Sunday, 27 May 2012

BLOG -- Doors Open Toronto (May 26 - May 27, 2012)

Note: I updated my "EXPOSURES (FOOD PLACES) -- Don Don Izakaya, Sushi Garden, Sushi Rock" blog with a bit more detail of Sushi Garden and Sushi Rock. They're both standard quality sushi places, so they're safe (but not spectacular). Okay, now to this week's actual blog.

This is the weekend of Anime North (a large fan-run Anime Convention in Ontario). The last time I went was two years ago. It was a fun experience because I went with friends, though I found some of the panels lacking in substance (when I'm not shopping or checking out an event, I'm attending panels). Last year I didn't go, 'cuz I didn't have enough money (was trying to save up to pay back student loans). I also had a hand injury and didn't want to go anywhere while it was still healing. This year, I decided not to go to Anime North and to check out Doors Open Toronto instead.

Doors Open Toronto is this event where participating buildings (historical or modern) open their doors to the public, either giving tours of the building's history or letting people explore on their own. I went with my sister and her fiance on Saturday, and it was pretty neat, though a bit tiresome at times. We did a lot of walking between a few buildings. 

Two days before, my sister and I quickly went through the list of participating buildings, marking down which ones to hit. Then we devised a route to minimize back-tracking. Doors Open only runs until 5 PM for each day, and there are over 100 participating buildings all over Toronto, so... yeah. I went mainly to check out the buildings' architecture.


Location: 506 Bloor Street West (close to Bathurst & Bloor) Google Map

Bloor Hot Docs Cinema still plays stuff with film, though they also play stuff in other formats. The theatre room is pretty huge and I was surprised to see balcony seats. Balcony seats for a movie theatre? I've never seen that before. When we explored the balcony area, we saw some seats that were designed for two people. That's really cool! Then we attended the tour of the projection booth room and that was really interesting.


Location: 350 King Street West (close to King & John) Google Map

This visit was brief as we were directed to the 4th floor to check out the Film Reference Library. As soon as we got out of the elevator, we saw a huge line-up for the tour. The wait would have been about 20-ish minutes, so we left.


Location: 234 Bay Street (close to Bay & Wellington) Google Map

So I didn't know, but the Design Exchange building used to be a stock exchange building. I only know Design Exchange as a place to showcase design-related competitions -- now I know that it shows more than just that.

There was a guided tour, but we decided to explore ourselves. I loved the bare-ness of this place (the sound of echoing footsteps is kinda relaxing for me for some reason). At one of the walls, there was a projector showing slides of how crazy busy this floor used to be, with papers littered all over the floor, tons of people in suits on the phones and just interacting with each other. Being in this room really felt like being in the past.


Location: 56 Yonge Street (close to Yonge & Wellington) Google Map

I was hoping to explore the architecture. I'm kinda of the opinion that swanky hotels would have swanky designs. I have no idea if Hotel Victoria is a swanky hotel, but I wanted to see. But when we walked in, we saw many small groups spread out with a spokesperson, each one talking a bit about the history of Hotel Victoria. One of the groups was blocking the hallway into the hotel. We figured that the lobby was all we were going to see and left.


Location: 1 King Street West (on Yonge & King) Google Map

This is one swanky place! I took pictures of the lobby, but the actual Doors Open bit is downstairs, in the vault and safety deposit rooms. This building used to be a bank.

The vault door and bars were still intact and it was so cool to see up close. I took a close look at the vault door and saw that it was last "checked" in 2000. What were they checking for? The safety deposit box room was really small and there was a neat display consisting of tons of bankbooks, each one showing a year and a money-related fact. You could say it was the history of currency.

Then we went up to the 12th floor to the Chairman's Boardroom. It was neat and fun. I really enjoyed exploring what I could of this place. Here are some more pics:

Me staring intently at the vault door.

The vault room got turned into some meeting room. Neat!!

One of the views from the Chairman's Boardroom. This view is no good.

I thought this was a wall.

Nope. It's a door!

Looks like I found some treasure, hehe (they're cleaning supplies).

This was a really fun and neat experience. Now I'm not sure which I'll want to attend next year: Anime North or Doors Open Toronto. We didn't get to check out every building on our list, and I know there were other buildings, too. *sigh* haha.

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to comment if you like :)

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