Urban Exploration – From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_exploration
Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE) is the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities. Urban exploration is also commonly referred to as infiltration, although some people consider infiltration to be more closely associated with the exploration of active or inhabited sites. It may also be referred to as “draining” (when exploring drains) “urban spelunking”, “urban caving”, or “building hacking”.
Ventures into abandoned structures are perhaps the most common example of urban exploration. Abandoned sites are generally entered first by locals, and often sport large amounts of graffiti and other acts of vandalism. Explorers face various risks in abandoned structures including collapsing roofs and floors, broken glass, guard dogs, the presence of chemicals, other harmful substances, most notably asbestos, hostile squatters and sometimes motion detectors. Some explorers wear respirators to protect their airways.
Looking for an adventurous photoshooting experience, a friend of mine offered to take me on an Urban Exploration session with him. The target was the Barra Castle in downtown Kitchener. The over a century old building is declared a heritage landmark and can not be tore down for that reason, however this aspect of importance does not seem important enough for the city to apply the needed repairs to it. And since the owner does not have the required funds either, the building remains in its current state for another while. How sad. For those of you interested in perhaps visiting the place, keep in mind that the building is closed since it is deemed unsafe for inhabiting. The floors are moldy and being made of wood are likely to give you a very short trip from the top floor to the bottom one. I need not mention the old building dust which will likely give you a sore throat the following day (as I am having now) either. If you do decide to go in, please respect the building as it is a Kitchener landmark and it would be really cool if future generations get to see it as intact as possible. The building is located across the street (pretty much) from the Joseph Schneider haus museum on Queen Street, a little West from the intersection with Courtland Avenue.
Google Maps: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=queen+street+and+courtland+avenue,+kitchener&daddr=43.445295,-80.493787&hl=en&geocode=&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=19&sll=43.445358,-80.493009&sspn=0.001054,0.002543&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=19
More info on the Barra Castle building in downtown Kitchener [The Record, newspaper]: http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/293668
Photographs from the Barra Castle, Kitchener, Ontario – January 2009:
The Red Livingroom – Barra Castle 2009.