Abandoned Ontario Mansion of Murals

This fascinating house in Ontario has been vacant for many years now. It’s not clear why it won’t sell, despite being on the market for some time now. The realtor won’t give any details as to the circumstances of the house being put up for sale.

Entry to this house was tricky but we managed to find a way inside without breaking in (something we don’t do). I will tell you that the house is now alarmed with an external siren that is quite loud.

There are murals on the walls and ceilings. I felt a mix of nauseousness and amazement. A sun room joins the house to the garage.

abandoned mansion ceiling murals and medallions
Ceiling murals and medallions throughout the house
million dollar mansion ceiling mural in bedroom
There’s a mural in the bedroom of course

chandeleir
Chandeleir
untouched dining room furniture
Dining room with furniture left behing
wall mural
Lovely wall murals
wall mural

When we learned of this amazing mansion, we knew that we’d have to get on the ball and head out before it become a hot spot for activity. We hit the road by 8 AM and were there before noon. Unfortunately the first visit proved unsuccessful and a return visit was required.

Little is known about this property except that the home has failed to sell in recent years. Most of the furniture remains left behind as do children’s toys in a bedroom closet and electrical items throughout. In the dining room is a kitchen table and buffet with several ceramic canisters inside.

living room
Living room with a view

I tried to find background information for this house and what, if anything, led to the family’s departure and possible reason for the house not to be resold. Unfortunately we could only find a single reference to the former family – a phone number that allowed no incoming calls.

Outside the home is an old Jaguar with front-end driver’s side damage and flattened tires.

This is the bar area with fireplace, marble floor and more murals.

Several of the bedrooms have murals painted on the ceiling while the entertainment room is a marvel of several murals, medallions and carved angels. One might go so far as to suggest this place is ‘tacky’ or over decorated. I found it one of the most memorable explorations of 2017.

upstairs master bedroom
master bedroom


There’s a sun room, multiple car garages, basement rec room, home theatre room, hot tub and a large master bedroom with a deck. The back yard is very spacious and offering an impressive view.

Shortly after our visit the home was removed from the real estate market. It’s unknown whether the home was purchased or not. The proper classification of this house would be ‘inactive’ and ‘for sale’, not ‘abandoned’. At the same time we do use the word ‘abandoned’ as a classification that would cover this property.

Nobody has returned to determine if the house was purchased or just secured, and the mystery of who lived here and why they left will for now continue to be elusive.

mural

ceiling mural of an Angel
ceiling mural of an Angel with bow and arrow

master bedroom

elegance or ugly?
It’s almost too much yet you just can’t stop looking

another ceiling mural

fire place and mural

Mona Lisa

The house remains vacant as of 2020, and the alarm is on.

Exploring an Abandoned Ontario Funeral Home & Embalming Room

abandoned funeral home coffin

This abandoned funeral home for all intents and purposes, looks like any other funeral home that you’d expect to find in a Canadian city. It’s situated in an urban area of Southern Ontario and from outward appearances the exterior of the building is clean and the grounds are maintained.

Upon closer scrutiny however you’ll discover that the business is no longer in use. One rumour is that the owner retired, another is that the owners are transitioning locations. Entry to the building took some figuring out but once inside we were greeted with an immaculate funeral home. The electricity was still operational and we were quick to notice that an alarm system was installed.

We made our way to the chapel where funeral services would have been held before the deceased was driven by hearse to the cemetery. Several light switches adjusted the ceiling and spot lights, setting the appropriate mood for services.

What made this location different from other similar explorations was the inventory left behind. We observed thousands of dollars in coffins and urns, some of them not even opened. 

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viewing room
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coffin in the chapel

The showroom was located in the upstairs of the business where various coffins were on display.  

child's coffin abandoned Ontario funeral home
chldren’s coffin
body bag abandoned Ontario funeral home
body bag
embalming equipment abandoned Ontario funeral home
embalming equipment

corpse makup abandoned Ontario funeral home, abandoned Ontario funeral home , urban exploration photography, urban explorer, urban exploring, creepy, decay, abandoned, abandoned Ontario, abandoned exploring, abandoned houses, time capsule, abandoned photography, abandoned places
corpse makeup

Since my initial visit, some items have disappeared from the embalming room such as the makeup. There is water damage occurring on the upper floor and the wooden flooring is now buckling. 

