commerce court north

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