City’s secrets revealed at Doors Open

The 15th annual Doors Open is set to roll out the welcome mats at more than 155 venues on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25. The annual event is an opportunity to visit architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings normally off-limits to the public. Here in the East End, seven locations are on the list.

The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant FILE PHOTO
The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant

The Hubbard Park Apartments, a 27-unit public housing residence at 42 Hubbard Blvd. just north of the lake, was constructed in 1928. In 2012, Toronto Community Housing extensively renovated the building. The challenge was to maintain the original façade and stained glass windows while giving the interior a complete makeover including sustainable solutions. TCH, along with architect Van Elslander Carter, won a 2012 Toronto Heritage Award. The venue is open Saturday only, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Architectural firm Johnson Chou Inc., at 1085 Woodbine Ave., is new to Doors Open. The building is described as “a modern design site in the heart of a traditional neighbourhood.” On Saturday, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., visitors will be able to tour the interior.

The TTC Russell Carhouse, 1403-1433 Queen St. E., is open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Originally built in 1913 by the Toronto Railway Company as a paint shop, that building was demolished in 1923 to make room for a streetcar repair shop in 1924. Visitors will be able to board the new articulated streetcar and some of the vintage cars.

Fool’s Paradise, formerly the Bluffs home and studio of artist Doris McCarthy, will be open both Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. McCarthy bought the 12-acre property, at 1 Meadowcliffe Dr., in 1939 and built her house the following year. The property was donated to the Ontario Heritage Trust in 1998. Visitors will be able to stroll the grounds and take tours through the home.

The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, the imposing edifice located at Queen Street East just east of the Neville streetcar loop, is the largest ensemble of Art Deco buildings in Toronto. Constructed from 1932 to 1937 and opened in 1941, the plant, nicknamed the ‘Palace of Purification,’ provides safe drinking water to residents of Toronto and York Region. It is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act as a National Historic Civil Engineering Site. On Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can take self-guided tours.

Fire Station 227, 1904 Queen St. E. at Woodbine, will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The building was constructed in 1905, incorporating Dutch or Flemish along with Arts and Crafts architectural styles, and its clock tower serves as an iconic landmark at the western end of the Beach neighbourhood. Visitors will have the opportunity to see an active fire station at work.

The Beach Hebrew Institute, 109 Kenilworth Ave., was designated a historic building in 1982. It was originally built as a Baptist church in 1895 but was later converted to a synagogue and is today one of the city’s oldest still-functioning ones. On Sunday, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., visitors will be able to take guided tours.

For more information on all Doors Open venues, visit

Was this article informative? Become a Beach Metro Community News Supporter today! For 50 years, we have worked hard to be the eyes and ears in your community, inform you of upcoming events, and let you know what and who is making a difference. We cover the big stories as well as the little things that often matter the most. CLICK HERE to support your Beach Metro Community News!