Someone is maintaining the property as some photographers have been contacted about removing their photographs of this location. 

This abandoned funeral home remains closed to this day. Someone has been back to lock the property up an last I had heard there was no way inside.

Abandoned Ontario Haunted Pet Cemetery (Aurora)

abandoned pet cemetery

During the early 20th century long before 24-hour retailers and high speed internet, people were able to take the time to appreciate the simpler qualities in life. Loyal companionship wasn’t determined by the hundreds of people on your social media that you rarely spoke with. Companionship during those lonely nights came in the form of a loyal four legged friend. 

Victor Blochin

Victor P. Blochin was a major in the Russian Red Army. While fighting during the First World War he was captured and became a prisoner of war in Germany. One of his fellow captives was a man named Angus Campbell, who was the Lord of Dunstaffnage Castle in Scotland. Campbell befriended Blochin and told him about his West Highland (or Westie) breed of dogs that he kept at his castle. When the war ended Blochin travelled to Scotland to claim a dog that Campbell had set aside for him. The dog was named Snejka which means ‘Little White Snow Flake’. Blochin remained at the Scottish castle working as a gardener and groundskeeper until the 1920’s when he moved to Canada, along with a male (a son of Snejka’s) and a female Westie. 

Blochin settled in Aurora, Ontario and purchased land upon which he designed and built a stone house which he named Silverdale Farm. In 1927 he opened Bencruachan Kennels. 

pet grave of dog Teddy 1937
Teddy – died January 4, 1937

beloved Westie - Abandoned Ontario pet cemetery
Cathie Parkhill, beloved Westie, 1950- 

Little Dinty - Abandoned Ontario pet cemetery
Little Dinty, loved companion of Wilson and Peters for 14 years, 1940 

Anne Elizabeth Wilson

Anne Wilzon first entered the publishing field after college. She worked in New York before moving to Canada and joining the Musson Book Company. She then transferred to the Maclean Publishing Company where she was associate editor of Canadian Homes and Gardens and Mayfair magazines. Wilson was the founding editor of Chatelaine Magazine, a position she resigned from when she married Victor Blochin in 1929.

Bencruachan Kennels would become one of the most respected dog breeding kennels in the world. Blochin won several awards for the dogs that were bred at the kennel and had a trophy named after him – The Victor Blochin Memorial Trophy.

The kennel had a cemetery located in the nearby forest which was used for burial of the couple’s pets. The couple erected a stone memorial that read, “Our Dear Pets: they lived happy and died beloved – Anne Elizabeth and Victor Blochin, 1933.”  

Bunny grave - Abandoned Ontario pet cemetery
Fleming, “Bunny” 9 years 1968 

Tiny Tay Kitty pet grave - Abandoned Ontario pet cemetery
England, loved pets Tiny Tay Kitty, 1924-41. Princy Pete 1937-47 

In time the cemetery became a public burial grounds for pets and known as “Happy Woodland”. Besides dogs and cats the cemetery contained the remains of birds, rabbits, a soldier’s horse and a monkey named Peter. The grounds were cared for; weeds were pulled and flowers planted. Elizabeth Anne would often invite the pet’s owners into their home for tea.

Caskets were sold for $50 and many prominent families buried their pets in the cemetery and purchased a granite headstone.

Besides raising West Highland Terriers, the couple also made and delivered special dog food. Blochin gave lessons in Russian and chess.

Before her marriage, as Elizabeth Wilson, Mrs. Blochin was a well known author of short stories and articles. She wrote a book titled “That Dog of Yours” published in 1941 by Macmillan Company of Canada, Ltd.. The book dealt with the raising and care of dogs.  

