‘Re-used, Re-visited and Revised’ is the theme of the 17th annual Doors Open festival, taking place Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29, at locations around the city. The event offers free access to venues that have an architectural, historical, cultural, or social significance, and where many of the buildings are normally closed to the public. In the East End, four such sites will be greeting visitors with tours, talks and exhibits.
- TTC Leslie Barns, 1165 Lakeshore Blvd. E. – Constructed just last year, this new streetcar maintenance and storage facility is equipped with the latest technology to repair and service the city’s new fleet of people-movers. The building also houses the largest ‘green roof’ in the city, making it an ideal habitat, perched as it is so close to the Leslie Spit, for birds and insects. The Doors Open visitor experience includes an on-board streetcar tour of the facility, a visit to the car wash bays, family-friendly activities and a barbecue. Open Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admittance 4:30 p.m.)
- C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, 2701 Queen St. E. – ‘The Waterworks’ is the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the city. Constructed during the 1930s and opened in 1941, the plant is designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Site under the Ontario Heritage Act. The tour is a self-guided one but staff will be available to answer questions. Open Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last admittance 3:30 p.m.)
- Toronto Fire Station 227, 1904 Queen St. E. – The clock tower at the corner of Queen Street East and Woodbine Avenue has served as an iconic Beach neighbourhood landmark since its construction in 1905. The building features Dutch, Flemish and English architectural styles. Doors Open visitors will be able to chat with firefighters, see the pumper truck (barring an emergency fire call, as this is an active station), and tour the main floor. Open Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admittance 4:30 p.m.)
- Fool’s Paradise, 1 Meadowcliffe Dr. – This former home and studio of Canadian artist Doris McCarthy was dubbed a ‘fool’s paradise’ by her mother, who considered it an extravagant purchase when McCarthy bought the Scarborough Bluffs property in 1939. McCarthy donated the property to the Ontario Heritage Trust in 2008 and the picturesque 12-acre property now houses the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Centre, creating a space for visual artists, musicians and writers. The Doors Open event offers guided tours through the house and an opportunity to stroll the grounds. Open Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admittance 4:30 p.m.)
For more information on these and other venues, search ‘Doors Open’ at toronto.ca.