About This Abandoned Building
On a cold day in November of 2022 I was out exploring with friends Motley Kiwi and s0s1nc3r3, we had run out of our planned locations when s0s1nc3r3 mentioned that he had something in the area for us to check out.
This location was new to us and we had no idea what the story might be, it was set down a bit of an embankment on a large piece of rural property with beautiful sweeping views of the peninsula and rolling hills and its own very large pond.
We entered into the basement to be greeted by colourful 60’s and 70’s wallpaper and a unique Mid Century Modern staircase.
A large hole in the roof provided a steady stream of water directly onto the staircase and given the temperatures that day, all of that water had frozen making for a very slippery walk upstairs.
It was getting late in the day and the sun was setting soon, giving us a fantastic light show of golden hues through the tattered curtains.
We took turns shooting the various rooms, taking in the advanced decay and looking for items of interest, such as a record player that was frozen to the floor, a stone MCM fireplace and the unique exterior with a number of newly added rooms and a missing roof.
We all wrapped up happy and satisfied with another good explore on the books, however none of us actually knew any details of the reason for abandonment or the nature of this land.
During the time that this factory was in operation the employees were constantly exposed to carcinogens, shortening many lives, leaving 100’s of women as widows, children without fathers, causing the surviving families struggling to pay the mortgages. Eventually the bank foreclosed on many of the homes as the surviving family could not afford to keep up with the bills.
Surviving family members say that they can draw a straight line from their husband’s deaths to their current financial troubles, they blame the plant for many of their problems.
There is widespread belief that the industry this factory served left behind a different kind of legacy for many of its workers – in the form of shortened lives, cancers and other health problems they blamed on exposure to hazardous chemicals.
Of the over 400 Workplace Safety and Insurance Board claims filed between 2002 and 2017 by former employees of this company and other companies in the area like it, only 15 per cent were accepted.
Employees were exposed to carcinogens in the form of dust, fumes and solvents during the manufacturing process, chemicals that were often breathed in, although they can also be absorbed through the skin.
This factory was one of three major employers to this city upon its designation in the early 1900’s, the facility has always produced the same product but under several different names, changing in 1966 and the 1980’s.
This building that I am exploring here was a part of a major construction of additions in the 1960’s.
The plant was closed early in 2006, resulting in the loss of over 1,000 jobs, another organization has since resumed operations here making similar compounds for the same industry it has been serving since the early 1900’s.
While the name has changed and safety standards and protocols have changed and improved dramatically – the stigma of sickness and death and a black cloud still looms large over the factory.
To this day, WSIB claims are still being made against this company from former staff and the families of deceased workers.
The north american conglomerate that owns the former companies has declined to comment on whether it carries any responsibility for workplace exposures in previous eras — saying only that its facilities meet or exceed government standards.
The industry has worked to remove known carcinogens from the manufacturing process since the 1980s, when an International Agency for Research on Cancer report showed workers in this industry had elevated rates of many types of cancers.