Pepper - Our faithful comrade
Pepper, our faithful comrade

Abandoned Ontario pet cemetery

Our “Sally” Mizpah 1953-1958

Ralph German shepherd - Abandoned Ontario pet cemetery

Ralph, 1954-1967. German Shepherd. Dear friend of ? Vic Kremer 

Our faithful collies - Abandoned Ontario pet cemetery

Our faithful collies. Vicky 1949-1958, Tammy 1958-1968, Cindy 1958-1971 

Paranormal Experiences

According to Mrs. Blochin’s book there were paranormal experiences that occurred on the property. Several hundred animal lovers had attended a ceremony for the unveiling of a central monument. A visitor to the ceremony took a photograph of a flower filled grave marker.

Mrs. Blochin writes, “… On developing the negative, the photographer was amazed to see, clearly defined in the picture, the figure of a dog lying at the foot of the grave. She sent it to us with the query: ‘Is this the spirit of your Happy Woodland? It was the undeniable likeness of a dog, though there were no living dogs in the cemetery at the time.

When the photograph was shown to the owners of the grave, they immediately recognized it as being that of their small mongrel who had been buried a few months prior. The owners showed several photographs of the dog taken while it was alive and the resemblance was striking. 

Snoopy Burgess pet grave - Abandoned Ontario pet cemetery

Our faithful friend, Snoopy Burgess. July 1, 1960-March 2, 1969 
We loved him so 

Wolf 1958

Ghost Dog

In another story told in Mrs. Blochin’s book, a dog of hers named Solo had escaped from the kennel one afternoon. Thinking that the dog would return, the family sat down for their evening meal. A few minutes later the evening train roared past the houe. Mrs. Blochin saw Solo run past the dining room window and away from the railroad tracks. 

The next morning Mrs. Blochin set out with another dog in search of Solo. As she was passing through a wooded spot, Solo suddenly appeared. He trotted up to the other dog, and both wagged their tails, nuzzling each other. Solo was within a few feet of Mrs. Blochin, and there could be no possibility of a mistake in identification. 
Turning towards home, Mrs. Blochin was surprised to discover that Solo had disappeared.

When she arrived at the house, her husband hesitantly informed her that Solo’s body had just been discovered on the railroad tracks. The dog had apparently been killed by the prior night’s train.  

Zita doberman - Abandoned Ontario pet cemetery

Zita doberman pinscher, Nov 1, 1946 – April 3, 1955. Beloved pet of the Wade family 

In 1975 Victor sold his kennel to two young men who continued operating a kennel on the property.. The new business operated until 2011 when it was closed to make way for a new municipal shelter. As part of the original agreement of the sale, Victor insisted that the land would always be used for the betterment of animal’s lives.  

The earliest markers are from the 1930’s and the latest marker is from about the year1975. It’s quite likely that the owners of these pets have also passed away. There’s no organization to the markers – you’ll find them everywhere. Forest growth has covered up many of them and we missed finding many of them during our visit. The actual number of graves will never be known however one visitor wrote that they’d seen at least 200 of them. It would be best to visit here in the spring before the weeds begin to grow.

The land is being proposed for the location of a 195-unit subdivision. The developer has agreed to honor any historic designation granted to the cemetery. Finding the location isn’t easy and rumour is that the locals don’t want it being found. The remoteness of this location means vandals could cause significant damage and given the uniqueness of this location, we’re choosing not to disclose the whereabouts. Even if you were to find the general area, it’s surrounded entirely by forest and the road leading in belongs to a private household. If you do manage to find this location, please remember that this is a place where people buried loved animals and it represents over 80 years of memories. Preserve don’t destroy.

It isn’t just animals buried on the property. A woman named Florence Capstick was a regular visitor to the kennel, and an avid animal lover. Although she had no pets of her own buried at Woodland Pet Cemetery, her will requested that her ashes be scattered over the grounds of the Woodland Cemetery.

Additional photos from the pet cemetery can be seen here

Martin Weiche’s Nazi House – Abadoned Bergof in London Ontario

The Martin Weiche Nazi House as it’s commonly referred to is located in London, Ontario. Weiche referred to it as The Berghof. Martin Weiche was born in the East German town of Lebus in 1921. He along with his family moved to Berlin in 1938. He became a member of the Hitler Youth Movement.

Weiche was a self-professed Nazi who fought for the Germans during the Second World War. He arrived in Canada in 1951.  How did he ever make it through immigration?

