Doors Open Toronto, Toronto Archives, part 5 of 5

The Toronto Archives is on Spadina Ave.,just north of Dupont. It is quite the fascinating place and houses all City government records for the city of Toronto and all preceding municipalities.DSC_0168 DSC_0180You can find a record of everyone that has ever owned your house as well as a sizable collection of records created by groups and individuals. DSC_0174 DSC_0192

There is a full restoration lab and currently they are digitizing over one million photos that will be available to all on their website. So far they have done approximately one hundred thousand.

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A very inviting and educational place to come. Thank you to Doors Open, and many thanks to those of you that have actually checked out all five of these articles. If you wanted to, this is the place you can check all of the facts and numbers I have quoted.DSC_0190 DSC_0175As I was wandering the halls this sign caught my eye and made me chuckle.

DSC_0184As always Enjoy Toronto!


Doors Open Toronto, High Water Pumping Station, part 4 of 5

Tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood sits the High Water Pumping Station.

DSC_0163It is one of 22 stations that move water from Lake Ontario to the higher elevations in Toronto. It was built in 1906 to replace the Yorkville station that serviced what used to be the town of Yorkville and was expanded in 1910.


These are the maps of the entire water grid for the city of Toronto.


There are 10 pumps operating in this location and it is the only station that is fully manned for 24 hours a day.



A lot of these gages are kept more for show,but from here the city keeps track of all incoming water to ensure a steady flow and pressure.

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The building was designated a Heritage Site in 1985
DSC_0140From all accounts this is the last working steam driven pump in existence in Toronto.Great place to visit and a reminder that whenever we turn on a tap or flush, these people are on the job making sure that the water will be there.DSC_0128

As always Enjoy Toronto !

Doors Open Toronto, Old City Hall & Osgoode Hall, part 3 of 5

Old City Hall sits at the corner of Queen St. and Bay St. It took the architect Edward James Lennox 3 years to design and 20 years to build. A truly marvelous testament to the highest level of craftsmanship of the time, it was finally completed in 1899.

DSC_0075It took 1360 train car loads of stone, the grey from the Credit River Valley in Ontario and the brown from New Brunswick. It also took 8354 barrels of cement.

DSC_0076It was Toronto’s third City Hall and served as such from 1899-1965. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take any photos inside the building but as anyone that has ever fought a traffic ticket knows, Lennox’s attention to detail runs throughout the building and it’s cavernous halls.

DSC_0078The cenotaph was added in 1925 as a tribute to Torontonians that lost their lives in WWI, and other wars since. Like every great building this one has it’s share of stories too. Because of time and massive cost overruns, from $600,000 budgeted to $2.5 Million actual, the councillors of the day refused to allow a plaque honoring Edward Lennox, so Lennox had the masons inscribe his name in the stonework around the upper levels of the building. These faces were said to be the faces of the city councillors of the day, but Lennox had his own face chiseled among them. He’s the one with the big moustache.

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When the new City Hall was opened in 1965,Old City Hall became a municipal court and was saved from the wrecking ball, thankfully, by being made a National Historic Site in 1989.

Osgoode Hall sits on the other side of the new City Hall at Queen St. and University Ave.

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It is one of the oldest buildings in Toronto and houses the Court of Appeal for Ontario, parts of the Superior Court of Justice and the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Designed by architects John Ewart, Henry Bowyer Lane, William Warren Baldwin the building opened in 1829 and the southern face has remained the same since. It has gone through many additions, expanding north, as the City and the needed services grew.

DSC_0096 DSC_0102 The interior is quite inspiring and features oil paintings of former Chief Justices of Ontario, and carpeted halls and woodwork that seem to create a very somber hush throughout. The Atrium features an original tile floor from England and the pillars are of the same stone that was used to build the Tower of London.DSC_0098

DSC_0113 DSC_0105 DSC_0114These courtrooms are quiet elegant places and one can well imagine some of the most important decisions of our history to have been argued here.


A couple of buildings where many men and woman have come to pay the piper.

As always Enjoy Toronto!


Doors Open Toronto, Metropolitan United Church, part 1 of 5

The Metropolitan United Church is the biggest church in downtown Toronto. It sits at the corner of Church and Jarvis on what is known as McGill Square. The square is always busy with people and known for a good game of chess here and there.In 1868 the original property was purchased, in a bidding war with The City of Toronto and the Catholic Church for a princely sum of $26.000.00.

DSC_0003 As you cross the heavily treed lot you come to this amazing entrance, guarded by these stone angels and under this wonderful Bell Tower

.DSC_0008 DSC_0005 DSC_0007 In 1922 a carillon of 22 bells was installed that has since grown to 54.

DSC_0004After a terrible fire in 1928 this tower was all that remained and the current church was built and opened 1929. As you enter the building you marvel at it’s sheer size.

DSC_0011 DSC_0017The glass work is an amazing testament to what I am sure was a lifetime of work.


In 1930 the largest pipe organ in Canada was installed by the Casavant Co. from Quebec that originally included 7200 pipes and has grown to a current 8,233.

DSC_0029DSC_0016In all of this architectural marvel and artistic expression it still is nice to catch a brief air of playfulness. If you look real close amongst the deep rich beams and wood covered organ pipes you see the statue of a cat keeping a close eye on these church mice.

DSC_0025 DSC_0026 DSC_0027As always Enjoy Toronto!


Harbourfront, Toronto, Circus Festival

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, allow me to give you my impressions of the circus.

DSC_0547On a beautiful Sunday the many gathered to witness acts of death defying deeds and some just plain fun.Performers and audiences of all ages came to enjoy the circus festival.


The performers were of all ages and some seemed that they had been doing this for a while. This guy did things I don’t think I have ever been able to do in my life.

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Some juggled balls and rings, or hammered a nail through a board with nothing but the power of their bare hand.

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There were some tricks involving bananas , red handkerchiefs and a really tall man.

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Throughout the event these wonderful clowns and performers kept the magic going for patrons of all ages.

DSC_0618 DSC_0664 DSC_0675A happy event in a wonderful place. Hard not to see many smiles and enjoyment from people of all ages.
DSC_0682 DSC_0669 DSC_0701 DSC_0686some great puppetry and a display of young performers that seemed destined for a life in the circus!

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Seems as though the tradition is in good hands. And all in the greatest city, Toronto.

DSC_0727As always, Enjoy Toronto, the cost for this weekend’s events, besides some food and the odd adult beverage, was free.

Fort York, World Fiddle Day

A beautiful Saturday in Toronto. I wandered down to Fort York, the setting for this year’s World Fiddle Day. It’s been many years since I’ve been to the fort,sure noticed the city encroaching from all sides. Hard to believe the waves of Lake Ontario used to come up right to these old brick walls.

DSC_0330 DSC_0376DSC_0364DSC_0367These wonderful old buildings were a wonderful setting for a celebration of the fiddle. An instrument with a world-wide appeal and love.DSC_0362 DSC_0359 DSC_0355

And come they did. The music spanned the globe and represented fiddle music from all over the world.

DSC_0337-001 DSC_0351 DSC_0397After a morning of performances by various bands the fiddle players gathered en masse and played tunes from Acadian to Quebecois, to Scotland. DSC_0369 DSC_0394There had to be at least 60 or so fiddles playing in a celebration worthy of some serious toe-tapping.


DSC_0466 DSC_0486 DSC_0495 A worthwhile celebration of one of the oldest instruments.DSC_0509 DSC_0458


And on my ride home I noticed this music thing is catching on. As always enjoy Toronto and please take the time to enjoy the music.DSC_0517 DSC_0520