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).

June 8 (7 of 8)

June 8 (6 of 8)

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?

June 8 (2 of 8)June 8 (1 of 8)

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.

June 8 (5 of 8)June 8 (3 of 8)June 8 (8 of 8)

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.

June 1 (4 of 7)

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

June 1 (1 of 7)

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.

June 1 (7 of 7)June 1 (2 of 7)

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.

June 1 (6 of 7)

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

June 1 (3 of 7)June 1 (5 of 7)

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.

May 25 (5 of 6)

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.

May 25 (1 of 6)

May 25 (6 of 6)

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.

May 25 (3 of 6)

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.

May 25 (4 of 6)

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 😊

 

School’s in.

This week, we’ll peek at the made-over version of a grand old beauty for Norm’s Thursday Doors.

This 3-storey cut-stone building held memories for many folks in the small town of Fergus, Ontario.

May 18 (4 of 4)

 

In 1927, Fergus High School was built on a hill overlooking a provincial highway. It served the small town and surrounding community for nearly 80 years. The stately design and quality craftsmanship is indicative of the value placed on education by the community at the time.

Fergus High School Circa 1930

Fergus High School, ca. 1930. Photo courtesy Wellington County Museum and Archives. 

 

In the years since the school closed in 2004, ivy spread unchecked, its spidery tendrils enveloping the front doors. You get the idea from the photo below, found on the township’s website, but I couldn’t find one that captured the building’s pre-restoration vibe of abandonment. I didn’t pass through Fergus often, but when I did, I was always both enamored and unsettled by the imposing facade.

Fergus High School Ivy

Photo courtesy www.centrewellington.ca. Date unknown.

 

Fortunately, the former school was protected by a heritage designation in 2006. The site was purchased by Reid’s Heritage Homes, a residential builder. Two condominiums were built behind the school, but Reid’s made the decision to sever the property and put the building up for sale in 2012, with an asking price of nearly $1 million.

The structure was purchased in 2014, and after the necessary renovations and rejuvenation, it became home to Emmanuel Christian High School.

Below are some shots I made of the school as it stands today. As you can see, it’s had a significant ‘haircut.’ Now, we can see its beautiful face. 🙂

May 18 (1 of 4)May 18 (2 of 4)May 18 (3 of 4)

Thanks, as always, for visiting.

P.S.
I learned about this building herehere, and here.

Oldies but goodies.

I fell in love last weekend.

Lucky for me, I had two objects of affection. The first was the Mr., who was by my side as we wandered through some of the Doors Open Hamilton sites (Doors Open is a program during which one can enjoy free access to cultural and historic places in communities around the province). I’d already fallen in love with him, and that happened nearly two decades ago, so that’s old (but still good) news.

The new news is that I also fell in love with a building, and everything in it.

One of the stops on our Doors Open route was The Cotton Factory, a sprawling industrial complex built in 1900. Admittedly, it’s not in the poshest area of town. And things look a bit sketchy from the outside. But this entire historic textile mill has been transformed into a hub of talent, occupied by over 60 tenants including artists, designers, and creative professionals of all kinds. Events like weddings, fairs and film shoots take place here regularly. The buildings have been restored and re-purposed with great respect for the integrity of the original structures. Maybe the factory wasn’t considered beautiful at the turn of the 20th century, but it is now, in its own rustic way. And with a new life as a creative community space, there’s no denying the vibrant energy within.

I thought it timely – it is Thursday, after all, so a contribution to Norm’s weekly Thursday Doors feature is appropriate – to share with you only a few of the fine doors I encountered at this place. The shots are kind of dingy and don’t capture the real charm of the place, but I suppose that’s a good reason to return some day, with more time and better technique.

May 11 (1 of 10)

May 11 (2 of 10)

Welcome.

 

May 11 (3 of 10)

The red door is an elevator. FYI: the other one is a fire escape.

 

May 11 (4 of 10)

Sit and stay awhile.

 

May 11 (5 of 10)

One of these people does not have realistic body proportions.

 

May 11 (6 of 10)

Lest we forget.

 

May 11 (7 of 10)

Diverse types of studios, workshops, galleries and offices occupy the space.

 

May 11 (8 of 10)

Sliding doors.

 

May 11 (9 of 10)

A reminder to be gentle.

 

May 11 (10 of 10)

There’s cool stuff outdoors, too.

I had earlier stated that the Mr. was by my side during our visit, but technically he spent most of his time a few steps ahead of me because I was gawking at everything, resulting in a pace only slightly faster than a snail. (Poor guy. He’s a good sport. In fact, it was his idea to come here. And though The Cotton Factory is probably indifferent to my affections, at least the Mr. loves me back.)

I’ll save a few other interior photos for another post. Share the love, I say.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.