Emily Andrews

Seaport’s Smorgasburg’s Sleek, New Look

This summer, hungry visitors to the Smorgasburg market’s location in Lower Manhattan’s Seaport district will also be able to satisfy their appetite for contemporary architecture. When the gourmet street-dining series opens its outpost there later this month, vendors will prepare and serve meals from a new series of eight semipermanent pods designed and built by the Brooklyn-based firm Guild, as seen for the first time here (pictured inside the company’s studio).

See more here

My Recommendations For Doors Open Toronto 2015

It`s that time of year again! This weekend Doors Open Toronto will open its doors to some Toronto`s historic, modern and most beautiful buildings for free! Aside from being free, most of these buildings are restricted for the  public and are only open to certain individuals. So if you’ve ever been curious about the inside and history of a building like the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, then this is your chance.

This year`s theme is dedicated to the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and is appropriately dubbed Sports, Recreation & Leisure. There are plenty of great sport facilities open this year including BMO Field and the Regent Park Aquatic Centre. This year also sees 55+ new buildings joining the roaster - although most are sports related there are a few new historic buildings.

In this post I will provide you with my Top 10 recommendations. Following this post I will highlight my Doors Open Toronto plan.

Remember to use the hashtag #DOT15 and tag me @whyilovetoronto as well as @Doors_OpenTO in your photos!

**Please note most buildings are open from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday and Sunday with last admittance between 4:00pm and 4:30pm. I have noted below any venues that deviate from these times.

**Please also note that all titles are active links leading to my original post about the venue!

Cheers :)

1) Bridgepoint Active Healthcare (Don Jail)

Where: 14 St. Matthews Rd.

  • Step inside an old jail cell that could hold up to three prisoners
  • See the segregation room
  • Visit the gallows where capital punishment was enacted
  • Walk around the stunning rotunda whose balconies are supported by dragons, who were said to judge the inmates
  • Learn about some great escapes that happened here

2) Commerce Court North

Where: 25 King St.

  • Built by famed architects Darling and Pearson
  • Was once the tallest building in Toronto
  • Was the tallest building in the commonwealth until 1962
  • Modeled after the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.
  • High ceilings, amazing chandeliers and gold coffered ceilings
  • The exterior was featured in the film Total Recall 

3) Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre

Where: 189 Yonge St.

When: Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 4:30pm

  • The Winter Garden Theatre provides a nature feeling with leaves hanging from the ceiling, tree trunk columns and murals depicting the outdoors throughout the venue
  • The theatre has welcomed Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire
  • The theatre was abandoned for 60 years starting in 1928. When they began the restoration process in 1985 a crew entered in hazmat suits. When you visit you will learn about its restoration project!
  • Fun fact my mother worked at the Elgin Theatre while they were restoring the Winter Garden Theatre!
  • One of the seats was the last seat John Dillinger ever sat in!
  • It has a haunted elevator, which supposedly is haunted by a woman who was stabbed

 4) CAMH

Where: 1001 Queen Street West

When: Saturday from 10:30am to 5:00pm

  • An interesting look at how doctors thought mental illness should be treated
  • The tour illustrates how the patient built walls had some flaws that led to escapes

 5) St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church

Where: 115 Bond St.

When: Saturday from 12:00pm to 4:00pm and Sunday from 12:00pm to 5:00pm

  • Beautiful iconography.
  • Has a rare depiction of St. George in civilian clothing in front of Jesus.

6) Artscape Youngplace

Where: 180 Shaw Street

  • Former Shaw Street School
  • Opened in 1914 during WWI and was immediately converted to help with the war efforts
  • Learn about the school rich athletic history
  • They shot Mean Girls here . I have watched the movie a ton of times and I am pretty sure they used the main foyer in the Girls Gone Wild scene – watch the clip and check it out on Saturday or Sunday to tell me if I’m right. Link here

7) Canada Life Building

Where: 330 University Ave.

  • The 17th floor has the most stunning view
  • Standing underneath the famous weather beacon
  • Check out the Beaux-Arts styling built by Sprott and Rolph

8) Amsterdam Brewery

Where: 45 Esandar Drive

  • End your day here and grab a pint on their beautiful patio overlooking Lake Ontario! It’s going to be sunny and between 19-24 degrees
  • Sample award-winning brews like the new Cruiser All Day Pale Ale
  • Learn about the brewing process and the history of the beer
  • Must be 19+

9) Bata Shoe Museum

Where: 327 Bloor Street West

When: Saturday regular time and Sunday: 12pm to 5pm

  • Turned 20 this year!
  • See Sonja Bata’s show collection from around the world
  • Over 10,000 shoes
  • Still a famous brand in Europe even though operations ceased in Canada in the 00′s

