St. Marys Cement

Beneath the St. Marys Cement Silos in the Junction

In 1912, Alfred Rogers and John Lind founded St. Marys Cement, based in its namesake town in Ontario. The enterprise expanded rapidly, and the cement produced would end up in the creation of many of Toronto's iconic structures, such as Roy Thompson Hall, Maple Leaf Gardens, and most famously, the CN Tower.

In 2010, two friends and I ventured to the derelict St. Marys silos in the Junction. Although an active set of silos remain on the property, many other companies have used the premises throughout recent years, ranging from NRI Rubber, to a bake-house -- all having subsequently abandoned the property. For years I had heard about the site, yet remained unenthusiastic. After exploring the caverns beneath the decaying silos, however, my opinion changed.

St. Marys Cement

Being somewhat of a silophile, the prospect of reaching the hall above the abandoned site intrigued me; sadly, I was informed that the access up had been permanently truncated years before our visit. However, merely seeing the active silos adjacent, with their rig-scales and loading platforms, was enough to push me onward...

St. Marys Cement


St. Marys Cement

Upon our subterranean entry to the neighboring silos, we soon discovered that we were not the only folk' to pass through. Indeed, it appeared that we were actually entering into a place someone calls home...

St. Marys Cement


St. Marys Cement

After realizing that our host was not on the premises, we discovered a very intricate rigging mechanism which they had constructed for exit and entry -- let's just say that the 'landlord' must be a very slender individual...

St. Marys Cement


St. Marys Cement

The conveyors, gears, and everything you would imagine would lie under massive silos, lay all around us...

St. Marys Cement


St. Marys Cement

A few of the items seemed...somewhat ominous...

St. Marys Cement


St. Marys Cement

Since the majority of the area was covered in darkness, we decided to use a few coloured gels we had brought to do a bit of light-painting...
Not wanting to overstay our welcome, we left shortly after this, noticing all the details our unseen friend had hidden beneath this beautiful concrete castle along the way...
There is something about this particular nook in the Junction which always lures me, and will continue to do so. When traveling through the area since, my eyes are always sharp and on the look-out to recognize the silos against the sky. Perhaps it is the almost austere silence which these towering forgotten landmarks seem to impart. Perhaps it is the brutalism of form following function so absolutely. Perhaps, however, it is my adoption of the unwritten space inside the walls, which allows me to project on it what I will.

(To see the rest of the series, as well as high-res. versions of the images above, you can view my flickr slide-show below.)


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