R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant among landmarks residents can tour during Open Doors Toronto this weekend

A view of the south side of the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant on Queen Street East. Beach Metro Community News file photo.

Area residents will have the opportunity to visit some local landmarks during the Open Doors Toronto event taking place this weekend.

Open Doors Toronto goes Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29. Across the city there will be more than 100 buildings and sites opened up for members of the public to get a closer look at for free.

In East Toronto, Open Doors locations for this weekend are the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, the Glen Rhodes Campus (formerly known as Glen Rhodes United Church), Todmorden Mills, St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, and the City of Toronto’s 433 Eastern Yard.

R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant – The iconic water treatment plan on Queen Street East at the foot of Victoria Park Avenue is well-known to most residents and is always a popular Open Doors location.

The plant will be open for visitors to take self-guided tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday of this weekend. The last admittance will be at 3:30 p.m. on each day. Plant staff will be on hand to answer questions. Visitors are advised that there can be a lot of walking and stairs between the buildings.

The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant was constructed in the 1930s, and is the largest of the City of Toronto’s four water treatment plants. It provides an average of 400 million litres of safe drinking water to residents in Toronto and York Region each day.

According to Open Doors Toronto: “Dubbed ‘The Palace of Purification’, the R.C. Harris was commissioned by Roland Caldwell Harris, Toronto’s first and longest-serving Public Works Commissioner, as a water showcase to highlight the routine and essential function needed to make cities possible.
“The R. C. Harris is the largest ensemble of Art Deco buildings in Toronto, providing an excellent example of how Art Deco style can integrate with Late Romanesque Revival and Modern Classical forms.The plant is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act as a National Historic Civil Engineering Site, and has been recognized as a Canadian Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association.”

Todmorden Mills – Located at 67 Pottery Rd. in the Don Valley, this site will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Last admission will be 4 p.m.

Visitors will be able to explore the history of Todmorden Mills and the surrounding Don Valley and the Wildflower Preserve. There will be outdoor games and family crafts, and those attending can also visit the Papermill Gallery to view the art of the Toronto Watercolour Society and the Awakenings video series created by Indigenous, Black and artists of colour at Toronto History Museums.

According to Open Doors Toronto: “Located in the scenic Don River Valley, Todmorden Mills is a cross-section of Toronto, stacked century by century, and layer by layer upon itself. From an Indigenous waterway to an industrial hub, to a modern arts and theatre centre, each community has left its mark and added another layer to explore.

“The site is home to a collection of 19th-century industrial and domestic buildings ranging from a paper mill which houses the Papermill Gallery and Theatre, a former brewery, two restored period homes and a Wildflower Preserve. Todmorden Mills allows visitors to immerse themselves in Toronto’s history through the daily lives of the working people who made the lumber, flour, beer and bricks that built our city.”

Glen Rhodes Campus – The site of Glen Rhodes United Church at 1470 Gerrard St. E., just west of Coxwell Avenue at Rhodes Avenue, the campus will be open for tours. The church was constructed in 1925 in the Art Deco style.

It will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with last admissions at 4:30 p.m.

The visitor experience at the campus is described as “Take a look inside the Glen Rhodes Campus as a newly remodeled Community Hub. Volunteers posted around the building will be happy to answer any questions you may have and share with you what the Neighbourhood Food Hub has done to make the space accessible for community food groups. Follow along on our guided tours every hour, starting at 10:30 am, to learn more about the history of the building and the renewal of the space. Take a look inside our Community Microgreens Farm and see what’s growing this week.”

St. Matthew’s Anglican Church – Located at 135 First Avenue, north of Dundas Avenue and west of Logan Avenue, the church has been a central part of the Riverdale neighbourhood since 1874.

“The interior roof is an open timbered one with six principals, fitted with tracing and curved braces with the rafters exposed. The screen separating the choir from the nave is a beautiful example of carved oak work in later Gothic. Over the years the church windows have been fitted with an imposing array of stained glass by the firm of Luxfer, including a great memorial east window dedicated to those who died in World War I,” according to Open Doors Toronto.

The church will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with last admission at 4:30 p.m.; and it will be open on Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., with last admission at 3:30 p.m.

City of Toronto’s 433 Eastern Yard – This city facility is located at 433 Eastern Ave., between Logan Avenue and McGee. The facility was constructed in 1912 as part of the Consumers Gas Corporation complex. The complex consisted of three buildings, two of which are now buildings A and B of 433 Eastern Avenue and are now owned by the City of Toronto. The third building, 415 Eastern Ave., is owned by Enbridge Gas.

It will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with last admissions at 4:30 p.m.

Open Doors Toronto: “Visitors can take part in learning about activities and services that the Transportation Division provides as we build and maintain a resilient transportation network so that people connect with the places, activities and communities they value. The yard doors will be open to showcase traffic signs, road maintenance equipment, and the salt storage area. Visitors can see and learn about various service vehicles including a street sweeper, front loader, flusher, patrol truck and others. Staff will be on site to give demonstrations and educate the public about the services and safety programs that Transportation Services provides year round across the city.”

For more information on this weekend’s Open Doors Toronto, please go to https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/festivals-events/doors-open-toronto/doors-open-buildings-sites/#location=&lat=43.748777&lng=-79.638519

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