New York Pork toronto

The Charred Remains of the New York Pork Slaughterhouse

At the far edge of Toronto's Junction rests the charred carcass of New York Pork. An unassuming boarded facade masks the remains of a terrifying abandoned slaughterhouse, left to rot.

Since the fire of 2006, I had heard various rumors of its unsettling innards (a basement so contaminated a friend had to have chest x-rays done after a visitation, machinery so cruel as to make even the most carnivorous individual cringe), that I simply had to go check it out for myself.

I am no stranger to this neck of the woods, especially when it comes to its abandonments. This turned out, however, to be a fundamentally different encounter. Walking through the grizzly grisly remains and observing its contents, I was able to gather a fairly decent sense of the activities that went on in this building before the fire took it down.

The stark, wide herding room led to a narrow crossing, filtering into a narrow set of gates which would allow the gruesome process to begin...

New York Pork

Rusty hooks still hang in all directions, casting menacing shadows in the darkened rooms...

"I've done work in another facility that handled pork, it was an eerie feeling to have to push the hogs apart to squeeze between them to move through the facility. They hung from the conveyor constantly and you couldn't move anywhere without pushing through them. I had to work on the 'singer' (singe-er) that would burn-off the hair from the hog after death and before processing" (~ fellow explorer)

New York Pork

Slightly overwhelmed by this spectacle, we headed to the offices where we were immediately embraced by what seemed a frozen image of the chaos and frenzy which must have ensued in the last moments of this place.

Looking at the remaining elements -- the scattered tools, clothing and personal artifacts from the workers -- a very sensitive and personal element seemed to re-enter this building.

New York Pork

Walking through the rooms, I was reminiscent of

New York Pork

Polidori's Prypiat. The now silent remains spoke volumes...

New York Pork

At times, it seemed as if the workers had left only moments before. Raccoon-prints in a briefcase filled with sediment, however, quickly grounded these thoughts...

New York Pork

Heading back to the former animal death-arcade, one of my sojourners pointed out some of the more gruesome elements of the facility: examination of the guillotine was shortly followed by glimpses of the massive device which would literally rip the skin off an animal...

New York Pork

The play of shadow and light in the building was at the same time stunning and terrifying; every horror movie came to mind.

New York Pork

With every shot I struggled to take, my nostrils were filled with the rancid reek of charred blood; every step I took further stained my pants and sleeves with the mark of unspeakable acts...

New York Pork

Perhaps it was the unnerving perpetual silence of a place once brimming with life and death, or maybe it was the black stuff I sneezed-up later on, while (somewhat ironically) eating a bacon-cheeseburger -- either way, this is one space I will unlikely re-visit. Like so many truly disturbing things, the pot seems clean on the outside, but it was the murky depths which disturbed me.

As a fellow explorer commented recently, recalling his own experience there after seeing my photos, "it really was an industrial factory of death ".

(To see the rest of the shots, as well as high-res. versions of those above, you can check out my flickr slide-show below.)

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