A Bedtime Story for Young Urban Explorers

lonelyskyscraper

Source for image: Jenny Lewis

When I was a kid I had a picture book called `The Lonely Skyscraper`. It was a haunting and beautiful story of a skyscraper who felt empty in the city, because nobody truly lived inside him. Sure, he was full of bustle and noise during the day, but at night he was left dark and alone, but for a few security guards patrolling his floors.
So he uprooted himself and ran away to the countryside, where gradually animals came to live in him, with dormice and birds making nests of his paper supplies, bears hibernating in his basements, and deer grazing the grass that shot up through his forecourt. With so much life inside him, he finally knew peace and happiness.

Source: The Prada store that got left behind | Michael John Grist

Ontario’s Vanishing Highways

This was a link included in a list of Ontario’s roads. All but this and one other of the history links were 404 (gone) on the Internet. I don’t have permission but I am saving the contents with the original link and credit to the source.

 
Ontario’s Vanishing Highways
 
Ontario’s provincial highways are becoming a kind of endangered species these days. In a largely successful effort to get the province’s budget under control, the Ontario government has been “downloading” various expenses onto counties and municipalities, one of which is Ontario’s highway system.

If you look at a map from the early 1990s, you’ll see lots of shield symbols, which represent a King’s Highway (a primary highway designation). Since around 1994, roads have been downloaded by removing the King’s Highway designation and renaming the roadway as a county road. In some cases, the numbered shield symbol has just been replaced with a county flowerpot symbol, and the number has stayed the same. In many other cases, the numbers change.

One casualty of this cost-cutting mechanism was King’s Highway 2, which was the main east-west trunk through southern Ontario before Highway 401 was completed decades ago. Highways 2 and 401 basically ran parallel, so despite the history of the road, it was cut up into strings of county roads with different numbers. Many other highways in Southern Ontario are meeting the same fate– if they haven’t disappeared altogether, they have become discontinuous, with stretches of county-designated roads (some with different numbers) in between the King’s Highway portions… somewhat confusing.

Having lived in southwestern Ontario, I drove or rode my bicycle down many of these highways, and even though they’re just name changes, I still get a little wistful. Highway 2 used to go from Detroit to (almost) Montreal. I lived blocks away from it London, and an old girlfriend lived a block away from it near Toronto. 22, 51, 73 and 81 are gone; 4, 15, 17 and 21 are being carved up, just to name a few.

I was at a farm auction once in 1995 and I saw a group of Ontario highway signs for sale. They looked brand new, but they were a configuration I’d never seen before, with number 3 on it. That made sense, since Highway 3 is nearby, but these were very different signs. I was a student at the time, and I wish to this day I could have afforded the $40 for one. According to my information, Highway 3 (which runs from Windsor to Fort Erie) remains largely intact.

The Ontario highways up in the northern half of the province are fewer in number and more spread out, and as far as I know, they aren’t going to be changing with the times, aside from stretches of road within town limits. Most of the King’s highways, secondary highways, and tertiary highways are staying the same. That’s good news to me… I grew up riding on secondary highways 552 and 556. But as for the King’s highways down south… It’s the end of the road.

Jon Upton : The Back Bumper

Source: TRAFFIC JAM: The Back Bumper – Ontario License Plates

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).
historicalhighways

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

Ghost Sign in Peterborough

peterboroughrooftop

Our Scott Arnold spent the day in downtown Peterborough getting a great vantage of the city’s architecture and buildings from rooftops. Have a look at his great pics below (notice the Market Hall Tower stands out in many).

Source: Postcard Perfect: Rooftop Views Of Downtown Peterborough — PtboCanada

I went to Google Maps to get a better look.

peterboroughghostsign

Original Alma’s Family Restaurant – Permanently Closed?

almaselmvaleclosedSource: Original Alma’s Family Restaurant The – Google Maps

Alma’s was a great place to stop while touring around rural Ontario (Elmvale area). I hope it isn’t true that it has permanently closed. But, I know the owners were not young people any more and likely they decided this was the year to retire.

I will miss it.