haunted toronto

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

A case that still haunts the people of Toronto, Canada, is the disappearence of Nicole Morin, who’s been missing since July 20th, 1985. She was 8 years old the last time she was seen, and the way she went missing is disturbing and really hard to explain.

Nicole lived in the penthouse of a 20 store building with her parents. That morning she was supposed to meet a friend in the lobby, and the two would head to the supervised pool in the rear of the building. At 11 am, the friend called Nicole in the apartment’s intercom, and the girl replied she’d be right down. She left her penthouse, but never made it downstairs and no one has seen her since then.

This case has remained open for three decades. Last year a tip came after a reenactment video of Nicole’s last steps was released to the public, but nothing has come out of it yet.

In 1988, an american drifter and registered sexual offender called Lovie Riddle claimed that he’d abducted over 30 children, among them Nicole, and that he had taken her to the US and passed her to someone else who, he believed, killed her. Police investigated and even traveled to the country but never found any evidence that supported Riddle’s claims.


Haunted Toronto

Massey Hall

We have learned a lot these past few weeks. We have learned that if there has been an unsolved murder there is probably a haunting.  If the building houses something legal or political the building is most likely haunted. Today we will learn that if a building has any relation to the Massey family it is probably haunted – case and point, the Keg Mansion and Massey Hall.

Now Massey Hall is haunted by two spirits. Even though none of them are said to be from the Massey family, doesn’t mean that it is still relatively odd that the Massey’s former home and Massey Hall are both haunted. The first haunting is said to be by male who wears old fashioned clothing. The male ghost can be seen roaming around back stage.

The second ghost is known as The Diva who was once an opera singer. Rumour has it that The Diva sits in the audience and makes noises when a soprano perform. Gosh I hate hecklers, but I wouldn’t want to mess with a ghost.  

Thursday, October 30th, 2014.

Wow! As I collapse into bed (yet again way too late) I can’t help but have a big smile across my face.  I don’t know if it’s because since I started therapy my head has been cleared of a considerable number of useless concerns, or because I’m just in a peak on the roller coaster that is life, or it’s because Fall is just batting beautiful days out the park, but whatever it is, I’m not complaining. 

I woke up this morning to a very tidy apartment. And not just a tidy apartment, but a super duper clean apartment. Yesterday I committed a few hours to a massive apartment swiffer-sweep-mop where I moved furniture and photo frames, organized inside cupboards (hello tupperware and jewellery), and switched out my summer clothes for my winter clothes. 

And as there is just something that makes you feel a wee bit more on top of life in a clean living space, the day was off to a brilliant start…. 

Ahh yes, the joys of a well groomed house.  I also picked up flowers yesterday, which were as bright as ever this morning too. 

I’ll skip over the boring for you (exciting for me!) part of work, but after meetings and emails and excel charts I met up with an old colleague of mine for lunch - such a treat! Unfortunately i got stuck on the subway on my way back, and so I browsed my emails only to find an email from my boss, wondering where I was - which is odd, as we set our own hours, and I didn’t have meetings. Hmmm. HMMMM. And then when I did finally arrive back in the office, he pulled me into a meeting room, and told me I had been promoted (wa-freakin’-hoo!!). How exciting! I *love* my job, so it’s so wonderful to see the company as committed to me, as I am to them. 

And then at 2:30 the company gathered around for our quarterly Town Hall and Beer O'Clock, where I gave a speech about the new (super awesome, and I am so proud of it!) product I helped launch on Tuesday, which i thought went pret-ty well, and then we celebrated with beer from a pumpkin keg(!), which I found rather amusing… 

What else? What else? Oh! Right… I ran into a friend on the subway (kathryn, if you’re reading this, we must meet up soon!!) on my way to a haunted walk. Yup, oh, how Halloweeney of me… 

It wasn’t “scary” per se, but it was cool to hear the history of the buildings, and the tales that have been passed on since 1782! 

