industrial ruins Toronto

Industrial silence and the solace in decay

Silence is not an attribute one would usually ascribe to urban life. Unlike the typical clamour which seems all too abundant in the life of a city, silence seems to require an active search on our part, if we are to unearth it here. Within the post-industrial built environment, I tend to find the greatest quiet in places which, ironically, once created the greatest noise. Whether factories, power-stations, or processing plants, all of the places depicted in this photo series reveal workplaces long-devoid of their employees; trapped in the silent space between activity and redevelopment (or, sadly, demolition), they bear witness to a past made present by their remnants, while quietly awaiting their fate.

Industrial decay

The remaining silos from the

industrial ruins

Victory Soya Mills

industrial ruins

, pictured below, have sat for years awaiting redevelopment...

industrial ruins

industrial ruins

Machinery at an abandoned Flintkote asbestos factory slowly fades...

industrial ruins

industrial ruins

Empty bottles sit on shelves at a

industrial ruins

decommissioned glass factory

Industrial Decay

in Toronto's west end...

industrial ruins

Destroyed computer equipment scatters one of many floors at an old electronics facility...
Desolate washrooms at an abandoned incinerator on Wellington...
Ill-fated wildlife found in an abandoned automotive plant in Toronto's junction area...
Occasionally, silence is broken by one of our sojourners, Jamie Thompson of the Urban Flute Project. In the following snap, he began to play his instrument in the middle of the ruins of a Metal Tech plant, west of the city...

industrial ruinsindustrial ruinsindustrial ruins

A leaning water tower reminds me that a factory once stood here...

industrial ruins toronto

industrial ruins

Silence is once again broken, this time by a small fire at

industrial ruins

the remaining building of Toronto's Kodak plant

Industrial ruins toronto


industrial ruins

The sounds of nature creep over the ruins of an old paper mill north of Toronto...
A worker's boot remains at an old meat processing plant in west Toronto...

Some last notes in an office at

industrial ruins

the Bunge plant, now demolished...

I take one last look over the pre-ruins of

industrial ruins

the Hearn plant, before making a hasty exit...
Just as in music, where pregnant spaces between the notes has equal power to move the listener, it is the industrial decay, the space between activity and redevelopment, in which I find beauty. This gap allows me to enter into, and project my own imagination onto a piece of history in places where I would otherwise feel unwelcome.

Noise has the tendency to force itself upon you, yet silence tends to draw you in. There is a profound strength in the silence of decay, where we are able to watch nature's slow riot. While I tend to view these entropic spaces as dark playgrounds, I cannot help but recall that these were the buildings which played a large part in creating the city as we know it, and have now merely been left by its wayside.

"The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence
Where is the Life we have lost in living?"

(T.S. Eliot)

(To see the rest of the photo-series, as well as hi-res versions of those pictured above, you can visit my Flickr slide-show below.)

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

More than 50 dogs rescued from Texas snow storms now looking for homes in Toronto

Ontario city trying to attract new residents by giving away pajamas you can wear in public

Travellers arriving at Toronto's Pearson Airport are ignoring new quarantine rules

Major flooding turns Toronto transit station into terrifying water park

Civil liberties advocates criticize Toronto for sending police bill to Adamson BBQ

Toronto businesses say we're not in this together anymore as lockdown continues

CNE planning to reopen for summer 2021 in Toronto

People are sharing their unpopular opinions of Toronto and some are pretty harsh