Historical Highways Society of Ontario 

Gone now except for the web archives. Wish I had found it sooner. They even had events when they met up. I’m not hugely social but I would have gone to at least one to see what more I could be watching for when I see road signs, bridges and such. I do notice somethings myself. No doubt the group members had more historical information and resources (photos too).

About Us:
The Historical Highways Society of Ontario (H.H.S.O.) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and research of Ontario’s highway heritage. Founded in the Fall of 2003 by the current co-presidents, Josh Anderchek and Cameron Bevers, this group now boasts over twenty members from all parts of Ontario. Through research and documentation, the organization is hoping to preserve the fascinating past of our highways for future generations to enjoy. The group’s research and historical findings will be posted into this website for years to come.

Our Mission Statement:
The H.H.S.O. was created not only to preserve the history of former highways, their routings and changes over time, but to help in continuing the tradition of maintaining our highways viable presence for years to come. This includes being active parts in Public Information Centres for Highway construction, including reconstruction or realignment projects, as well as bringing public awareness to how important it is for our Province to be served with a seamless, high-quality highway system. We also work in suggesting alternatives, and supporting them, in maintaining a historical presence in a highways reconstruction, by having structures restored to there original glamour as close as possible while still maintaining a high standard of public safety.

Source: Historical Highways Society of Ontario – HHSO.ca

Mapping a Human Presence

Original post and photos from Jessica Glasgow (explorer and photographer in Ontario). I like this post from her site and what she wrote about the old houses. I have copied it here to preserve and archive it.

I am constantly fascinated by the amount of character that a home can possess despite its essential bones of wood and concrete. Houses are not living beings, yet there is something about them that maintains a presence or aura. In a small period of time, a home can turn from a capsule for memories and place of from which we map our lives to an empty structure that becomes an arrangement of building materials. What happens after we leave?

In developing this project I hope to convey my personal fascination with the phenomena of abandoned homes and by the virtue of photographing one, map out a human presence that once occupied it. Through mapping it I hope to convey the particular flavour and aura of the house and by means of the contents left within it, begin to tell the viewer a fragmented story of it’s occupants.

Source: jessica glasgow photography: Mapping a Human Presence

Blogging 101: Introduce Yourself

urbanexplorationasciiartUrban exploration covers a lot of different types of exploring and people who explore. First, it’s modern exploration. Not unlike explorers in history who go where few others have gone before, but we tend to focus on what was built and then neglected. The things people may see every day but don’t get close for a good look.

Second, urban exploration is not about salvage or vandalism. Take only photographs and leave only footsteps – that’s the rule. Trespassing is part of it, but most of us have our own rules about how far we go. I will take as many photos as I can from the street when I can’t get closer. But, if access is available I will walk around the building and try to photograph it from all sides. Within reason. I don’t want to take too many risks and as a BBW woman I do watch where I step and avoid close encounters with wild animals too.

I very rarely enter a building. For me this is breaking and entering and not respecting the property of others. If someone were to complain about my being on the property and taking photographs they would have a lot more reason to complain if I were inside versus just walking around in the grass, rubble and abandoned gardens.

Of course, I mainly photograph abandoned farm houses in Ontario. So, there are not many people around when I am there. The few times someone has approached me it was out of curiousity (most often). I would usually get some history of the place from these people and they were happy to tell me all that they know once they knew I was there to document it and not doing anything to cause harm.

So that’s an introduction to this site and myself. You can read more about me on my other sites.

One other thing, the name of this site, Wrecky Rat Bird, comes from my nephew Zack. When he was a little boy we talked to him about the old abandoned places and he began calling them “wrecky rat bird” because they were wrecks with rats and birds living in them. I still call them all wrecky rat bird sometimes, so the name stuck even though the nephew is almost 19 now.