Weiche said that he found out through his business dealings with Jews, that they never kept their word. Weiche also said that Jews had a desire for wealth whereas Aryans when they were financially successful would move on to other interests such as art and music.

Weiche worked as an electrician, construction of the Fanshawe dam and went on to build and manage apartment complexes in the London and Sarnia area. In 1962 he incorporated a business named Weiche Apartments Ltd. Each of his children were given shares in the company.  

In 1967, Weiche purchased a property located on Gainsborough in London, Ontario where his home was built approximately three years later.  The front of the home was guarded by two Third-Reich eagle statues, one on each side of the driveway. He modelled his home after Adolf Hitler’s Bavarian mountain home and named it “The Berghof”. In his den was a wall filled with guns modelled after Hitler’s Alpine Retreat.

In 1968 Weiche ran in the federal election as a National Socialist. 

In 1972 the Toronto Sun published an article about the Ku Klux Klan being in Toronto. Shortly thereafter the Contrast newspaper received a letter from someone who identified themselves as Martin Weiche. The letter stated that there were no Klan members in Canada simply “ordinary folks who don’t like n****”

On November 8, 1974 Weiche allowed 25 members of the KKK to use his property for a cross burning ceremony because, “they needed a place” Weiche was quoted as saying.

“I am a Nazi, I am not a lunatic,” Weiche allegedly once told a London, Ontario divorce judge. On the topic of marriage, according to a June 25, 1981 London Free Press article, Weiche was on his third marriage. He had seven children from his first marriage.

By 1982 Weiche had become bankrupt losing approximately 270 apartments in London and 74 in Sarnia. Weiche indicated that the bank had foreclosed on his loan due to his Nazi views.

Among the items owned by Weiche were an autographed copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf which he kept on a shelf beside a Hemingway biography .

In his back yard was a large swastika cut into the grass. When Google Satellite View was introduced, the location became a controversial topic. Amusingly enough the swastika was made facing the left, a sign for Hinduism and Buddhism.

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The Berghof
The front of the house, overgrown grass and walkway  - Martin Weiche House in London, Ontario.
Front of the Nazi house. There’s a separate apartment just to the right.

Martin Weiche's Hitler memorabilia room - Nazi House London Ontario
This would have been the room that the Hitler memorabilia was in.

The main room, you can vaguely make out where the photographs used to be on the wall.

living room portrait showing the spot where the Hitler portrait hung in Martin Weiche's house

The photo above shows the area I believe the portrait of Hitler would have been mounted.

Undated photo of Martin Weiche in the Berghof , urban exploration photography, urban explorer, urban exploring, creepy, decay, abandoned, abandoned Ontario, abandoned exploring, abandoned houses, time capsule, abandoned photography, abandoned places
Undated photo of Weiche in the Berghof 

Swastikas can be seen on the exterior of the house
Swastikas can still be seen on the exterior of the house 

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Carpeted bathroom with an unusual shower (approx. 3 feet down from floor level)

Martin Weiche Nazi house - Swastika mowed into the lawn of this undated photo.
The swastika (incorrectly) displayed in the lawn of this undated photo 

Looking out from the main entrance , urban exploration photography, urban explorer, urban exploring, creepy, decay, abandoned, abandoned Ontario, abandoned exploring, abandoned houses, time capsule, abandoned photography, abandoned places
Looking out from the main entrance 

Weiche ran for the mayor of London in 1976 and gained 3% of overall votes. 

In 1986 his family’s company name was changed to Weiche Estates Inc.

Martin Weiche house in London, Ontario

Around 1992, approximately forty members of an Ontario Aryan Support Group attended the property for a cross burning ceremony.

Following his death in 2011 from liver failure, Martin’s widow Jeannet remained in the home. His two sons, Jacob and Allan then sued the estate when they learned that the estate had been willed to Jeannet. The furniture and personal items were left to his wife except for the items in the living room. The living room was styled after a room in Hitler’s retreat including a portrait for Hitler. Those items were to remain with the property.

