Adventure awaits.

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One Axe Pursuits, located in Elora, Ontario, is an organization providing adventurous experiences and training in recreational activities such as ziplining and rock climbing.

It operates out of the former Chalmers Presbyterian Church, housed here from 1877-1917. After a number of other community uses over the years, this limestone structure fell into disrepair until it was beautifully restored by the current owners in 2013.

For photos of more interesting doors from around the world, visit Norm 2.0 on Thursdays for his weekly feature, the aptly-named Thursday Doors.

Going to court.

Last week, for my contribution to Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors weekly feature, I shared a rather petite door from the city of Stratford. This week, I’ll stay in town, but instead focus on a somewhat more stately building.

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The Perth County Court House opened in 1887, designed by architect George F. Durand. It’s situated on high ground at the end of the main road entering town from the east, and bordered on one side by the charming Shakespearean Gardens. Durand was originally trained in art – sculpture – and this is evident by the artistic elements of the design, including several themed terra cotta panels and sculptures adorning the facade.

Durand, I learned, died at the age of only thirty-nine, though his work endures in several buildings throughout the region.

It was after-hours when I visited, so I didn’t venture inside. Let’s hope that if I enter this particular structure one day, it’s for tourism purposes and not because I’ve been summoned 🙂

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.



Standing tall.

All that remains of the Dufton Woollen Mill (destroyed by fire in 1922) is this brick smokestack, now incorporated into the beautiful Shakespearean Gardens in Stratford, Ontario.

Can one have both an aversion and an attraction to miniature smokestack doors? I suspect I’d be hit with an attack of claustrophobia if I had reason to pass through, but I’d love to peek at the space inside. The photos don’t provide a true sense of scale, so you’ll have to take my word for it: This door is so petite, I’d barely be able to squeeze in sideways.

It’s Thursday, so I’m happy to add this tiny door to Norm’s weekly Thursday Doors entryway collection.

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Practical beauty.

What, Thursday again?

That means doors are congregating over at Norm 2.0 for his weekly feature, aptly titled, Thursday Doors. This week, I’ll add to the collection, once again, from our Doors Open Hamilton excursion a few weeks back.

The Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology is housed in the old Hamilton Waterworks, a National Historic Site (lucky for me, I keep running into those).

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Truth be told, we came here not to visit the museum but for the tour of the current water filtration building, which is on the same site.

The weather had been miserable that day. While we waited for the tour, the Mr. and I wandered round the exterior of the buildings for a minute or two, and I made a few photos.

I was struck by the attractive design and stonework of the oldest structures. Isn’t it a shame that fancy industrial buildings seem to have gone completely out of style?

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Later, once we’d returned home, Google told me that the many of the Victorian buildings were built in the 1850s and that the museum itself is well worth a visit due to a unique interior and engaging programming. Maybe another visit later this summer is called for, with kids in tow.

For now, I’ll just give you a couple more doors.

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My stock of doors from Doors Open Hamilton has dwindled. Watch out, various local communities, I plan to haunt another Doors Open event one of these upcoming weekends.

As always, I thank you for visiting 🙂

Look on the bright side.

The other day, I went out of town to shop for shoes.

The bad news is that my retail outing was a fail. This isn’t really surprising, since I avoid shopping unless I need to (The Mr. is, surely, relieved about this). When I enter a store that carries a wide selection of my intended purchase, I get excited at first…but the excitement inevitably dwindles as I start to struggle with making a choice. After agonizing for an absurd amount of time – enough that the salespeople begin to eye me suspiciously – I’m nearly paralyzed with indecision, so I just give up and leave empty-handed. That’s why I only shop alone, in order to spare my friends the frustration. Trust me, you don’t want to be there when I have to choose a paint chip from the hardware store.

But never mind. The good news is that, instead, I brought home some photos to add to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors weekly feature.

The Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant is located on sixteen acres of landscaped grounds near the Grand River in Brantford, Ontario. I stopped by on my way back from my unsuccessful shoe-shopping excursion. I’d spent so much time in the shoe store that by the time I got to the gardens, the sun was nearly straight overhead and the light was pretty harsh. Alas, such is the cost of my poor decision-making skills.

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Okay, so in these photos the door looks a bit prison-like, but I promise – in real life it’s actually quite appealing.

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The property was purchased in 1914 by Edmund Cockshutt, of a prominent local industrial family, who bequeathed his home and gardens to the City of Brantford in 1956 with the intention that they be utilized as spaces for artistic and cultural activities.

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Mr. Cockshutt had taken great personal interest in horticulture and landscaping, and this was reflected in the gardens around his home. He shared his love of the space by making the grounds accessible to the public so everyone could enjoy them.

The main house is now an art gallery, hosting a variety of exhibitions, workshops and events.

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The door below leads to The Golden Teapot, a fancy tearoom within the main house.

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I also made some shots of the grounds, which are home to a few lovely art installations, but I’ll save those for another post. Or perhaps I’ll return to Glenhyrst for more photos on another morning, once the annuals have filled in, the light is just a little bit softer, and I’ve gathered up the courage to tackle the shoe store again.

I thank you for looking. 🙂

(Historic) home away from home.

If you find yourself in Hamilton, Ontario, with nothing but a backpack and a few bucks, consider an overnight visit to the Hamilton Guest House, a historic residence now functioning as a hostel.

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We visited the building while on our Doors Open Hamilton excursion. If you’ve been following along, this was the fateful event during which I fell in love with The Cotton Factory.

Any place we visited after that had a lot to live up to.

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The owners of HGH greeted us warmly and gave us a little history of the building, which you can read more about here and here.

The home was built in 1855 for the Pring family. William Pring was a customs surveyor who moved to Port Colborne only a few years later. The building changed hands and purposes several times in the years since, which meant it didn’t always receive the care it deserved. In 2006, a new owner made strides to repair and rejuvenate the building. The current owners bought the house in 2012 and have operated the hostel there since.

It’s charming but not overly fancy. Some paint is peeling and the common rooms we visited were cluttered, but everything has a comfortable, relaxed feel. It looks clean but lived-in, rather than stuffy and pretentious. There are some unique features, such as a narrow, spiral staircase, and a set of curved doors that reminded me, for some reason, of something out of Alice in Wonderland.

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We didn’t visit the guestrooms, but there were interesting nooks and crannies scattered through the common areas. I’m a fan of any room with a camouflaged door.

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And since there are others who like doors just as much as I do, I’ll link up this post to Norm Frampton’s weekly feature, Thursday Doors.

While The Cotton Factory still holds my heart, the HGH provided another small, satisfying glimpse into the city’s architectural past.

Many thanks, as always, for stopping by 😊