Unsolved Mysteries: DanOCan Edition

It’s a mystery that stretches from Coaldale to Toronto — maybe you can help solve the mystery of what became of Coaldale’s first fire truck?

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Sunshine Gospel Mission

It’s funny how some places become “trendy” on social media. I had never really heard of this place before but then it suddenly seemed like everyone in the abandoned places groups on Facebook started posting photos of this church. Naturally I had to find out where it was and pay a visit for myself. Now we can officially say “Everyone and his dog have been there.”

I know next to nothing about the history of this church. The signs on the front and the side proclaim it as the “Sunshine Gospel Mission” and mention that date of 1946. There are a few mentions of it online but most do not offer much detail about its history nor when it was abandoned and left to the elements. Naturally, I am hoping astute DanOCan readers and viewers will be able to fill in some details. We have been having great success lately with people who have personal knowledge of these places coming forward with more details on a variety of topics.

This must have been quite a striking church back in its day. Even today the faux red brick and the faded green paint on the steeple hint to the vibrant colors which would have stood out brilliantly against the surroundings, especially in the stark blandness of winter.

We did not attempt to venture inside but the windows are all open which provided more than an adequate view of the inside. The south side of the roof has a small hole and combined with the aforementioned missing windows, it is allowing the elements to wreak havoc on the building. While it seems quite intact now, there is little doubt its days are numbered. The smell of mold and mildew inside was quite striking, indicating the water damage is already very advanced.

We were able to fly DroneOCan up and take a peak in the steeple and can confirm that the bell appears to be long gone, as one would expect. We cannot help but wonder what became of it.

Inside we noticed a quite modern-looking vacuum water bottle sitting on the shelf. A remnant from a recent explorer who ventured inside and forgot it?

I made a special effort to avoid disclosing any specifics about the location in our video but it was quite easy to find with only some basic online searching. Here’s hoping its popularity on social media doesn’t bring a hastened demise to this great relic. As always, treat these buildings and places with respect and do your best to make them last for years to come.

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A Couple of Tours

I didn’t post links here to the last two videos on our YouTube channel, mainly out of laziness but also as a bit of an experiment, to see how well they perform without being listed here. It’s been a few weeks now so I’m going to finally post the links now. One is urban and historical, the other is rural and road-trippish (new word!) so maybe something for everyone?



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Crossing the Eleven Bridges to Visit the Ghost Town of Wayne, Alberta

Mabel the Dog and I take another road trip to the Alberta badlands, this time to the ghost town of Wayne, Alberta on Highway 10X.

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Historic southern Alberta hotel destroyed in early morning fire

An Alberta hotel that was built more than 100 years ago is no more following an early morning fire.

Source: Historic southern Alberta hotel destroyed in early morning fire

The Grange Hotel in Carmangary was built in 1909.  We woke up this morning to word that it had been destroyed by fire overnight.  Unfortunately, even though the fire department in Carmangay is just a block or two away, once these old wooden structures catch fire they are pretty much impossible to stop.  The dry wood is one factor and often these buildings have been renovated multiple times over the years which creates all sorts of voids and hidden spaces which allow fire to spread quickly.  Often there is nothing that can be done other than protecting the exposures and then “surround and drown”.

It seemed appropriate to re-post a link and some photos from our visit to Carmangary back in September of last year.  We didn’t get to go into the hotel (closed due to CoVID) and now we’ll never get the chance.  Remember, no matter how busy you are, stop and take photographs whenever you can because you never know when something is going to disappear from the landscape.  You may never get the chance to “come back later when we have more time.”

 

Visiting Carmangay in September of 2020
Shoutout to the members of the Carmangay Fire Department (shown here) and the departments in the surrounding communities who responded to the call.
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