Race to the Top – 2018
Blue Bonnets Raceway’s history dates back to it’s roots in 1872 when it operated at the Jos. Decary Farm located in the neighbourhood now known as Montreal West. It was later moved to a new location on Decarie Boulevard in 1907. In 1958 a new multi-million dollar clubhouse was built (pictured here). In 1995 Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal (SHDM) who were the current owners renamed the racetrack Hippodrome de Montreal. Shortly after being renamed the municipal government corporation SHDM sold the racetrack to the provincial government agency SONACC (Societe nationale du cheval de course), during the province’s ownership the track hosted harness racing, inter-track wagering from the US and off-track betting, it also housed two restaurants, hundreds of video lottery terminals and slot machines. In October of 2009 the Hippodrome de Montreal declares bankruptcy and shuts the doors permanently.
After the ownership of the racetrack had been returned to the City of Montreal demolition finally began on the building this past summer. Although there are no current plans set in stone, it is speculated that the racetrack’s former site could see between as many as 3000 to 8000 new condo units built within it’s 434,000 square metre terrain in the future.
Blue Bonnets Raceway (Hippodrome de Montreal), Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Plastic – 2018
Years of sitting on a plastic covered couch in an effort to keep it pristine, only to leave it behind after you move out.
One of the many units found inside this low income housing complex that is destined to be demolished.
Waterboarding – 2016
An abandoned indoor swimming inside this house that was literally coming apart at the seams.
50 Shades of Brown – 2018
Servers With a Smile – 2018
Computer servers left behind in the office building of an abandoned factory.
Overprocessed – 2018
Southern Ontario is going through a major transitioning phase, properties are being bought up to be redeveloped into higher density housing to accommodate the massive influx of people to the area. The towns and cities have outgrown their boundaries and there is only one other direction to go and that is up. Condominiums are on the rise, some are small low-rise buildings, rows of town houses, sometimes as many as a dozen homes all connected side by side. Others rise upwards towards the sky covered in glass with the average price costing over $550,000, that’s more than the average household income can afford. What makes Southern Ontario so great, that everyone wants to move here? Any ideas? Put your answers below in the comments.
This kitchen was part of a low income rental housing complex slated for demolition for you guessed it….more shiny condos.
The Stash – 2018
I generally feel fairly safe when photographing these deserted buildings since they are often devoid of life but there are a few locations where even after a building is no longer occupied, life continues to thrive. Sometimes it’s a bird that flew in through a broken pane of glass or a family of raccoons that crawled into the attic but these types of intruders are far more scared of you than you are of them. Then there are the people that go to these places after they become disused, more often than not it’s photographers or “urban explorers” who like to visit these places for various reasons and generally do not pose a threat to the buildings themselves. There are also the vandals, taggers and scrappers, who do not have good intentions and end up leaving these spaces in worse condition than before they arrived. The third type of person you can find in these places, although far less common, are the drug addicts and the squatters. They are usually harmless and generally stay away from any other visitors but they can be unpredictable and therefore should be avoided.
I visited this urban hotel and knew that it had a bit of a reputation beforehand and had heard that squatters were currently using the space. During this visit I was not exploring alone and so with caution I wandered the hallways of this 100+ year old hotel taking note that many of the doors to the rooms were closed, I avoided those parts initially since I didn’t want to walk in on someone that called the 15×15 foot space home. After having seen most of the building with a general idea of the areas I wanted to photograph, I walked through the space again to see what was behind some of the closed doors. Knocking first before opening doors, I did not find anything that different from the other rooms. There were definitely signs of squatters throughout the hotel with half eaten food laying around amongst the used needles and other drug paraphernalia, but fortunately nobody was there at the time.
I returned two weeks later taking note of the changes that had taken place since my last visit, a lot more items were strewn about, a blanket now hung in the doorway of the entrance to the building and four litre bottles of water sat on the window sills of the once quiet building. This time I was alone and I was even more hesitant to enter but I did so anyway since I wanted to photograph some of the areas I had missed during my previous visit. It was hot, easily above 35C with the humidex and I thought to myself there is no way anyone would be inside this sweltering building on such a hot day, so I continued. As I walked down a hallway I passed about three doorways before I saw a man in his underwear laying down on a bed inside one of the rooms, at first I thought he was asleep but then I saw him twitch and he continued to move about restlessly, that was enough for me and I decided it was best to make a hasty retreat back to the safety of the city streets. I would still like to return to this location before the wrecking ball moves in but unfortunately, I think that window of opportunity has come and gone.