doing some searching when I had a few minutes.

By the way, taking photos of rural places can look suspicious to people. I was stopped at the side of a secondary road yesterday thinking of taking a photo of a building when a farmer pulled up in a pickup. I explained what I was doing and handed him a business card so he could check out who I am if he wanted to verify my identity later. He and I chatted a bit about rural crime and he told me to be careful as landowners are getting jumpy with recent crime.

Here you can see there are not any trees. In this part of Alberta there are not a lot of abandoned buildings. Spots frequently got moved or re-purposed fairly quickly years ago. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Abandoned Lutheran Church

This is near Torrington, Alberta on October 22, 2017. I was here before in the winter and posted it then. It is much better to take photos in warmer weather. There is a small cemetery on this plot of land. The church is locked. The church is on a hill and from the road that runs north/south along it you can see the Rocky Mountains off in the distance.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Sledge hockey

At Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

My nephew was at a practice session. I was not able to get a decent shot of him. Last year at the end of the season my nephew's team wound up getting the gold in a tournament. The last game went into overtime. I wished I was there to see it. I was committed to something else at the time.

Sledge Hockey is hockey for those with different abilities. You sit in it. Underneath the seat are skate blades. You propel yourself with two short hockey stick that have metal cleats on one end. I tried to get a video clip however the skaters are a little too fast for my video skill level. I will try getting a clip again sometime.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

It has been snowing and I miss summer

O'Shaughnessy Falls July 9, 2017 in Kananaskis Country along Highway 40 west of Calgary. This is right beside the highway. It was 30C and a welcome opportunity to cool off for a few minutes from riding the motorcycle. I filled a empty bottle with water from the falls, drank it, and refilled it. Something to be said for water from a waterfall. Great stuff. 

Friday, 3 November 2017

Motorcycle problems

Got whacked with a snowstorm starting yesterday. Motorcycle season is done for now.

Canoe school

Actually an old schoolhouse in Canoe, British Columbia on October 28, 2017. I was visiting family in Canoe and thought that looked like a former schoolhouse. That being the case I just had to stop. I am still looking for some information on it. I think it was used as a school until the 1950's.

By the way, this part of British Columbia is absolutely gorgeous in the fall.