Friday, May 27, 2011

planning my weekend

It is almost as if I am going on holiday. I have been excitedly awaiting this weekend. I have the map out and the list of 'attractions' and have been poring over them all week, circling and highlighting, trying to pare down my list of 'must see' and put it all into a reasonable order.

For this is Toronto's weekend for Doors Open. This is where you get the chance to wander around (for free) buildings that are not normally open to the public. In some cases, architects or historians are on hand to discuss the building or the era it was built. There will be photo exhibits, music recitals (organ playing in the cathedrals!), demonstrations and I noticed a few scavenger hunts planned for amusing the younger crowd. It is advertised as nearly 150 buildings, though in actuality there are only 137, and one inexplicable cancellation so really only 136, which to me would be almost 140, but I quibble. For anyone who is interested in architecture and history, this is the event of the year. I have attended many times over the past 12 years and there are always too many sites on my list that I have not yet visited. Some are sadly no longer offered, and the trick is to make sure you don't put something off for too long (like The Don Jail, where for its one year, I lined up for over three hours before someone finally came out and informed us that after a certain point - which was quite a few people ahead of me - we would not be getting in.) And don't waste time revisiting sites - there are just too many on offer.

It is almost ironic really, as Toronto is not known for preserving its history or flouting its architecture. In fact it is quite the opposite as far as the people in charge of such things are concerned. But, for the rest of us it is an insatiable feast.

I think I have my list ready. I purposefully did not book any appointments for today, so I could rest up. It will be seven hours of fast walking and driving around for cheap parking spots and hopping on and off the subway and interminable queuing ...


  1. Hello there
    We have similar event her in Melbourne - maybe not quite a large but definitely growing in popularity. Must look out for it next time its held - roll on summer, as thats when it will be lol
    Take care

    Still Waters

  2. Cathy: welcome! there are dozens of such events all over Ontario - I have plans to tour several smaller towns - but Toronto's is by far the largest. most have only one or two dozen places.

  3. OMG! I am afraid I would not have lined up to see the jail. 3 hours!!!!!!! No way!!
    What a wonderful event though. A chance to see some historic and new buildings. How fun!
    But three hours?? No way!

  4. SueAnn: I know it must sound strange, but really, Torontonians were so excited to get to see inside this iconic and storied old jail. It is a horrible place, and the old section has been closed since the late 1970s but is actually a beautiful building and is being renovated now to be used as a rental facility. I was bitterly disappointed at not getting inside.

  5. I attended Doors Open in our region and found it very enjoyable and interesting. You are brave to tackle Toronto driving and parking. Haven fun!

  6. It sounds like you will have a very good time. You do always manage to amuse yourself. I admire that in you.

  7. Ruth: the driving and parking are a pain - and very time consuming!

    Nora: thanks. it is sometimes hard to get motivated when you are on your own.

  8. Sounds great. Toronto sounds like an interesting and nice place. And quibble away there, the world needs quibblers more than ever.
    The Melbourne jail, Pentridge, was closed, and later pulled down, and I think it is going to be a yet another area full of apartment blocks.

  9. Oh, old piles of stone!!! ;-)

    - Jazz


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