Where we went and what we saw – 

Below is our article in anticipation of Doors Open 2015, suggesting sites we were curious about and/or knew something about. We wandered off in different directions than we’d planned, and here’s what we saw:

The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) on Moatfield Road showcased the winners of its annual OAA Celebration of Excellence Awards, honouring the best in architectural design and innovation by Ontario architects. (Click here for a list of all the 2015 award winners.)
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This year the awards ceremony included The People’s Choice Award which went to Moriyama & Teshima Architects in association with Charles Correa Associates for the Ismaili Centre. Guided tours of the Centre included a look at the beautiful prayer centre with its crystalline glass dome roof.
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The centre and the adjacent Aga Khan Museum, with a 6.8 hectare landscaped park, were popular Doors Open venues.
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It seemed appropriate to take a look at one of the oldest buildings of our ever-changing waterfront. The Beaux-Arts Classicism of the Toronto Harbor Commission building on Harbour Street, where the shore of Lake Ontario once reached, now engulfed by a rising tide of high rises.
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Happily, Redpath Sugar Ltd., on the waterfront since the 1950s, is still working hard to keep our sugar supply coming in.
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From the waterfront to the R.C. Harris water treatment plant, everyone’s favourite. Glorious art deco structure in the service of healthy clean city water.
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Following the infrastructure north, we ended at the High Level Pumping Station on Poplar Plains Rd, oldest pump in Toronto’s water supply system.
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Such amazing inside glimpses, and so many regrets. Lucky for us there’s always next year.

– Elizabeth Cinello
Photos by Elizabeth Cinello with additions by Schuster Gindin and Miria Ioannou

U of T open door.This year’s annual Doors Open is on May 23 and 24. As the organizers say, the event offers “free and rare access to more than 155 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city.” This year, the focus is on many recreational sites to complement the upcoming Pan American/Parapan American Games. We’re bringing your attention to less sporty venues that are included in Doors Open 2015 – a few off the beaten path – and a few that we’re written about or featured in Living Toronto.

Knox College interior, U of T.Knox College

We were inspired by the whole University of Toronto’s downtown campus and included many photographs and historical anecdotes in Robert Fisher’s piece Architecture for Learning: a fond tour of the University of Toronto.

St. Georges Greek Orthodox church.St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church

Robert Fisher again gave us remarkable tour of Orthodox churches in the city including St. George’s in Incense and Song: Toronto’s Orthodox Churches.


Aga Kahn museum interior.The Aga Khan Museum

For an insider’s review of this recently opened museum, our resident historian and architectural aficionado, Robert Fisher, gave you A Dervish in the Courtyard: Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum. Extraordinary photos by Schuster Gindin.


Inside Wychwood Barns.Artscape Wychwood Barns

This is one site that is close to our hearts and about which we have written extensively: POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Saving Wychwood Barns, MUSIC IN THE BARNS: When that Spark Hits the Stage, ALL IN A WEEK’S WOOK:  Managing the Stop’s Wychwood Farmers’ Market, YOUNG FARMERS: Bringing Fresh Organic Food to Your Neighbourhood, and When the Barns were a Workplace.

And here are the sites we’re arbitrarily suggesting you visit. Mostly because these are the ones we want to go to ourselves.

Coach_House_Press_300pxCoach House Press

As book nerds we love this press and its great local history of publishing, printing and binding.


Denegri_Bessai_300pxDenegri Bessai Studio

We like this location at Bathurst and Dupont and are always fascinated by spaces that combine the commercial with the residential.



We drive by this building often and have always wanted to peek inside.



Fools_Paradise_300pxFool’s Paradise

Besides the great name, this site will give you a perfect excuse to get out to the Scarborough Bluffs on a spring day.



If you’ve been following Living Toronto you’ll have noticed that we’re obsessed with “architecture, urbanism and landscape” (among other things). gh3 focuses on these.


Gibraltar_Point_Lighthouse_300pxGibraltar Point Lighthouse

When you’ve had enough indoor experiences and want to head outside. For the same reason as Fool’s Paradise.


Orde_300pxOrde Street Public School

We have many teacher friends and appreciate all the historical buildings that house our schools. Also, who wouldn’t want to visit the place where Johnny Wayne (of Wayne & Shuster fame) went to school?

Todmorden_Mills_300pxTodmorden Mills Heritage Site

Okay so this one is listed because one of us grew up in the area. The place where you went for walk and pretended you were deep in the woods – just metres away from the DVP.

York_Railway_Modellers_300pxYork Railway Modellers

Just because.


UoT_Daniel's_Architecture_Green_Roof_300pxUniversity of Toronto – Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design

And we’re back to architecture, landscape and design (mostly). Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

– Miria Ioannou
Photos by Schuster Gindin and courtesy Doors Open

This article can be found in WHAT’S HERE, in the section The City.


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