Saturday, June 14, 2014

Doors Open

I'm starting up Doors Open posts today. Over two days, nearly 130 buildings in and around the city were open to the public, buildings of heritage and historical value. I'll give you the link for Doors Open events across the province this year. For those of you who are in the province, that's a handy guide for finding events later in the year. For those not here, bring that link to the attention of officials in your home town as an idea if you don't already have something like this going on.

My first stop on Saturday for Doors Open was Southminster United Church. It's an impressive old stone church with an excellent location overlooking the Rideau Canal. It dates back to 1931, and is a result of the union of two congregations during the era that started up the United Church. The church is built in the Gothic Revival style.

The sanctuary lets in a good deal of light.

And the organ is an impressive one, a Casavant.

There are plaques in the church for the First World War, covering the two congregations that amalgamated into this church. This one commemorates those members who perished in the Second World War, after the church was united as one.

Near the church was another location, but it was open for Doors Open just on Sunday, so this was my first stop that day. The Mayfair Theatre dates back to 1932, and is still independent, showing a mix of recent films, art house cinema, classics, and really obscure stuff (plus some real dreck like regular showings of The Room and Rocky Horror Picture Show). 

The Mayfair is a lovely place inside, with the interior still preserved from the era, including false balconies and Spanish Revival details. It's even occasionally used as a wedding venue.

One of the balconies had a full sized Alien standing in it.

And at the back of the theatre is mounted Han Solo in carbonite. Full sized, just like in The Empire Strikes Back. Apparently Boba Fett stopped by to see Midnight Run on his way to collect his reward.


  1. It's fun to see inside such special places. I especially like the old theater.

  2. Beautiful Church you took me to, a great set of Organ pipes would would lovely at a service.

  3. Alien and Han Solo are a very nice addition to this beautiful theater...

  4. I always love those open doors days, you can visit buildings you otherwise never see from the inside.

  5. Looks like the church gave up a disproportionate share of its young men.

  6. This brings back memories. My sister was married in that beautiful church and I have seen many concerts and movies at The Mayfair.

  7. Petrea: that theatre has such character.

    Glennis: they certainly would!

    VP: I think it reflects the sense of humour of the current owners.

    Bieb: if only gthere was more time to do so!

    Revrunner: yes they did.

    Deb: it is a small world!

  8. Thanks for the link, William. I have often wanted to attend some Doors Open events but seem to always be doing something else. Maybe THIS year I'll actually make it to a few!

  9. The Open Doors program is quite wonderful! Love that stone church, inside and out and the theater is magnificent. We've got an old theater in downtown Ocala that is still open but struggling.

  10. Love your darkened theater images. Haunted?

  11. This is an amazing series, William! Wow!

  12. what a neat way to show off the older buildings!

  13. Our nearest Doors Open is in September..our first year ,thanks to you mentioning the website.
    Jane x

  14. The Church is beautiful inside and out. And i love the interior of the theatre---Not at all like the inside of theaters today.
    This series will be exciting. MB

  15. A lot of interesting characters reside in that theater.

  16. That's a great event. Here we have the 'museum weekend' when most museums have free entry.

  17. @EG: there's still quite a lot of them left in the season.

    @Lowell: they may need a rethink to keep the place open.

    @Birdman: not as far as I know!

    @Linda: thank you.

    @Tex: It's a wonderful concept.

    @Jane and Chris: you're most welcome.

    @MB: it has such character inside.

    @Sharon: most definitely! Including the staff!

    @Marleen: this does involve some museums, but it's a step further in that it gives you a behind the scenes look.

  18. These doors open things are good - we get them in the UK, though I've not yet taken advantage. I like the alien - looks like a refugee from the House of Commons. Curiously enough, I met someone not long ago who bore a remarkable resemblance to Jabba the Hutt.

  19. Great idea, your Doors Open events! Gorgeous buildings and mighty fine organ, too!

  20. We have this kind of day in September when I'm... not in France... :-)

    You are right, there is a lot of light in the church. I like that. And the theatre is absolutely wonderful! I wish we still had one like it!

  21. The Doors Open events are a great idea!

  22. Life got in my way for Doors Open this year but I did hit a few places. It's nice to be able to get into places and poke about.

  23. Love Doors Open! Thank you for taking us along.

  24. I like that old Mayfair Theatre. Must be a wonderful place with a lot of cultural history.

  25. @Mike: you should definitely partake of these kind of activities over there.

    @Luis: it really opens up the city.

    @Cheryl: it's been going on successfully for years now.

    @Ciel: alas!

    @Karl: they are.

    @RedPat: it makes us urban explorers.

    @Jackie: you're quite welcome!

    @Jan: there's a great sense of community to that theatre that you don't get in a multiplex.

  26. I can't believe there was no one else in that church when you took those pictures of the sanctuary!
    And I love that movie theater. The old-timey ones are nicer - more character!

  27. The interior of both structures were wonderfully crafted. Now things are so cold and sterile even an alien would avoid being caught in the building.

  28. That organ is spectacular!
    It looks like you were the only one opening the doors when you were in these buildings. I'm guessing it's more popular than it seems.

  29. Both, especially the church, are beautiful!

  30. I love the idea of a "doors open" event. I'm naturally nosy so I would go to as many places as possible.

  31. i love the church. enjoy all those pipes. would love to hear someone play away. happy weekend. ( :

  32. 130 buildings? That's what I shoot. It will be something to watch. I'm waiting ...

    This series is very interesting.
    Where these soldiers fought in the First World War?

  33. I love stone and wood, so I find the church handsome!

    That theater, though—old world grandeur and sci-fi geekiness. I love it!

  34. I miss the classic movie theatres. The organ above is amazing!

  35. Wow. Very cool stuff. You find the most interesting things.

  36. @Halcyon: well, there were a number of them, but I try not to capture people in my shots when possible.

    @Mari: there's much to be said for older buildings.

    @Kay: it is. It's just a matter of choosing when to take the pics.

    @Norma: I thought so.

    @Linda: I got into a lot of them this year.

    @Beth: some of the churches this year did have their organs playing.

    @Mariusz: I have to look in my files. I think I captured the plaque for the First World War as well from this church.

    @Hilda: it's a theatre with great character.

    @Jose: there's far too few of such theatres.

    @Whisk: thank you!