The 11th annual Doors Open Toronto was held from 29th May to 30th May, 2010. This has always been one of my favourite times of the year, because I love architecture and heritage, and I can get free access to places normally closed to the public. Not to mention the free giveaways!
The day starts off with a tour of Scadding Cabin at Exhibition Place, the oldest building in Toronto. It was originally built for John Scadding, assistant to Upper Canada Lt. Gov. Simcoe, near the Don River. No one has lived there for over 100 years, and it was eventually moved to the current location and preserved.
There are contemporary 19th century furnishings inside, complete with an herb garden in the yard.
After a brief stop at the Horse Palace, I stopped at the Allstream Centre. It is the new name of the Automotive Building, renovated to become a conference centre. It became operational late last year, but was opened to the public for the first time during Doors Open 2010.
Overall, I don’t think it lived up to the hype. The building kept most of the art deco exterior design. The interior, although pleasant, unfortunately has no sign of any Automotive Building heritage besides placards stuck to the walls. I think more could have been done to celebrate the original decor.
Despite the name, HMCS York is actually a building by the lake. It is home to the Canadian naval reserve in Toronto, which I didn’t know existed until this weekend.
This posh reception area has the best view of the lake from the 2nd deck:
This year, the Canadian navy celebrates its 100th anniversary!
On to the John St. Roundhouse, where the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre opened its 1st phase to the public for the first time!
In addition to the locomotives and carriages on display, the museum features a fully operational turntable, and has 3 bays dedicated to the roundhouse’s original purpose of refurbishing/maintenance work on rail equipment. A miniature train loops around the entire museum on a narrow gauge. I’m looking forward to visiting the fully completed museum!
Next door to the TRHC is Steam Whistle Brewery. The brewery was instrumental in preserving the historical roundhouse, and has been operating here for 10 years now. It used as much of the original spaces as possible, and support brackets and beams were designed such that they do not penetrate the original structure.
However, the best draw was the FREE beer and FREE beer tour!
I planned to visit the Portlands Energy Centre, the new powerplant by the lake, except I arrived too late. However, it’s been another great weekend of exploring. I will do this again next year!