There was a day, a few weeks ago, I decided I would try to challenge myself and photograph “ugly” things when I went out for a walk around the city. Of course, it ended up being that really warm, sunny Saturday when so many people were out enjoying the sudden break in weather. It was impossible to not see beautiful things that day. Even the ugliness barely looked ugly. And there were so many couples just wandering around, laughing, holding hands, and a man feeding pigeons. I think that’s just so kind. A lot of people really hate pigeons, but this man had brought a bag of bird seed and was throwing it for them. No word of a lie, he was backlit by the sun, as if he was some kind of angelic being in the gritty centre of the city, feeding the very birds that contribute to its grittiness.
People always seem so much happier on the first warm, sunny days of spring. It did feel good to not wear a coat that day. And the feeling is infectious. But…. on the grey days… there are still solutions to combating the cold and isolation.
Pretty donuts, hot drinks, and a book in a cafe with steamy windows.
Cute, colourful buildings against a dark sky.
Buildings with big windows and weird architectural features…..
Really, whatever you please.
It was really difficult selecting the photographs for this post, because Grimsby Beach is just so cute.
Grimsby Beach is a neighbourhood right on Lake Ontario, not far from Winona. The cottages are candy coloured and still have all their ornate trimmings, the kind that make a place look like a gingerbread or doll house. It’s sort of sweetness overload, as if Sanrio invented a real life town for Hello Kitty to live in. I loved it. There are a few cottages that stand alone, but when you find the original cul-de-sac, you know you’ve arrived.
And when I say original, I mean historic.
(Historical photographs, courtesy of Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives).
Grimsby Beach was originally established as a Methodist campground in the late 1840s. It was a dense forest and liquor was strictly forbidden on the property. By 1888, a temple was built and there were about 70 cottages with fancy gingerbread trim, where people could stay during the camp meetings. There were concerts, lectures, athletic competitions and a beach. After 1908, the location was a picnic area and amusement park. In 1922, the temple was torn down, but many of the cottages still remain and are recognizable in the old photographs of the area. Hamilton Library’s Local History & Archives has an actual archive of that area, (I haven’t gone through it). It’s easy to forget how many interesting places there are in Ontario, and if you ever need to explore a new place, it’s worth it.
We heard that developers had purchased Prudhomme’s Landing, so we immediately went to see the abandoned remains before it all gets turn down. There were at least seven other people exploring the grounds with us that day. The water slide, covered in graffiti, is pretty much a photographer’s dream, particularly when juxtaposed with all the overgrown trees and grass all around. It’s this weird urban treasure in the middle of nature. There was also a hotel and paint ball business on the same location. We checked out all three, but I ended up with nearly one hundred images, so I’m breaking down the posts into individual articles.
I haven’t done extensive research on the topic and neither have any of the pages that appear in the immediate google search listings. When I do, I’ll update for sure. The general consensus is that no one remembers when the park opened. I guess it just appeared out of thin air one day. There seems to be a lot of unknowns around its closure also, but people figure that it wasn’t running after the summer of 2002. It was very busy in its day, and boasted a very scary haunted house (with chicken doors). I sort of remember going through the haunted house once, a few years before it closed, and I’m not exactly brave about that stuff, but I don’t recollect it being unusually traumatizing. The haunted house, which was originally a mansion, burned down. Photos from the park in its heyday are available here.
Prudhomme’s Landing motel burned down a few weeks ago, I think two weeks after I was there. We didn’t run into any ghosts, but Haunted North America has some interesting photos of the park in its abandoned state as well. Much of why they captured wasn’t there by the time we went, at least, not that we saw. My full set of images is available for viewing here with photos of other abandoned places in the area.