Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Wreck of Rock Oasis -- In Pictures

Disclaimer: Unsupervised, unauthorized exploration of structures undergoing demolition is not recommended. Such activity may be dangerous or illegal. You are responsible for your own actions and safety.

Earlier this year, a condo developer demolished the gritty industrial structure that housed my old climbing gym, The Rock Oasis. It only took about a week to raze 120 years of rich history into the ground.

Sic transit gloria mundi!

Standing tall for one last night...

The destruction of Oasis was personally heartbreaking. I loved climbing there -- in spite of its flaws. Although these photos were taken months ago, it’s taken me a long time to publish this post. The hesitation stems from emotional inertia.

Intellectually, we all knew what was going to happen. But actually seeing the physical Victorian-era bricks and beams strewn and twisted about -- that has been tough to stomach.

These assembled photos (from several sources) are part of my process of moving forward. They’re ugly, and awful, and make me feel sick, but they are also an acknowledgement of reality.

They are a record of what used to be at the corner of Front and Bathurst, and of the violence required to tear it down. If you loved the gym, you’ll hate these pictures. Sorry.

(And yes, I’m still angry that the developer chose to dismantle the place so early, when they didn’t have to. It will be at least another 6 months, easily, before anything even happens with the site.)

I’ve arranged the photos into three different parts, and added credit/commentary where desired. Certain shots are thematically repetitive -- that’s just the way it goes.

Click below to view each set (opens in a new window).

Part 1: Demolition (click photo to open) - set of 20
Part 2: Last Night On Earth (26 photos)
Part 3: Aftermath (30 photos)

Stay tuned -- I have one final post left in this series. It will be a different photo collection -- a nostalgic look at all the nooks and crannies of our old place. I’ll get to it eventually, I’d say in a month or two... Update: See The Bathurst Rock Oasis - A Look Back

Comments are always welcome!

Note: Rock Oasis still operates; they moved to a transitional gym in the city’s east end.

Context and intention
This post is a pictorial coda to my essay: Farewell to Rock Oasis.

Covered in the Globe and Mail, mentioned online by Gripped, and overall positively received, the essay deals with the forgotten history of the building (also known as the Doty Engine Works), and the surrounding neighbourhood at Front and Bathurst -- as well as the history of the climbing gym itself.

Check it out if you haven’t read it!