After reading an article several years ago in the local newspaper about ghost towns in Ontario I have always wanted to go visit some of these old towns and see what photographs I could get. Many of the old ghost towns found in eastern Ontario are today, no more than a few rock outcroppings on farmer fields. One town, Balaclava is more reminiscent of our typical perception of how a ghost town should look.
There is a water-powered sawmill along Constant creek and a few other abandoned buildings along the windy road. Balaclava is only a few kms north of Dacre and about 100km MW of Ottawa.
The dammed up creek fed power to the old sawmill, which was founded in 1855. A fire destroyed the mill in 1936 and was subsequently rebuilt and later abandoned in 1967 when it was no longer profitable to operate the mill. The store continued into the mid 70s.
As you approach the town there is one large 3 storey abandoned sawmill and a dammed up creek forming a small lake on the other side of the road. A little further along there are few boarded up building one being a store the other side of the road. I am showing some images that are from a different view than those normally found on the ghost town web sites.
This is part of the old sawmill looking down from the road. Much of the siding has been removed, I suppose by locals cashing in when there was a barn board craze for remodeling.
On the other side of the mill where the creek both runs underneath and beside the mill are several fallen logs across the creek, which covered, in colourful moss and lichen.
This is also on the creek side of the building and I guess it was too dangerous for the locals to remove the barn boards as was done on the other side.
From behind the mill there is a large stone chimney about 60 feet tall and 15 feet wide.
This is one of the buildings on the other side of the road.
Back up on the dammed part of the river there is an old collapsed boat house.
A Photographer’s AdageThe photograph isolates and perpetuates a moment of time: an important and revealing moment, or an unimportant and meaningless one, depending upon the photographer's understanding of his subject and mastery of his process. -Edward Weston