Monday, September 19, 2011

Doors Open London

Have you ever looked forward to a day or event so much that you spend copious amounts of time making a plan and scheduling so that you can see and do as much as possible?  That is exactly what I did for this past Sunday.  And you know what usually happens when you put that much effort into a plan - it falls apart before it really has a chance to start.  My day turned into a series of happy accidents, which lead to my conclusion that while planning may not be everything, timing certainly is.

This weekend was the 10th anniversary of Doors Open London.  It's an event that happens all across Ontario (not necessarily on the same weekend) and gives people a chance to go into some buildings that aren't usually open to the public, and those that are usually open (like museums) are free!  It also happened to be the last weekend of the Car Free Festival, and several blocks downtown were open to pedestrian traffic making it easy to get around to the different venues.  

Although I didn't take photos of everything, here is a brief pictorial post of my day.  Call it an "afternoon in the life" if you will.

I started my day at Metropolitan United Church.  Now it wasn't a stop on DO (although it was a beautiful building), but it was a Sunday and I had yet to visit this church.  I figured it was a great place to start downtown.

Metropolitan United Church

Just across the street was the site I was most excited about seeing, the London Life building.  For the first time they had their auditorium open to the public.  This is where the London Life Troupers would rehears before touring to entertain the Allied troops during WWII.  I was very impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of the volunteers here.  They did a wonderful job of presenting some very interesting photos and artifacts.

London Life

As I exited the building, I heard music playing and what sounded like a parade coming down the street.  I wasn't aware there was a parade affiliated with DO, so I watched to see what was going on.  Turns out it was part of the Walk A Mile in Her Shoes Campaign, which raises awareness of violence against women, as well as funds for a local women's shelter.  It was a parade of men walking around Victoria Park in red high heels.  An entertaining way to bring awareness to an important cause.

Walk A Mile In Her Shoes Parade

There were several men in uniform marching.  Kudos to them!

From here I rode my bike down to Dundas street that was closed to vehicles.  I walked along the closed street - which was much quieter than I was expecting, perhaps it was busier on Saturday - and took in all the buildings and booths on the street.  My favorite stop was the London City Planning offices.  The city had taken two buildings - previously a theatre and restaurant - and merged the inside to create a cohesive office space.  However, the facades were restored to their original splendor.  My historic preservation professor at EMU would have approved.

London city planning office

I stopped by an art gallery across the street.

The Arts Project

Finally, I decided to end my afternoon at a historic base ball game at Fanshawe Pioneer Village.  The London Tecumsehs played a fantastic game with an impressive 15 - 3 victory over the visitors.

Historic Base Ball!

 It was a nice end to a wonderful day, where nothing went according to plan!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful event! I wish more towns would adopt this idea.