Doors Open Hamilton 2015

Thursday, 11 June 2015

If you've followed this blog for any more than a year, you'll know all about my enthusiasm for Doors Open Hamilton. It's undoubtedly in my top three events in the city (and I love events!) and every year it marks the beginning of spring for me. This year was no exception. Excuse the tardiness of this post, but it took some time to comb through photos because this year as Doors Open weekend was epic, even by my standards.

Day One: 
Day One surprisingly took me to exactly one Doors Open stop, the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The problem with the Art Gallery of Hamilton (and it's a good problem to have!) is you can't do it justice quickly. I also committed to doing Day One on foot, which meant a lot of walking in the downtown Core, as my second stop was Epic Books for Authors For Indies, where authors Ariel Gordon, Amanda Leduc, and Gary Barwin were holding down fort. Not photographed were many of the other pleasure of Locke Street: A frozen banana from Forrat's Chocolate, a banana cupcake from Bitten, pizza (and a caesar and mojito) from Naroma, and champagne from Pure's anniversary celebration. Needless to say, I ate and drank well.

Day Two:
Well, needless to say, Day One's patio weather threw me for a loop and I wasted too much time eating and drinking to take in a lot of sights, so I did my best (and succeeded) to embrace as much of #DOH15 on Sunday, starting with The Sirloin Cellar on James Street North. It was never a place frequented by this vegetarian, but it was neat to slip upstairs to a room in the Tip Top building that hadn't been open to the public in more than a generation.

Next I met up with a Jane's Walk that had gathered around the Lister Block. When I think about how close this building was to destruction I still can't help but get a little bleary eyed when I see the incredible restoration job that's been done on it. We were so close to losing this beauty.

The "Stories from Central" walking tour began at Worker's Arts and Heritage, a building I recently learned (while digging through YWCA Hamilton's archives) once housed a north-end branch in the early 1900s. Today it's a museum, and potentially my wedding venue, if I ever get around to planning that damned thing.

Next up, the Ferguson Pumping Station. There's not much to say about this one except while inside it my dad told me a story about meeting Deadmau5 in Milton the night before and now I will forever link the Ferguson Pumping Station to EDM.

Alright. Here's the biggie. The Vincent Massey Educational Archives are on the Doors Open Hamilton tour every year, and because it's on the mountain, I've never gone. This downtowner doesn't make it up the escarpment much. Huge, huge, huge mistake. The Vincent Massey Educational Archives are nerd heaven for someone like me who spent a large chunk of my life working in educational publishing, who loves digging through archives, and who is devoted to both family and Hamilton history. It seems like you can't read the Hamilton Spectator without learning about another school closure. It's incredible to know that the Vincent Massey Educational Archives is there to rescue discarded signage, cornerstones, and other artifacts that would otherwise be destroyed or discarded.

The Vincent Masey Educational Archives is stocked with yearbooks spanning generations. Gary Hill is my grandfather, and today he's non-verbal. Without his ability to speak, it's difficult to learn new things about him, so finding out his high school nickname was "Rocky" is invaluable. I only wish I could ask him where it came from. 

When one of the volunteers told my dad he could ring the school bell, his face lit up. "Inside every man is a little boy who wants to set off the bell," she said.

Relics from my neck of the woods. 

Our last stop was 270 Sherman to see the TH&B collective's latest exhibition. If you haven't seen it before, my family's connection to Hamilton's cotton industry makes 270 Sherman a special visit. Read about it here:

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