Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Bathurst Rock Oasis -- A Look Back

It’s been a year since The Rock Oasis closed its doors on Bathurst, and moved out to the east side. What happened was, a condo developer bought the site, kicked out the climbing gym, and tore it all down -- the classic fate for historical buildings in Toronto.

I really miss the old place. I want to share some photographs with you, for nostalgia’s sake.

I’m bitter that the developer was in such a hurry to demolish the structure. What was the result? A few mildly interesting designs -- and a vacant lot.

Then: June 27, 2011 - the Last Night
June 2012 - An empty lot (note the Minto temporary structure in back)

They could have just as easily let the building remain standing ’til now, and gotten the same result. Losing the site to condos was inevitable -- but ousting the gym a year early, for no practical purpose, was galling. [Construction in... 2013? Give me a break]

I guess I’m a crank.

The whole affair took me awhile to process.

The ‘transitional Oasis’ on Carlaw has been ok. It’s too short, but I still go. I got used to it. I have many friends there, and it’s the most geographically convenient climbing gym for me. The route-setting is solid given the constraints, and I’m looking forward to the new spot on Morse Street -- if ever and whenever it gets built.

But my heart pines for the old shed. It was home.

The Rock Oasis on Bathurst -- In Photos
Before the end came, I tried to take some interior shots for posterity. I’m not good with picture-taking and composition, so my goal wasn’t about revealing the aesthetics of the place, as much as documenting the literal perspectives I had experienced as a climber there.

As a result, the photos are mundane, repetitive, and there are more of them than are reasonable. But it’s all I have left. If anything, I feel like I missed numerous vantage points.

Click the images below to browse the photos (arranged in two somewhat arbitrary sets).

Set 1: Bathurst Rock Oasis Interior
Set two:
Set 2: Bathurst Rock Oasis Interior 2
Note: a small # of these are from a friend, G.

The images bring back a host of vivid memories. I find it striking to see just how compact the place really was. And I had forgotten how many different surfaces and angles and nooks and crannies there were to the walls. We had a lot of good times there.

We miss you, Bathurst Oasis!

Also of Possible Interest
(click images below to view associated post)

Photos from the Demolition: The Wreck of Rock Oasis -- In Pictures
A pictorial coda, taken the night before it all came down for good...

Farewell to Rock Oasis: my lengthy essay on the history of the building
at Front and Bathurst, and of the surrounding neighbourhood

Covered in the Globe and Mail, mentioned online by Gripped, and overall positively received, my rambling 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! There are tons of great old photos of the building in the piece.

A Light Catch
See also
Rock Oasis Setback -- New Gym on Morse St. Cancelled
Condo Developer Borg
What’s to come at Front and Bathurst
No, I’m not involved with StopMintoFreed

Secret bonus video tour -- your reward for reading to the end. Thanks.

Reminisce with me in the comments!