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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Knock,knock who's there? Doors Open Ontario starting in Guelph, that's who


   One-Tank Trip for April 13/19

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Opportunity is knocking across Ontario as the welcome mat is out for another season of Doors Open.
   The Ontario Heritage Trust program on weekends from April through October lets the public take a peek and tour behind doors that are often closed to visitors.
   Each event is said to “reveal unique and fascinating places and are open to visitors free of charge.”
   There are some 800 sites in 36 cities and towns, such as historic homes, fire stations, hiking trails, courthouses, schoolhouses, gardens, places of worship and many more.
   Some sites also offer special tours, lectures, exhibits and performances,
“Scandalous” tales will be told at the Gow Bridge in Guelph. (Photo by Leanne Piper)
to better explore the stories inside.
   Guelph, the cultural and artistic university community known as the “Royal City,” again goes first by launching Doors Open on April 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
   Founded by John Galt, a Scottish poet and novelist, in the 1820s on the banks of the Speed River, Guelph is known for its Victorian-era downtown buildings, distinctive limestone architecture and heritage structures.
   It was named after the British monarch King George IV with its skyline highlighted by the Roman Catholic Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate built between 1876 and 1888.
   “This is a day-long celebration of Guelph’s finest buildings, creative spaces and artistically or architecturally relevant sites,” said Patti Broughton, executive director of the organizing Guelph Arts Council.

   Along with 13 Doors Open offerings, there are added extras in keeping with the city’s drive and enthusiasm.
   With the theme “Sharing Guelph’s Stories,” special activities include guided art walks, dramatic storytelling at Gow’s Bridge, a bike tour, rest stop and info hub.

   Come on in
   Site listings are the Victory School from 1919; Greenbriar House, 1865, called a “treasure trove of antiques and art;” and Lornewood Mansion, circa 1867, originally restored.
   Marcolongo Heritage Farm, one of the first area farms from 1878, will host visitors and is where a second event, Trails Open will offer hikes.
   Heritage Hall, circa 1880, constructed of local limestone once served as the British Methodist Episcopal Church and was a refuge for the black community and descendants of runaway slaves.
The historic Sovereign building used by the Oddfellows can be toured during Doors Open. (Photo by Susan Ratcliffe)
    The Provincial Offenses Court and the former Guelph City Hall offer tours along with the Diyode Community Workshop; KidsAbility Centre for Child Development; and the energy-efficient cottage at 17 Aberdeen St.
   Spring Mill Distillery, built in 1835 as Allan’s Distillery, welcomes visitors as does the historic Sovereign whose ballroom was used by the Oddfellows.

   Added extras
   The event is being “enhanced” to increase the role that arts play with the launch at Doors Open After Dark presented by Guelph Museums.
   It will mark Guelph’s 192nd birthday and John Galt’s 240th with history and art activations “that position the settler heritage within a present-day dialogue with First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.”
   These take place at the Civic Museum from 9 p.m. April 26 with music performances, storytelling workshops, tours, painting, food trucks and a lighting ceremony to launch Doors Open Ontario.
   Storyteller Jay Wilson will shares tales of “scandalous events” around the Gow Bridge, one of only 10 Ontario stone bridges, built to bypass a toll gate on Gordon Street.
Spring Mill Distillery is among the sites to be open to visitors in Guelph. (Photo by Susan Ratcliffe)
   There will be guided public art and downtown gallery walks led by Abby Nowakowski and Ahmri Vandeborne and a bike tour.
   Other upcoming door events are Peterborough and Whitby, May 4; Hamilton, May4 and 5; Richmond Hill, May 11; and Toronto, May 25 and 26.
   To find out more about the Guelph event: guelpharts.ca/doors-open-guelph; (519) 836-3280; and all Doors Open Ontario activities: doorsopenontario.on.ca;(416) 325-5000

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

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