Swastikas in the wall of the Martin Weiche Nazi house in London, Ontario
the Hitler room

The brothers want the court to declare the 2004 property transfer was “fraudulent.” In their statement of claim, they’re seeking an injunction to stop the defendants from doing anything with the property and want a court declaration that Berhof Estate Inc. holds the title in trust for the family. 

Martin Weiche Nazi House

The property worth $1.2 million the sons claim, was to be developed and severed into seven residential lots. Middlesex County wouldn’t permit the rezoning. Weiche and Jeannet transferred ownership of the property (known as Weiche Estates Inc.) to a company under Jeannet’s control.  

Jeannet claimed that it was her husband’s desire to cut the kids out from the will. The driveway foundations are there today but the eagles are long gone.  

Weiche's office where the wall was once lined with guns
A sign on the door read ‘Office’. A Facebook user commented that they’d been inside of Weiche’s office before, where there was a photo of Hitler behind his desk. 

The swastika cut into the grass is now overgrown. The house has suffered some water damage on the ground level. In the living room you can still make out the location where Weiche’s portrait of Hitler once hung with pride. 

kitchen area of Martin Weiche house
kitchen and eating area

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Stairway to the main floor of the Martin Weiche Nazi house in London Ontario

Martin wrote a memoir titled, “I Did Not Die for the Fuhrer”. 

Martin Weiche

Talking Walls Photography explored this location after receiving a tip that it was vacant. The grass is overgrown and the property is in need of maintenance. 

Someone had broken a small window allowing entry to the house. The house looks like time stopped ticking in the 1970’s. The living room is wallpapered, the stairs lined with red shag carpeting. The kitchen counter and cupboard don’t appear to have ever been replaced. 

The upstairs has been converted into apartment units. In one room several keys can be found to different units. At the end of a hallway is a door without a doorknob that cannot be opened. What mysteries lie beyond it? 

The basement has suffered water damage. There’s the all-too-familiar smell of mildew and mold. I looked in the garage for any signs of the house’s dark past, without success. 

Were it not for the swastikas drawn into the rear balcony deck, one might never know that this house was owned by a Nazi supporter. 

In a trash can is a parcel dated 2015 that was sent to one of the apartment’s occupants. The house appears to have been vacant for no more than a year. 

As for the Hitler memorabilia, perhaps it’s in storage or ended up in a landfill site where it belongs.

Write up by Talking Walls Photography
Sources: Is God a Racist (S. Barrett) / London Free Press

Abandoned Cat Lady House in Burlington

The Cat Lady House in Burlingon, Ontario stands out for many explorers because it was the first place where they had an opportunity to explore their first time capsule house. It was first discovered by the explorer known as Freaktography.

A time capsule is a reference to a location that’s been perfectly preserved for several years if not decades. The house was located at 4250 Walker’s Line in Burlington, Ontario.

It belonged to Flora Fern Miller (b. 1909). Flora and her husband Simon McCullough moved to the city of Burlington during the 1970s. 

Flora, now retired, decided to open a hobby farm under the name of Ferndale Farms. 

Flora the cat lady
Abandoned: The Cat Lady House in Burlington
kitchen area in the Cat Lady House

Animals on the farm included ducks, geese, and racing horses. Fern also provided care for the neighbour’s horses. 

The 43-acre Cat Lady House property was home to many animals that randomly showed up to the farm, “Outsiders” as Fern called them. The animals included 24 raccoons, 3 opossums, a wolf named Pinocchio, 5 deer and several rabbits. 
As Fern grew older, she sought the assistance of neighbours for help with feeding the animals and cleaning the barn. 

The Cat Lady House - wallpapered walls and ceiling
Yes that’s wallpaper on the ceiling

even the ceiling is wallpapered in this room
More wallpaper on the ceiling (how did it stay there?)

To avoid being snowed in during the winter, Fern had a second house built close to Walker’s Line. The older house was given to a couple who in turn would help in the upkeep of the aging property.

bathroom with wallpapered ceiling
Wallpaper on the ceiling even in the bathroom

me
That’s me

The Cat Lady House
There’s a security door that allows the upstairs to be locked, presumably while you’re sleeping.
And more wallpaper!

