Doors Open Toronto, the highly anticipated yearly urban-explorathon, is happening this Saturday and Sunday. For thirteen years Doors Open has offered you and me an oppurtunity to peak behind the walls of over 150 architecturally, historically, culturally, and socially significant buildings in Toronto. As the city-wide event is heading into its fourteenth year, Doors Open is offering brand new experiences into significant buildings, while keeping around fan favourites from previous years. We've already highlighted new walks and talks, and looked at the architectural offices that will be expecting you to visit, but there's so much more to see than just those things. Below we have a short list of selected new and rarely open sites to tempt you this weekend.
TTC Bay Lower Subway Station
Bay Lower is commonly known to Toronto residents as the 'abandoned subway station' but has certainly seen a few pedestrians walk through the station over the years. The Bay Lower station tour is back after the success of the 2007, 2009, and 2010 Doors Open events, where patrons got to tour the out-of-service station and its platforms. Bay's lower platform was only in service for six months after the station was built. Passengers could ride the Bloor-Danforth subway line at the time from east or west without having to switch trains to ride downtown. The TTC decided that the interlining was too problematic though, and that operating two distinct lines worked best. Since 1966 the lower platform has been closed other than when it has been used as the set for conutless commercials and movies such as Don't Say A Word, Max Payne, and New York Minute. Bay Lower is also used as a training facility for TTC staff and Toronto police. TTC Bay Lower Subway Station will be open for public tours on Saturday only from 11am to 5pm, with the last tour starting at 4:45pm.
Bridgepoint Hospital and Administration Building
New this year, the Bridgepoint Hospital and Administration Building is open to the public. After four years of construction, Bridgepoint is ready to show off the new 10-storey building, which is filled with state-of-the-art technologies for patient care. The building also repurposes the Old Don Jail which now houses the administrative offices for the complex. The jail closed in 1977 and remained untouched until the recent renovation and restoration. During the tour, visitors will walk through the hospital's main floor, take a bridge across to the new Administration Building, and view the preserved cells and gallows. The Bridgepoint Hospital and Administration Building will be open for public tours on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4:30pm. We'll have a sneak preview tomorrow of this standout complex.
Mattamy Athletic Centre
Another famous recently restored and repurposed building in this city is Maple Leaf Gardens. It now houses a flagship Loblaws grocery store of course, but hockey did not entirely disappear from within the walls of the building: Ryerson University's brand new Mattamy Athletic Centre sits on the upper floors of the structure. The facility includes a fitness centre, full-size basketball court, fourth-floor lounge, and a NHL-sized hockey rink beneath the iconic dome-shaped roof. You can tour of the extensive facility plus enjoy a viewing of the 1931 time capsule contents, discovered during construction! The Mattamy Athletic Centre is located at Church and Carlton, and will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday at 10am to 5pm.
Regent Park Aquatic Centre
Another new tour this year is the Regent Park Aquatic Centre on Dundas Street East. Designed by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, this centre is the newest development in the Regent Park community. Visitors will be guided on a tour of the aquatic facilities, and are welcome to bring their bathing suits to partake in Leisure Swim from 1:30pm to 5pm. Tours of the Regent Park Aquatic Centre will be given on both Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm.
Queens Quay Revitalization: Behind the Constuction Fence Walking Tour
As mentioned in our earlier Walking Tour article, Queens Quay will be one of the several new walking tours during Doors Open 2013. Live the hard-hat high-life like an UrbanToronto photographer by going behind the fence for a view of the construction, now well underway. The $110 million revitalization project to transform Queens Quay is coming along, and Waterfront Toronto is eager to showcase what changes will be taking place in the next few years. Pina Mallozzi, Planning and Design Manager at Waterfront Toronto will be guiding the walking tour that will start at Lower Simcoe Street and Lake Shore Boulevard. From huge sanitary sewer pipes to new tree planting techniques, participants will be able to see, tour, and learn about the rebuilding of Queens Quay. Massive construction renderings will also be featured along the walking tour. The two walking tours will take place on Saturday at 11am and 2pm at the Queens Quay Construction Site (south side of Queens Quay at Lower Simcoe Avenue).
Click here to see all of the new sites open for Doors Open 2013.
Which tours and sites will you be attending? Comment below!