- “building” signifies a structure that gives shelter within which a human use can operate
- “abandoned” or “derelict” building means one which isn’t used but retains the basic prerequisites for use — especially a roof; this is an intermediate stage on the transition to …
- “ruin,” a structure that has lost, usually irretrievably, its ability to shelter or maintain use — and is therefore use-less.
|Silo, near Shakespeare, Ontario|
|Stone barn, near Eden Mills, Ontario|
Farmhouses are sometimes left to rot away too.
|Farmhouse, near Campbellville, Ontario|
|Farmhouse, near St. Agatha, Ontario|
And what’s left of old stone walls and rail fences — these too are remnants and reminders of our farming past. 
|Fence in the woods, near Bobcaygeon, Ontario|
Instead of a protracted mouldering-away, the ruinous state can come suddenly, the result of a precipitating event like a fire or other calamity that destroys the building. Old mills especially were notoriously subject to fires. Economic conditions and changing technology sometimes meant it was not feasible to rebuild a mill following a conflagration, and if no other use for the property presented itself ….
|St. Raphael's Church, St. Raphael's, Ontario|
Unlike many of the ruins we’ve looked at, the “open air museum” that is St. Raphael’s today is the result of major intervention. After the church, built in 1821, burned 150 years later in 1970, the Ontario Heritage Foundation (now Ontario Heritage Trust) was responsible for the stabilization and restoration of the surviving stone walls and the landscaping of the site. The magnificent National Historic Site is protected by one of the first OHF heritage easements. 
|Transept, St. Raphael's, courtesy Cathy Nasmith|
|Nave, St. Raphael's|