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Posts Tagged ‘Doors Open’

038Last weekend was the annual Doors Open event in Toronto. Rather than making a list and heading out to a number of spots I just incorporated a visit to City Hall into my walk.

I love the Metropolis relief sculpture; people are always getting their photos taken in front of it. I don’t know the people in this photo and they don’t know each other but I liked how the young woman’s hat mimmicks the circular centre of the sculpture and how the man has rested his hand on the nails.

I started my visit wandering around the rooftop podium. I was delighted by the greenspace! The revitalisation project up on the podium and at ground level make it so inviting.

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007More typically Doors Open oriented, I sat in the council chamber for a while and watched old docs and images and checked out the Hall of Memory and time capsule. Nathan Phillips Square is a popular spot, whether it be a formal event or just hanging around.

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Tabaret Hall, University of Ottawa

Chief archivist and tour guide

Chief archivist and tour guide

Umbrella in hand, I headed out  this morning to check out a few Doors Open attractions and it turned out to be a beautiful day! My first stop was Tabaret Hall for the University of Ottawa’s Historical Sector Walking Tour. Our guide was the charming chief archivist, Michel Prévost. He’s a wonderful storyteller who obviously loves his job and giving these tours. The tour runs again on Sunday and doesn’t involve as much walking as I had anticipated. Go find out about the first person to receive an MA from the university and what the requirements were, the family with a missing agreement that would give them free tuition, when women became students, and more.

Laurier House

Laurier House

DSCN2114crAfterwards, I walked over to Laurier House. The site was the home of two prime ministers, Sir Wilfred Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King. Not surprisingly, the interior is formal. I suspect it`s just my contemporary eye but it doesn`t feel particularly grandiose. My favourite part of the house is the veranda. I love a veranda that extends along the side as well as the front of a house, as this one does.

Munross House, Le Cordon Bleu

Munross House, Le Cordon Bleu

My next stop was Le Cordon Bleu. A world famous cooking school in a beautiful building – this place was crowded! The building, originally known as Munross House, was built in 1877. The architect, James Mather, designed it for his brother John. He was also the architect of Laurier House, which is its mirror-image. The school has a much more contemporary feel making the two buildings seem so different so I was surprised when I read this. Munross House is atop a hill overlooking Strathcona Park and the Rideau River. Quite a lovely setting! It`s Le Cordon Bleu`s 25th anniversary in Ottawa and students and chefs were on hand making this another great Doors Open attraction. I bet it would be nice to take a cooking course here!DSCN2119DSCN2124

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Central Chambers building, Queen Anne Revival style, 1890

June 4th & 5th marked the 10th annual Doors Open Ottawa weekend. Of the 111 participating sites I made it out to about 10. There were a few others I would have liked to visit but late starts, bus schedules, distances, walking and just enjoying the day came into play. Weatherwise it was a perfect weekend.

The Central Chambers building is one of my favourites. It looks more like a contemporary revival rather than a Victorian-era building. It was the first building in Ottawa to have an electric elevator and is thought to be the first in North America with bay windows.

The grounds at Rideau Hall are spectacular. I wonder if the Governor Generals ever have the time or inclination to enjoy this beautiful oasis. As for the residence, the tent room, a former indoor tennis court, is kinda quirky and gay, but, what I most enjoyed were the paintings representing early immigration to Canada.

And just a couple blocks away, Gordon Harrison’s cottage studio was a lovely spot with live music, wine and, of course, quite awesome art works.

The Lester B. Pearson building, home to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, had a great collection of models of Canadian embassies in other parts of the world, as well as staff, literature and video on DFAIT’s roles.

Maplelawn is a beautiful Georgian-style home and garden. The historical building has been re-adapted and currently functions as a restaurant. The walled gardens date back to 1833 and served as a vegetable garden. It holds a lovely collection of perennials and the grounds are maintained by volunteers.

The Enriched Bread Artists and Gladstone Clayworks Coop are housed in another re-adapted building. The 1924 industrial building was the site of the Standard Bread Factory. I had meant to stop in at the nearby Traffic Operations but with thoughts of coffee in my head it slipped my mind.

I had started Sunday at Fairfields, a 19th century Gothic Revival farmhouse. It was home to five generations of the Bell family and also functioned as a tavern and hotel. In addition to farming, various members of the family were active in law and politics. A number of period artifacts were on display in the garden and, even with the interpreter’s clues, I was not able to guess what most of them had been used for.

Keg Manor – Thompson House, Maplelawn

Maplelawn Gardens

Standard Bread, 1924

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