THEN, as my feet were sore, and belly was hungry, my friend Stacey (of Paris fame) and I headed to the most darling restaurant I’ve ever seen! *Toronto Restaurant Recommendation Alert* It’s called Cluny Bistro, and is absolutely gorgeous inside… 

And despite the kitchen being closed, they reopened it for us, and my God, was it delicious, or was it delicious? We each got the chicken & asparagus crepe, and it was pure heaven on a fork going into my mouth.  

In fact, it was so delicious I will be doing my 30th birthday dinner here, because I was that blown away. And, of course, the company of Stacey was more than awesome. My blog has lead to some pretty fantastic friends in my life, and she is one of them - I admire this girl so much, and being the all star that she is, she now works for a start up in San Fran, so it was glorious to catchup and spend the night together. 

And now, here I am (hiiiiiiiii!!!) giving you a big thumbs up to this awesome day (even though I am REALLY screwing myself for tomorrow, as I have a morning meeting, and then it’s Halloween night, and then I fly to NYC on Saturday…), but whatever, I wanted to pop in and record this ordinary yet awesome Thursday. 

Why I Love Doors Open Toronto

What I Want To See:

Bridgepoint Hospital and Administration Building 

Where: 14 St. Matthews Road

When: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Why I Want To See It: Two words – Don Jail. In the past year the Bridgepoint Hospital has fully restored the historic Don Jail so that it could be incorporated into its facility.  The last time the jail made a Doors Open appearance was before its restoration in which participants got a chance to see the jail. My friend who attended said it was truly a creepy experience. Therefore, you can count me in!

Dineen Building

Where: 140 Yonge Street

When: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Why I Want to See It: As I said in my previous post, I just really want to see the building after its restoration. The owner of the building boasts that many of the original fixtures and accessories from the Dineen Hat and Fur Company still remain, which should be very interesting to see and provide a glimpse of the building former use.  

Fox Theatre

Where: 2236 Queen Street East

When: Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Why I Want To See It: This is the theatres first appearance at Doors Open. Not only do you get to see this local theatre, but you also get a free bag of popcorn and get to go on a tour of the historic theatre that will celebrate its 100th birthday this year.

Havergal College

Where: 1451 Avenue Rd.

When: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Why I Want To See It: What is every girls dream? Well for the women in my family it is to be a princess and the all-girls school of Havergal College truly looks like a castle fit for a princess. From its gothic architecture to its vine covered towers and stained glass this building by Chapman and Oxley is truly another one of the firms masterpieces.

Humber College – Cottages

Where: 21 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Dr. 

When: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Why I Want To See It: As the former site of the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital/ Mimico Hospital this former institution is said to have a number of hauntings, which could make this Doors Open tour both creepy and epic. The fact that we get to see the tunnel system is more than enough reason to go to this venue!

MaRS Discovery District

Where: 101 College Street

When: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Why I Want To See It: I was so upset when I missed this building last year that I really hoped it would make another appearance. I am interested to see if this building has successfully managed to combine both historic and modern architecture together. Along with my architectural critiques , I will also be going to MaRS to learn about its history. For example the hospital played a huge role in the discovery of insulin.

Massey Tower Presentation Centre

Where: 197 Yonge Street

When: Saturday and Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with tours at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Why I Want To See It: The building was recently restored and made into a presentation centre for the condominium tower that MOD Development plans to build. Being a big fan of former banks and following the restoration process on the Massey Tower Facebook page I am excited to see the final result.

St. Andrews Church

Where: 73 Simcoe St.

When: Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Why I Want to See It: I love churches and it is unfortunate for me to admit this, but I cannot attend Doors Open on Saturday because I have to work. However the building, constructed in 1875  recently underwent a restoration. I say check it out and tell me how it was!

St. George Greek Orthodox Church

Where: 115 Bond St.

When: Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Why I Want To See It: Being Orthodox I know the detailing and iconography that goes into Orthodox churches, therefore it would be interesting to see an Orthodox church from the perspective of the Greeks.