Saturday, July 11, 2009

866th Post - Urban Exploration

When I was researching some web links for the recently-published Peter Duffy interview, I chanced upon a website that made me lose a couple of hours to it.

I was looking for more information about The Green Lantern building in Halifax when I found a website that intimated that there are urban explorers in Halifax, in the province, who have been in that building. Ravaged by Hurricane Juan in 2003, it has not been open to the public. The Pogue Fado remains open.

What is urban exploration?

I'm glad you asked.

Urban exploration is what urban explorers do.

What are urban explorers?

I'm glad you asked.

Urban explorers are people who enter abandoned and/or condemned building and explore them. With the internet and things like digital cameras, it is increasingly easy for these folks to find each other and plan and plot urban exploration expeditions.

I am aware of one book which deals with this aspect of our culture. It is called "Creepers", and you can read more about the book by clicking here. I have the book, and will have to do some urban exploration of my own to find it, seeing as how it's buried by some other books in the house somewhere.

This website shows all of the urban exploration expeditions that have been undertaken in Nova Scotia, or at least the ones they care to admit to. You see, this is a highly illegal activity: They're breaking into private property. And it's dangerous: These buildings are often falling apart, may be full of mould, or vermin, or whatever. It's not a place you would probably want to be.

You'll notice that one of the places they list is "Canning". I'm from that part of the province, so I clicked on that entry. A couple of guys broke into a building, looked around, and shot some pictures (mostly interior shots) of... my old high school!

I spent 3 pretty agreeable years of my life at Cornwallis District High School. It closed in 2001, and I was there for the closing festivities. Afterward, the community tried to keep part of the building going, but it was too expensive, or too much bother, so they threw up their hands. The building was razed around 2006. Sad day.

It was sad, as well, looking at the pics that these guys took. The building was in a poor state of repair. It is not fun to look at them. Yet... I feel a little debt of gratitude to these guys for capturing the final images of the school.

Do you want to join the Urban Explorers or get my information? Good luck! The website and an associated (closed) facebook presence were all I could find on them. Even much of the website is unavailable to me. However, one piece I was able to pinpoint indicates that their next meeting is on August 2nd at noon at the Just Us! coffee shop on Spring Garden Road. I knew there was a Just Us! place on Barrington, but not on SGR.

Other times they have met at the Second Cup on Spring Garden Road. Whoever runs the local chapter would write "UER" on a small piece of cardboard-type paper and fold it to make it look like a tent, placing it on the table he's sitting at, as a signal to interested parties to come over and join the conversation.

An interesting part of our underground culture, huh? Urban exploration, Nova Scotia. Urban exploration, Halifax. It's easy to think that something like that would not happen around here. Makes me wonder what type of person would want to dig around in an abandoned building. I think I'll read that Morell book.

But... I still wonder if they ever got into the Green Lantern Building? And what they found therein?

P.S. T-5 days!

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