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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What goes on behind closed doors across Ontario

   One-Tank Trip for April 27-13

   (c) By Jim Fox

   I hear you knocking but you can come in.
   What goes on behind closed doors – often closed to public – are swinging open to give visitors a peek inside.
   Doors Open Ontario is back, with Guelph and Prince Edward County today, and 57 events and 822 sites through the end of October.
Doors Open Toronto tours include the Market Gallery at the historic St. Lawrence Market. (Barbara Fox photo)
    “Communities across the province open the doors to hundreds of historic buildings, places of worship, museums, private homes, industrial areas, green buildings, heritage gardens and other interesting venues,” said Liane Nowosielski of the sponsoring Ontario Heritage Trust.
   There are special activities, such as tours, exhibitions and demonstrations – all free of charge.

   A little bit of culture
   This year’s theme is Cultural Expressions, recognizing the “relationship between heritage and the arts.”
   Venues for the arts, including theatres, opera houses, art galleries, artist studios, recital halls and recording studios, are open for tours.
   Joining the program are Innisfil (May 4), Northumberland (June 1,2) and Bradford West Gwillimbury (Oct. 5) to tell the stories of their local heritage.
   Trails and natural heritage sites are also included with walking, hiking and cycling trails, many of which feature special tours and activities.

   Opening up
   Here’s an overview of what’s coming up through the end of June, with details of the rest of the program in a future column.
Visitors can tour the Dundurn Castle that was the home of Sir Allan MacNab, one of Canada’s first premiers, during Doors Open Hamilton. (Ontario Heritage Trust photo)
   - Hamilton, May 4, 5: With 50 sites, visitors can learn of the “rich architectural and cultural heritage of this former steel town as it evolves into a diverse, eclectic and creative community.”
   Locations include the 1855-era Dundurn Castle that was the home of Sir Allan MacNab, one of Canada’s first premiers.
   The e-House in Puslinch, an “ecological, economic, efficient” home, is one of Canada’s most energy-efficient houses that generates its own electricity.
   - Norfolk, May 11: Doors Open Norfolk marks the “relationship between heritage and the arts,” with many local theatres, art galleries, artists’ studios and more to see.
   Stop by the Port Dover Harbour Museum, partially housed in a 1940’s fisherman’s shanty, with the wheelhouse of a 1912 lake freighter and the 1932 fishing tug Almidart.
   The Eva Brook Donly Museum & Archives in Simcoe is in the Georgian-style 1845 Mulkins-Donly house.
Big Chute Marine Railway, transporting boats along the Trent-Severn Waterway in a cradle, is part of Doors Open Georgian Bay. (Jim Fox photo)
   - Georgian Bay, May 19: They’re showcasing two National Historic Sites: Locks 44 and 45 on the Trent-Severn Waterway that will be in operation.
   Lock 44 is the Big Chute Marine Railway, the only one of its kind in North America, carrying boats in cradles over a height of 18 metres.
   Visitors can tour the 1880’s Christie's Mill Inn & Spa; the 1897-era Delawana Inn; the 1850’s Severn Lodge; and chainsaw woodcarver Kelvin Cadeau’s residence.
   - Kincardine, May 25, 26: This is all about “Great Times on a Great Lake (Huron),” featuring the town’s octagonal wooden lighthouse built in 1880 that’s a maritime museum.
   Visitors can tour the Bruce Power Visitors’ Centre to “explore the world of nuclear energy” and rejuvenate at the Kincardine Labyrinth Peace Garden at Geddes Environmental Park.
The 100-year-old ornate Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre can be toured during Doors Open Toronto. (Photo by Peter Lusztyk, Ontario Heritage Trust)
   - Toronto, May 25, 26: A vast choice of 150 “architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city” are open.
   This includes the century-old Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre and the Market Gallery on the second floor of the St. Lawrence Market with the last remaining section of Toronto’s original city hall (1845-99).
   There’s also One King West Hotel & Residence, with its beaux arts architectural style in the 1914 former Dominion Bank headquarters, and tours of Fort York National Historic Site.
   - Stratford, June 1: There are 12 heritage sites from the only surviving tavern along the Huron Tract and the Queen Anne-revival city hall, to examples of terracotta and the new high-tech University of Waterloo campus.
   Edwardian, Italianate and regency-style homes will be open, including the riverside abode of Canadian physicist Sir John McLennan.
   - Other events: Peterborough and Whitby, May 4; Richmond Hill, May 11; Brockville-Thousand Islands and Orillia, May 25-26; Whitchurch-Stouffville, June 1; Collingwood, Owen Sound and Ottawa, June 1,2; Clarington, June 8; Smiths Falls, June 9; South Muskoka (Gravenhurst), June 15; Muskoka Lakes, June 16; Fergus/Elora and Kingston, June 22; and Huntsville/Lake of Bays, June 29, 30.
   Details: doorsopenontario.on.ca;  (416) 325-5000


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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