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Monday, September 8, 2014

Abandoned Ontario Part 4: Newfoundout

Newfoundout was the last destination on our road trip of Ontario ghost towns, and it was the location I anticipated the most. Newfoundout was another colonization attempt by the Canadian government in the 1850s. Thirteen families settled up on the mountain with the promise that they would inherit land if they successfully built homes and cultivated a farm. Unfortunately, the soil proved poor for agriculture, so the area was abandoned before the 1900s.

Presently, the area around Newfoundout is only used for pasture and forestry, but the old pioneer log cabins remain. This was the one location of the day that felt isolated and deserted, like an actual "ghost" town. We didn't see or hear another soul the whole time. The location didn't dissapoint; there was something soothing and beautiful about witnessing the old buildings being reabsorbed by the environment.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Exploring with a Muppet

This Labour Day long weekend I'm petsitting my professor's dog. Her name is Koda and we've been enjoying some offleashing in Cove Forest.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Abandoned Ontario Part 3: Letterkenny and Gorman Lake

The next part of our road-trip took us on the hunt for one of the hideout cabins of the Italian mobster, Al Capone. The cottage is located in Letterkenny, Ontario, a small ghost town with only a few farmers and residents. From the Ontario Abandoned Places website it sounded like the location was in rough shape and difficult to find, located somewhere up a driveway. It turned out the location was just as hard to find as I anticipated. We decided to take a walk up an long, unmarked driveway that hadn't been accessed in a while.

We walked for 5 to 10 minutes but found no evidence of a cabin in the woods. We did, however, find a broken old vehicle along with several bottles of oil and turpentine. The car looked like it had at one point veered off the road or been pushed into the ditch unwanted. 

Although the trip to find Al Capone's cabin was a bit of a bust, we did find a lovely spot along Letterkenny road to stop. Just north of Letterkenny there was a lake  called Gorman Lake, which had a public beach. As I drove by it caught my eye, so I promptly stopped the car and turned around.

These impromptu adventures are what make me miss my life in Ontario so much. I don't think it's solely the freedom that comes with having a car, I think a lot of it has to do with being around friends who are just as willing to experience something unplanned and impulsive. I suppose that's what happens after you've known each other for so long and don't get to spend much time together. Every moment becomes valuable.

The three of us loved the lake. Stef and Max even took their shoes off to wade in the water while I took photos of the area. Stef later ended up taking the camera from me so I could skip some rocks along the shore. For an overcast day, it sure was beautiful.

Well, that's all for this installment of the adventure. I have one last part left to share, which happens to be my favorite part of the trip...and possibly the best moment of my summer. I can't wait to share and reminisce! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Abandoned Ontario Part 2: Brudenell Cemetery

The next part of our trip was unplanned but a worthwhile stop. On our way to Letterkenny to find one of Al Capone's hideaway cabins we drove through the township of Brudenell. As I was driving, I couldn't help but notice a rather aged cemetery alongside a house that looked fairly neglected. It was a gorgeous house, with adjacent stables and an old till.

Brudenell has a similar story to a lot of the other ghost towns in Renfrew County. The town was pioneered and cultivated in the 1850s by immigrants, and decades later experienced economic decline after the railway was built in nearby Killaloe. However, there is still quite a community living in Brudenell, and I've read that  most are direct decedents from the first founders of the township. This is reflected in the state of the old cemetery. Cemeteries don't get much older here in Canada, but this one was in excellent shape for its age.

The cemetery is called Our Lady of Angels Cemetery, and featured the graves of Irish pioneers who died in Brudenell from 1858 and onwards. I'm not a religious person, but I've always found graveyards very humbling. The three of us took a nice walk around the hilly site to read the names, ages, and birthplaces written on the stones. It's hard to imagine the lives and hardships of these people, trying to build a livelihood from nothing.