Fern was an avid lover of cats. She owned between seven to ten cats. Her house was filled with cat decorations, cat scrapbooks, cat calendars, cat ceramics, and of course pictures of her cats. 

photo album of cats
Photo credit: DIIV 

Fern owned a Cadillac that had cats airbrushed onto the body and a custom license plate “Cats 14”. 

The Cat Lady's car with cat murals
Fern’s car had cat murals – of course
Photo credit: DIIV 

The house was uniquely decorated with almost every room in the home covered in wallpaper including the ceilings. Even the bathroom was wallpapered! 

The Cat Lady House

When Fern was hospitalized in 1995, she had a friend visit her three times a day to care for her and to deliver meals. This friend would regularly visit Fern to provide her with food, take her for ice cream, etc. 

With her health fading, Fern signed a “Do Not Resuscitate” order on February 17, 2000. She passed away the following day. 

The Cat Lady House

The Cat Lady House
Things had been picked through during my visit. You can see my car outside.

Fern had previously expressed a desire for her property to be used as a conservation area or wildlife refuge and that some of her belongings be given to the Oakville Humane Society. 

It appears that a legal dispute arose between the person once responsible for her care and with Conservation Halton, the organization some believe Fern willed her property to. 

Some of the items found by explorers included a note left on the fridge instructing “Dad” to handle the kittens three times daily. There were various items spilled across the kitchen counters though the kitchen was remarkably intact. 

The Cat Lady House

The rummaging by trespassers is evident. Photo: DIIV 

The Cat Lady House - graffiti
Photo credit: DIIV 

There were medication containers in the kitchen and personal hygiene items on the bathroom counter. The fridge contained food from 2002. 

An unmistakable smell of cat urine hung in the air from the litter boxes stacked on top of another. 

Within a year portions of the ceiling began to fall down. By 2013, vandals had found the property and spray painted the walls and television. 

cat bones
Cat bones – Photo credit: DIIV 

The Cat Lady House

By 2014 most everything inside had been tossed about, destroyed, succumbed to natural events or been stolen. In 2014 a German medium (a person who can speak with the deceased) alleged that Fern contacted her stating that she was still living in the house. 

The story of the Cat Lady House came to an end on February 2nd, 2016 when it was destroyed by arson. 

photo of the burned down house
Arson
Photo credit: DIIV 


A new home has been built on the property. And so ends the story of the Burlington Cat Lady.

Abandoned Star Wars Collectible Mansion in Ontario

This mansion is referred to as the Star Wars Collectible Mansion with good reason. There are thousands of dollars in Star Wars merchandise to be found inside.

This home was built in 2000 for a Chinese man. He was married with a wife and had three children. The man worked as an architect for the City of Toronto. Below you can see many magazines, stereo equipment, large television and an X-Box console. Everything is left as it was.

Mail has piled up several feet from the inside of the mail slot in the front door. Mold and decay have begun to destroy the area above and to the left of the main doors. 

Star-Wars-Collector-Mansion
Living room

Star Wars mansion
Front entrance

Front room

In another front room several more books and magazines have accumulated here. The electricity is still functional. I was able to turn on a ceiling fan and lights in several of the rooms. 

While this may look like a master bedroom given it’s size, it’s actually one of the children’s bedrooms. 

Photographs of the man and his family on the living room fireplace. 

There are clothes scattered throughout the house.
There are clothes scattered throughout the house. 

clothing and new shoes in boxes

Upstairs are several boxes of shoes new in the box and clothes on racks. The Star Wars Mansion appears to have been the base of an online business. This was reaffirmed with online auction print outs in the office.

In total there are six bathrooms and five bedrooms. There’s even an elevator for the three floors of the home. 

Unopened Star Wars merchandise
(Photo by Canucks747) 

In the dining room are boxes and boxes of new-in-the-box Star Wars merchandise. There are Millennium Falcons, C-3POs, R2D2’s, Boba Fette’s and so much more. It’s difficult to take a step without stepping on unopened merchandise. 

dining room filled with unopened Star Wars collectibles
Photo: Canucks747 

In the basement there’s an entire room the size of a garage filled with even more unopened merchandise that includes Stormtrooper ray guns. If I had to give an estimate on the total value of the memorabilia I’d say there’s at least $10,000 to $50,000. 

