Walking in Markham

February 23, 2014

Driving north on Reesor Road in Markham, I caught sight of some abandoned buildings that exerted a magnetic pull on my car.  Two feet of snow still blanketed everything, but I couldn’t resist getting out and trudging through the drifts to take a closer look.

Derelict schoolhouse

Derelict schoolhouse, Markham (c) Allyson Scott

Derelict farm, Markham

Derelict farm, Markham (c) Allyson Scott

Despite not being dressed for exploration (sneakers – so smart), I searched for the lowest point of entry, and dove right in…to mid-thigh.  My heart rate increased with each step, since I couldn’t tell whether sharp objects or a body of water lay beneath the sea of snow.

Abandoned farm buildings, Markham

Abandoned farm buildings, Markham (c) Allyson Scott

Derelict farm building, Markham

Derelict farm building, Markham (c) Allyson Scott

(minor ankle injury here)

Derelict farm building, Markham

Derelict farm building, Markham (c) Allyson Scott

There was surprisingly little inside the buildings to indicate anyone had flopped, partied, or otherwise abused the premises.  The way it’s falling apart is just incredibly cool.

Derelict barn, Markham

Derelict barn, Markham (c) Allyson Scott

Wet and cold, with snow now packed tightly inside my shoes, it was time to trace my steps back to my car.  I’m not sure boots would have made much difference with the drifts this high….snowshoes would have been the right way to go.  I can’t wait to revisit this place in warmer weather, though I’ll be able to see what I was actually walking through.

Instead of turning south for home, I turned north for a quick trip down memory lane that was only a few minutes up the road.  In the summer of 1993, while I was studying photography at Ryerson, a classmate and I signed up to be photography instructors at Camp Robin Hood.

Camp Robin Hood, 1993

Camp Robin Hood, 1993

This was back in the days of film and prints, so we’d used one of the barns to set up a rudimentary darkroom.  It was pretty cool teaching kids about the processes; making nature-themed photograms with the little ones, and taking the older ones around camp with shared cameras.  The photography barn was next to the softball field, and we had a common room with sofas and a t.v. that counsellors could watch between classes. Needless to say, the boys coaching softball spent a fair bit of time hanging out with us.  It didn’t pay well, but made for an interesting summer.

Somehow twenty years have passed since I stepped onto the grounds, but the area we used still looks much the same.

Camp Robin Hood, 2014

Camp Robin Hood, 2014 (c) Allyson Scott

Camp Robin Hood, 2014

Camp Robin Hood, 2014 (c) Allyson Scott

The photography barn is still standing in the back, now decorated with a sign labelling it “Coaches Corner”.  Looks like those softball guys have repurposed our darkroom!  The camp recently celebrated 50 years with the same owners, Larry and Pearl Bell and their family.  I doubt that photography is still one of the specialties, but it was great to see at least some things haven’t changed.


  1. Comment by Pam

    Pam Reply February 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Yet again – great pictures and story – Love it wanted more!

  2. Comment by brett rossi

    brett rossi Reply February 26, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Can I have your approval to comment this on my twitter?

    • Comment by Ali

      Ali Reply March 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      Absolutely Brett – sorry for the delay in responding, this was held up in a mystery queue. Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Comment by Jacquelyn

    Jacquelyn Reply November 7, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Hi my name is Jacquelyn and I recently came across your photo of my childhood home. The yellow abandoned school house was my home and my grandfather painted it yellow as it use to be green. I was wondering if you knew where I might find information on the houses history as it was quite haunted and that was why we moved. There’s a lot of history there for me and I haven’t been back in almost twenty years, I know you may only have just taken the picture and know nothing but I thought I’d give it a shot.

    • Comment by Allyson Scott

      Allyson Scott Reply November 14, 2016 at 2:44 am

      Hi Jacquelyn – thanks for stopping by my blog. I don’t have any further history on the property, but I’m sure someone at the Town of Markham could help direct you to find additional information. Their contact info is 905-477-5530 or customerservice@markham.ca. Good luck and post a follow-up to me if you find out more! Sounds like an interesting story!

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