Go Go Jason Waterfalls!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Doors Open 9

This past weekend was the 9th annual Doors Open event in Waterloo Region. I had planned out all of the sites Mom and I would visit, but of course we did not get to see them all (the sites are only open from 10am-5pm -not enough time to see everything).

We started off at the AirBoss rubber plant, which is just down the street from us (and looks a lot like Midgar). Our group saw hundreds of skids stacked with sheets of rubber to be sent to various companies. The tour guide showed us one of the mixers and passed around a block of natural rubber. The plant ships worldwide.

We next went to the Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro station (also right near our house). Mom went up 60 ft in the air one of their bucket cranes. The displays inside were fairly boring, such as collection of usage meters (including the smart meters introduced by THE TAX MAN! Dalton McGuinty), different types of cables, and the ever popular diorama of the many ways a person can be electrocuted (with the awful grating buzzers).

The Communitech Hub was a huge letdown. The tour consisted of walking past a bunch of closed doors to offices, a giant role of snow fence in the courtyard being passed-off as "art" (they specifically had some international "artist" fly in to do it), and a lounge full of modern furniture where the hip young minds do whatever it is that they do. The only reason I had wanted to go there was to see the HIVE, a virtual immersion room using funky green glasses. Basically, a holodeck. It was temporarily out of operation.

Next was the Ratz-Bechtel Funeral Home. It was nice to get to see more of the building, and without my dead father or grandfather on display. The staircase up to the tower was beautifully-carved oak. There was a lovely little office in the tower on the second floor. We weren't allowed in the top floor of the tower, which is an attic.

Of all the sites open this year, I most wanted to see the newly-opened Sorbara Law, located in the Seagram (and later Bauer) Estate. I had been wanting to see the inside for years, well before Sorbara bought the abandoned building. I even suggested it be added to the list of future sites on the survey handed out at last year's Doors Open. The new owners did a terrific job on the restoration, keeping nearly all of the wood panelling and fireplaces. Every bench opened up for storage space, including one hidden comnpartment going straight to the basement, where they may have hid alcohol during Prohibition. There were all sorts of wonderful window alcoves, too.

From there, we went to Cambridge for the last few sites on our list.

I wanted to see Grandview Public School, soon to be demolished. The interior was like any other school built in the 1920's, cozy, with nice ironwork on the railings. The exterior had a number of relief panels of grotesques doing learning-related activities. The entrance had a rope motif surrounding the jamb, with the provincial emblem at the roof's peak. All of these decorative features will be saved and incorporated into the new school, thankfully.

We next visited the Col. J.A. McIntosh, DSO, ED Armoury, home of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada. The interior is remarkably well-preserved. There were knives, guns, bayonets, and swords (lots of Scottish broadswords) on display. The reserve members there were quite friendly. There was also an empty vending machine, the sign taped to it saying, "CATCHES ON FIRE WHEN PLUGGED IN".

Our last stop was Central Presbyterian Church. The sanctuary had patterned red carpet and a balcony with golden floral facing. The main reason to go was to see inside the bell tower. There was a little door to the side, from which the cupola could be reached via a narrow plank, only the plaster of the ceiling to either side. We only got to go inside the first floor of the tower. The man overseeing the area had to leave before we had a chance to climb the ladder to actually see the bells.

We stopped in a couple little antiques stores afterwards, and I bought a small (non-antique) dagger from Pakistan. Good for a fantasy costume.

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