Ringwood Manor

Visiting The Ghost Of Ringwood Manor

During the railway rush in the late 1800s, Mr. Gibson, a contractor, had Ringwood Manor built in the town we now know as Whitby Ontario. Unfortunately, after an economic decline in that arena, the bank foreclosed the property before the turn of the century.

A common landmark for those who cruise the 401 Eastward from Toronto, this beautiful mansion has suffered from many a malady in this last decade. From a broken pipe flooding its interior, to the reckless and insistent work of vandals and arsonists, the place has died a slow death. A descendant of the original builder reported in a local newspaper that they thought the place was beyond repair; perhaps this is true, but it was, and still is not beyond a closer inspection

Built in 1876 (as the keystone above the main entrance so proudly proclaims), the building has seen a great many owners and curators; the fire of 2006, however, leaves me worried as to the building's future. I had driven by this place so many times, but only took the chance to stop and have a better look recently; unfortunately, I was informed that due to the fire, the building is incredibly unsafe inside - and this from a Detroit explorer, who is used to some...pretty sketchy business.

Ringwood Manor

And yet, it still remains so beautiful - hauntingly so, even. To the chagrin of my sojourners, the majority of my snaps of the place were taken in infrared, which, although it requires exposure times of up to several minutes, creates the almost ghostly impression which this building has always left with me.

Not trying to be melodramatic here, I must honestly say that this format of photography really makes one absorb the subject matter in an intuitive manner - because of the time involved in taking a shot, you are able to take in so much more. Because a snap is so difficult to compose, you are forced to really take your time, and while the shutter is closing, you have 40-120 seconds to take a look about - and at a place like this, you realize how isolated you really are. You get a chance to imagine how remote a place like this really was when it was built, and lived in...

Ringwood Manor

As recently as a year or so ago, the glass surrounding this porch was intact...

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Out back (or along the side, if you are driving by) is a beautiful crossover to the mansion's original guest house...

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Quite an imposing facade, I must say...

Ringwood Manor

Think of it as the reverse of the 'white picket fence' idea of housing, in its current state...

Ringwood Manor

Something fundamentally haunts me about these grounds. Perhaps it is the desolation, or my own coming to grips with the fact that I did not seek it out in its prime, although I was well aware of its existence. There is always an element of great sadness, when it comes to abandoned manors; the idea of a home, or idea of home, lost...

Ringwood Manor

In recent years, the site has actually been re-zoned for 'big box' developments, but only in order to save the place for the time being (or so said the re-developers). This space was always a mystery to me, and unfortunately, I got there too late. It will, however, remain a white elephant in my mind - a place for imagination to roam.

You can almost hear the cry in the creaks and groans of the old place, as life and nature run it by. Stopping by the side of the road on a windy evening, between the interminable sea of highway and the lake, I realized how lovely, dark and deep are these forgotten places - these forgotten landmarks.

(To see the rest of the snaps from this series, as well as high-res. versions of those above, you can visit my flickr slide-show below.)

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