In the office den are dozens of books, Star Trek and Star Wars boxed items and assorted movie DVD’s. There’s a professional television camera, a camcorder and film cameras.

After a few trustworthy explorers visited here, the owners secured the property. A private security company has been seen on the property. There is also an alarm.

Time to close the books on this one.

Abandoned Ontario Buddha Retreat

Buddha statue

Originally discovered in 2012, this location has gone downhill over the years. It was found at the end of a nondescript driveway in a large Ontario city. Buddha statues began to appear in the trees near the end of the driveway.

The outdoor statues were life size and untouched by the hands of vandals. 

Buddha statue in the forest
Buddha statue in the forest

Abandoned Ontario Buddha retreat
outdoor Buddha statue

The first building that we encountered appeared to have been lived in by a squatter. An extension cord had been run outside from another building allowing for an electric heater to be plugged in. Candles were laid out to provide for lighting. There was a mattress on the floor to sleep upon. 

candles used by squatter
electrical cords and candles

squatter mattress
someone was staying here at one point

Whomever was staying here was long gone, we’ve never encountered a squatter in real life – only the signs one had been present. 

Buddha's Bar

In the larger of the buildings was a Hindu shrine of sorts. It contained several Buddha statues in bags as if they were for sale. Several other Buddha statues were arranged on tables. 

In July of 2012 new windows were installed and people were observed working on the property with a variety of tools. By 2013 the outdoor statues were removed. 

Buddha's Bar

In the photo below you can see the statues arranged on tables. 

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

The main building with shrine contained a kitchen. We observed the stove clock flashing, there was no food to be found. There was a washer and dryer in another part of the building, and in the back was an office. I found a business card which would seem to indicate that this was to be a day retreat. Perhaps the funding ran out? 

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

Buddha statue

I’m not familiar with the Hindi culture but to me this looked like an altar or area of worship. 

Hindi altar with Buddha statues

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

I decided to return here in November of 2019, seven years later. The end of the driveway had been blocked with a pile of dirt and fallen trees. It no longer resembled a driveway and I wasn’t sure that the buildings would still be there. As we climbed our way to the end of the driveway I was excited to see that the buildings still there. However my heart sank when I noticed the glass had been smashed on the doors. 

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

All but one of the statues had been smashed. Some of them were outside while several others had been put into a corner of the room. 

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

Every pane of glass has been smashed. 

Buddha's Bar
Return visit 2019

The shrine is no more. 

Buddha's Bar

Buddha's Bar

As with all locations, those who were able to capture it in the beginning captured it in the essence of what it once was and what it will never be again. 

Norm Elder’s Cottage

The Norm Elder Cottage was an amazing abandoned cottage in Muskoka. It contained a life’s worth of travel souvenirs and some unusual

Norman Sam Elder (born August 12, 1939) was the son of Robert James Elder, the founder of Elder Carriage Works. Elder Carriage Works was a very successful company that built delivery vans for furniture movers, bakeries and retailers such as Eaton’s. 

In 1945 the business made a profit of what would today be $5.5 million by supplying vehicles to the federal government for the war.

Norman was a world traveler who might have been considered eccentric by those who knew him. The main floor of his home located at 140 Bedford Rd. in Toronto served as the Norm Elder Museum. The museum (founded in 1967) showcased the many creatures that he collected during his world travels. The upper floor of the museum served as housing for ten tenants.

Visitors to the Elder museum could meet ‘Tony’, a Galapagos Islands tortoise who’d walk over to meet people and enjoyed having his neck scratched. Tony eventually became ill and was transported to Guelph University Hospital where he died. Tony was frozen until he could be taken to a taxidermist and was then returned to the museum stuffed.

Tony the tortoise
Tony the tortoise
Norm Elder in his home
A photo of a younger Norm Elder

Two large pythons lived in the museum along with a boa constrictor that lived in the basement. The boa constrictor was known to escape to different parts of the house. The tenants must have slept well at night knowing this. 

