Sunday, May 27, 2018

Doors Open Toronto 2018

This is the first year I've actually made it out to Doors Open.  Last year I had thought about taking the kids to the Don Jail (kind of down the street), but they weren't that into it, so I did something else instead.  While the weather threatened to rain, it actually held off and was actually fairly nice in the afternoon, though a bit hot.  It looks like today (Sunday) will be a scorcher.  I'm done for this year, but there is plenty still to see today. A general website to see what is available is here

In the end I saw the R. C. Harris Water Plant, which is at Victoria Park and Queen off in the Beaches.  This is quite the palace of water.  There is a general discussion of constructing this facility and the Bloor Viaduct in Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion, which I really ought to reread one of these days.  Harris seems like quite the giant, perhaps as influential as Robert Moses, though somewhat less power-hungry (actually willing to give up some of his duties).  At one point, Harris was in charge of road and bridge construction, garbage disposal, the TTC and of course the water works for Toronto.

I biked over to the Water Plant.  I've never been that deep into the Beaches before.  I'm glad I got an early start before the beaches (and the bike path) got really crowded.

Anyway, after a bit of a detour I made it.  One night thing about this site is that is it so big, there are no lines to get in.

The upper building is where the filtration happens.  The lower building is the pumping station.

I may write more about this later.

I decided since I was already on my bike (and fairly sweaty), I should see if I could get into the Don Jail.  In the past, this has been one of the more popular sites with fairly long lines.  I don't know if I just got lucky, or most people who wanted to see it had already seen it last year, but I was able to get right in for a visit.

Of course everyone wants to see the tiny jail cells and then upstairs where they used to hang people.

It was an interesting site and worth a quick visit, but to be honest, the Ottawa Jail (now a youth hostel) is more impressive, not least because one can stay overnight in the cells, which I did many, many years ago.  One of the more impressive things is the Sorel Etrog collection they have, but I will hold off on that for a second post.

I was fairly tired by this point, but I had to go downtown for a concert anyway, so I left a bit early and stopped off at the Bay TTC station, since the lower level was open.  This is usually closed off and only open for filming.  It wasn't the most thrilling site (it basically looked like a dingy station), but just being in the space was interesting.  Unfortunately, this site isn't open today, but it will probably be opened up next year again.

So that was my Doors Open experience.  Pretty good for a first time.

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