• Toronto opens its doors

    by  • 5/17/2009 • Toronto • 0 Comments

    Coincidentally, this next weekend where I’m supposed to be heading to the GTA, Toronto is also hosting an event called “Doors Open Toronto.” Basically, this is where there’s a co-ordinated Open House of sorts in the city, inviting people to drop by, in many cases for hosted tours of places that aren’t normally accessible to the public. I’d like to look around, but I’m just not going to have any bandwidth to go look at buildings, so I’ll make notes for later.

    “175 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and/or social significance open their doors to the public. See the Buildings to visit page for our 10th Anniversary bigger and better 2009 roster! Admission is free.”


    I’ve been poking around the Doors Open site to see what kind of places might be open next year. I’ve found some things that need to be investigated further; community gardens and kitchens, art and architecture, networking opportunities, etc. There are a lot of churches, mosques, and synagogues taking part in this event. There’s also the Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist temple and the Toronto East Masonic Temple.


    An awful lot of city libraries are part of the event too, which seems almost counter-intuitive, as libraries are pretty much always open to the public. Some of the buildings are pretty impressive, and I think I’d like to visit the Thomas Fisher library sometime.

    The Stop’s Supper Solutions helps you get ready for another busy week by preparing five delicious, wholesome meals for a family of four without the hassle and mess. Spend just 2 hours in our commercial-grade kitchen to assemble quick, healthy dinners in a fun, social setting. And you’ll learn some helpful hints from Joshna, our professional chef. The cost per person is $150 and includes all the ingredients needed to prepare five dinners for a family of four.”


    $7.5 per head for a week’s worth of dinners; and only two hours of time? Brilliant. I’d be interested in something like that happening weekly, but it seems like something of a monthly event.


    Courtyard House is a project that has a small house built ‘inside out’ by western standards; with a central courtyard that all rooms look out on. It almost encourages you to work and live outside as much as you can, and when you can’t, it still brings the outside in.

    The Courtyard House was inspired by an ancient form of architecture and a new form of North American urban thinking – infill housing as an alternative urban typology.


    By converting a contractor warehouse in a mixed-use industrial neighborhood, the ambition was to create a modern, affordable home and studio for a family of four – one which could successfully adapt to a mid-block or laneway situation, where there is no typical front or back. The design of the house is generated by an emphasis on the views and activities of the interior courtyards, where all the windows look inwards.


    “It is the courtyard house’s multivalence – to be urban yet introverted, open yet intimate – that reveals the rich potential of the project’s double readings.”


    Toronto has what they claim is North America’s first urban-sited wind turbine; it’s at Exhibition Place, just west of downtown Toronto. Is it possible that Toronto is even more forward thinking than Vancouver?

    The turbine production capacity helps displace up to 380 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, which is the equivalent of taking 1,300 cars off the road or planting 30,000 trees each year.


    The Krishnas have a big temple right downtown in Toronto as well, so there’s always the Sunday service and free vegetarian meal that they put on. Religious people intrigue me where religions do not.


    Also, we might have to buy lifejackets and join the Westwood Sailing Club; learn to sail and then book the club boats.


    I knew that there was a subway in downtown Toronto, which implied that there’d be some amount of tunnels, likely with some shops… but there’s this huge maze that runs under much of the downtown area. With some clever planning, winter exposure to the elements can be minimized. PATH’s Wikipedia page and their own web site with map.

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