Friday, June 22, 2018


Knox Presbyterian Church was first established in 1845 at another location in the city. Its current church location dates to the beginning of the 1930s. The church combines aspects of English Gothic and Norman styles of architecture, and neighbours City Hall on Elgin Street.

During my Doors Open visit, I chatted with one of the congregation members, who oversees the gardens outside around the church and its adjoining hall. This pear tree was gifted by the city last year for the 150th anniversary of the country.

Inside, the sanctuary is unadorned but beautiful, with columns and two sets of stained glass windows at either end, done by the same artist years apart.

Plaques note the service of congregation members in two world wars.

The carvings on this font caught my eye.

As did the pulpit. I will have more from inside the church tomorrow.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Flora Hall

Flora Hall was a newcomer to Doors Open this year, and for good reason, as it only opened last fall. This building started out its life in the 1920s as an electrical appliance repair workshop, this at a time when you sent such items for repairs instead of buying something new. It later became an auto shop, and for years stood empty and unused. A new use for it was found as a group organized to restore it and make use of it as a brew pub. It takes its name from the street it is on- Flora Street in Centretown, just off Bank Street. 

The interior preserves the industrial feel of the building's earlier use but adds in a lot of customized woodwork and other details, transforming it into a welcoming pub.

While I was in, the brewery side of things was filled with visitors. One of the staff members was giving a talk about the operations inside.

The pub is spread out over two floors, with a bar on each. This staircase leads to the upper floor.

I was chatting with one of the staffers about the process of opening this place up- I had seen the project's progress while occasionally passing by. He mentioned the siding on this staircase, commonly referred to as banker's mesh, and noted that every joint you see here is an individual weld. Imagine how long that takes.

Here we have views from above.

This is the upper bar area. Aside from being a craft brewery, Flora Hall also has a menu if you're coming in for a bite to eat.

This view looks down the stairs from above.

And I finish with the other bar on the ground level, a U shape that fits the space well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Toller House

The Embassy of Croatia regularly participates in Doors Open. Set in the Sandy Hill neighbourhood on a quiet street, it occupies Toller House, an 1875 Gothic Revival home that has seen many uses, and is named after one of its earlier owners.

It's working space most of the time for the diplomatic mission, with large photographs of the country on the walls, and a welcoming sensibility to the place. There was a table set out with a multitude of tourism information on the country, and embassy staffers answering questions.

This is a rather unusual humidifier, dating back to the 1880s for the house when it was owned by a judge, Telesphore Fournier. It's still operable, with water starting on the top tray and dripping down to those below.

On one of the walls hangs this set of painted tiles.

One more view of the house, taken upon my departure.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Birkett Castle

The Embassy of Hungary often participates in Doors Open. Set in Centretown on Metcalfe, it occupies a mansion called Birkett Castle, with the ambassador's residence in the older part of the structure, while day to day diplomatic work occupies the newer additions. It dates to 1896, done in a Baronial Gothic style, and is named for its first owner, Thomas Birkett, who was the mayor of the city at the time. Its architectural style certainly evokes the castle theme, and it is quite welcoming inside, with details that include Hungarian items and art, as well as a bust of King Stephen I.

This tulip structure was outside the front door, with insignia on it that noted that it had been painted this year. Hungarian colours and symbols are part of its decorative motif.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Sanctuary

A reminder to members of City Daily Photo: the theme day for the first of July is Spirit.

One of my stops during the Doors Open weekend was First Baptist Church, which stands downtown at Laurier and Elgin, across from the city hall complex to the east, and the Lord Elgin Hotel to the north. The congregation was founded in 1857 as the first Baptist church in the city. The cornerstone of the current building, finished in 1878, was laid by Alexander Mackenzie, our second prime minister. Mackenzie worshiped here while in Ottawa.

The sanctuary is peaceful and quiet, even with two of our busiest streets right outside.

This view from the front of the sanctuary looks back towards the organ loft. The stained glass window up there has an Ottawa Valley theme, with Christ flanked by a lumberman and a riverman at either side. This time I didn't go up for a closer look at the stained glass, but I've seen it from the loft before.

This cornerstone, placed within the sanctuary, comes from the previous location.

After Mackenzie laid the cornerstone of the church, the congregation presented him with a ceremonial silver trowel. Many years later, Mackenzie's grandson gave it back to the church, and it is in a display case in the sanctuary today.

The stained glass along the sides of the sanctuary tends to be simpler than the organ loft windows, but the simplicity has its own appeal

Coming back to the entrance, I paused to photograph this wall hanging above the stairs.

Then I photographed the stained glass over the front doors.