Norm Elder
Norm Elder 1975 (Source: Toronto Star Archives)


The museum also contained a fruit bat, three lemurs, chinchillas and ferrets. Artifacts included a panther skeleton, malachite eggs, fossilized elephant bird eggs, dried elephant dung balls, a stuffed dingo and human skulls from the Ganges River.

The front garden of the museum was surrounded by an 8 foot high iron fence that had been used to contain polar bears and was purchased from the Riverdale Zoo. The back garden contained an underground granite-walled tunnel which led to a room known as the ‘tomb’, The way into the tunnel was through a secret doorway under Norm’s bed.

Besides operating the museum, Norm was a world traveler who visited remote areas such as Papua New Guinea, Namibia, the Amazon, Congo, the Arctic and Madagascar.
Norm was an accomplished equestrian who competed in the 1960 Rome Olympics and 1968 Mexico City Olympics. (Source

The Cottage

Norm Elder Cottage
Steeple-like structure

Norm had a summer cottage located in Muskoka, Ontario. The property contained three buildings and what appeared to be a chapel. The first building with the fridge outside was his living quarters. The second and third connected buildings appeared to be where Norm worked on his sketches and paintings. 

The cottage was located at the end of a country road with few surrounding homes. 

Outbuildings

Norm’s workshop consisted of two buildings connected in an L-shape. The first part of the workshop (third photo above) contained old National Geographic magazines, a treasure trove of reel to reel films and photo albums of Norm’s world travels. 

Norm Elder Cottage old video reels
Photo albums of Norm’s world travels (1980’s to 1990’s)

Norm Elder Cottage

Norm Elder animal specimens
Norm Elder 1975 (Source: Toronto Star Archives)

Norm Elder self portrait
Norm Elder 1975 (Source: Toronto Star Archives)

Norm Elder Cottage

World travels (Credit: Motleykiwi) 

National Geographics
wood stove
norm elder cottage interior
norm elder cottage interior
norm elder cottage interior
norm elder cottage interior
norm elder cottage
This would have been where Norm painted

To the left of the entrance were numerous photo albums and reel to reel canisters. Making your way through the hallway you’d pass the wood stove and enter the area where Norm’s paintings were displayed. 

Norm Elder Cottage

It was particularly dark in this section of the workshop so flash photography had to be used. Some of the paintings had been left outside where the elements were slowing destroying them. The unwritten rule is not to take items home with you (which would escalate exploring into a criminal act). 

I reluctantly left the art behind to be consumed by Mother Nature. We could have spent hours pouring through the photo albums and documenting Norm’s life. 

Just beyond the main area where the paintings were displayed was a small kitchen (shown above, 4th photo down).

Norm Elder Cottage

Several paintings of Norm were hung throughout the camp. In the picture above he is shown wearing a pendant and riding a horse. 

Norm Elder Cottage

The story of the Norm Elder Cottage could end like this… it was slowly reclaimed by nature and Norm lived out the rest of his days in his Toronto museum. 

The End.
This wasn’t the case. 

Mr. Elder was charged with 12 counts of indecent assault which took places between 1972 to 1989. Some of the youths were between the ages of 15 and 19. After the charges were filed, Norm stayed at his cottage as he wasn’t permitted back in the house. 

On March 12, 1998 he was sentenced to two years less a day in jail. Many of the young men were between the ages of 18 and 20 which at the time of the incident was considered to be younger than the age of consent. 

There’s no evidence to suggest that any of the incidents took place at the cottage. 

Looking through the photo albums though you’ll see photos of young men drinking beer and a laughing young man bound with ropes. A video camera mounted outside a window also has an ominous feel. 

video camera mounted outside window
norm elder cottage interior
norm elder cottage interior
drinking beer

The story of the Norm Elder Cottage ends like this: Norm passed away by suicide on October 15, 2003. 

His cottage remained unused and forgotten about for several years. 

 A few explorers heard rumors of the cottage’s existence and in the summer of 2015 succeeded in finding it. The cottage had no vandalism, the only damages inflicted were from exposure to the elements. 

By the fall of that same year, all of the buildings on the property were bulldozed. The cottage along with all of the paintings, sketches and photos of Norm’s world travels are gone – forever.