10) Osgoode Hall

Where: 130 Queen Street West

  • Check out the American Room – it is stunning!
  • The Great Library is dubbed “the most beautiful room in Canada!” It might be because of its fireplace, cork floors, intricate ceilings and/or etched glass
  • Learn about its history and its multiple architects
  • Check out the stained glass windows
  • Learn about its haunting

Other Notable Mentions

  1. Campbell House Museum
  2. Church of the Holy Trinity 
  3. Design Exchange
  4. Gladstone Hotel (12:00pm to 5:00pm)
  5. MacKenzie House
  6. Old City Hall
What I Will Try To See At Doors Open Toronto

Well I gave you my recommendations from my past experience and now I wanted to share with you my plan for this year! These are buildings I have not seen at past Doors Open Toronto events and am super stoked to experience. 

Remember when sharing on social media to tag me (@whyilovetoronto) as well as @Doors_OpenTO and use the hashtag #DOT15! 

**Please note most buildings are open from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday and Sunday with last admittance between 4:00pm and 4:30pm. I have noted below any venues that deviate from these times.

1) Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

Where: 480 Lakeshore Ave. Toronto Islands

  • Read about the famous haunting of lighthouse
  • Go up the lighthouse which has been restricted to the public up until last years Doors Open Toronto
  • Go early! The line is super long and only a few people can go up at a time and those people can spend as long as they want upstairs - they say they control how long you’re up there but I think that is a lie. I would recommend going before 3pm. You have to pay for the ferry and my friend and I got there at 3:30pm last year and waited 1.5 hours only to be turned away because it was closing time.

2) Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto

Where: 24 Cecil Street

  • Built in a Second Empire-style in 1881
  • A fire damaged the building in 1970 and was demolished, but a replica was made
  • Owned by the Communist Party of Canada at one point
  • Today the club provides support for those touched  by cancer

3) Joe Rockhead’s Climbing Gym

Where: 29 Fraser Ave.

  • Check out the first indoor rock climbing facility in Canada
  • The gym is in a turn of the century building!

4) John McKenzie House

Where: 34 Parkview Ave.

  • Built in 1913
  • Check out  the Red Brick, L-Shaped wrap around verandah and Doric Columns
  • Visit the two sun rooms
  • The building was slated for demolition in the early 90’s, but was saved by the Ontario Historical Society and residents
  • Now the headquarters for the Ontario Historical Society

5) Legislative Assembly of Ontario

Where: 111 Wellesley Street West

  • Richardsonian Romanesque building, built by a number of architects including the famed E.J. Lennox
  • East Hall features oak floors and cast iron columns
  • West Hall has Italian marble

6) Ontario Heritage Centre

Where: 10 Adelaide Street East

  • Former Birkbeck Building, built in Edwardian style
  • See spaces with mezzanines, oak panel as well as a manually operated elevator and period washrooms

7) Orde Street Public School

Where: 18 Orde Street

  • Built in 1914 to accommodate influx of immigrants to the community
  • Home of The Toronto Japanese School, which has been housed here for 50 years
  • Has famous alumni
  • Rooftop Garden Terrace was an open-air school for kids with tuberculosis
  • It has a stairwell that goes nowhere!
  • It is also haunted!

8) Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement

Where: 6 Noble School

The National Ballet School of Canada was one of my favourite Doors Open Toronto venue years ago (it’s not making an appearance this year). Here’s hoping this one will be one of my favourites as well!

  • Built as a workshop for a furniture maker in 1930
  • Built with geometric shapes and coloured bricks
  • Original walls and industrial windows remain
  • Tours at 10:30, 12:00, 1:30 and 3:00pm

9) Pure Spirits Still House

Where: 3 Tank House Lane

When: Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm (Only)

  • Beautiful wood and glass façade.
  • One of the oldest sites in the district
  • Learn about the distilling process
  • Barrel making demonstrations

10) R.C Harris Water Treatment Plant

Where: 2701 Queen Street East

When: Saturday and Sunday  10:00am to 4:00pm

  • Largest water treatment plant in Toronto
  • Called “The Palace of Purification”
  • Largest ensemble of Art-Deco buildings in Toronto that integrates Late Romanesque Revival and Modern Classical forms

11) The Masonic Temple

Where: 888 Yonge Street

  • One of the most famous music venues in Toronto that has flip flopped ownership over the years.
  • Housed MTV until they moved to 299 Queen Street West in 2012
  • Now home to Info-Tech Research Group
  • Hardwood floor and decorated ceilings
  • Hosted Frank Sinatra, Bing Cosby, Tina Turner, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin (they had their first concert in Toronto here!

12) The National Club

Where: 303 Bay Street

  • Gain access to this private members-only club established in 1874
  • Current clubhouse was built in 1906
  • Was the home of the Canada First Party
  • Many founding members were prominent leaders in the city, province and country!
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