Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Converted Space

A reminder to members of City Daily Photo that the theme day for July 1st is Motion.

I am starting my Doors Open series today. The event took place on the first weekend of this month, and featured more than 160 sites, spread across the city and through rural areas, as part of the annual Doors Open Ontario series of events. This is a chance to get into places you might not otherwise usually get into, such as churches, embassies, infrastructure, or places of historical and heritage significance. The series isn't in chronological order, but in what seems right to me.

I am starting today with the second stop I made that weekend, a place called Wallis House, which began its life as what you see in this first photo from the past, on display as part of a series of period and contemporary photos in the entry lobby. First built in 1873 as the County Of Carleton Protestant General Hospital, with a second wing added in 1898, the building later became a seminary, then offices for the military. By the 1990s there was much debate as to whether or not to tear the building down. A developer made an offer to buy it and convert the whole thing into 47 lofts. One of the residents gave us a tour of the premises; he said the developer never made any money on the deal himself, given the expense of overhauling the building and customizing of each loft.

There was one loft with the front door open for the occasion, though I didn't take a shot of it. Instead the residents had put together a series of photos of their own for the lobby displays to show what their lofts look like.

Our resident guide took us up onto the roof of the five story building, which has views out to Vanier to the east and northeast- the Rideau River flows diagonally through that gap between buildings- and across to the Sandy Hill area, which starts on the south side of Rideau Street, as well as west into the downtown core. While there were deck chairs out here, he did say it's breezy enough up here that the residents do tend to refrain from carrying anything too light up here. It was breezy that day.

A historical plaque was placed out front at the entrance. Wallis House turned out to be quite a surprise to visit, and a welcome addition to Doors Open.


  1. Very nice, William! I love the exposed brick in your 3rd photo!

  2. What a nice place for Doors Open! How nice that the building was saved for yet another use.

  3. Hello, the Doors Open is interesting. Nice tour! Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  4. I like the look from the outside, a lovely style.

  5. I always love to have a peek inside buildings that are otherwise closed for public.

  6. ...a great place to call home.

  7. i enjoy the staircase shot ... and the balcony view. nice!! ( ;

  8. @Linda: so did I.

    @Kay: this is a rare case of a developer doing the right thing.

    @Eileen: thank you!

    @Marleen: it looks distinctive.

    @Marianne: me too.

    @Tom: it is!

    @Beth: indeed!

  9. I like! And I'll bet it's a fun place to live, being historical and all.

  10. Wallis House has quite a history William, I'm very happy it wasn't knocked down the apartments look really nice.

  11. This make over was very tastefully done. It is a debate whether to take the old buildings down or leave them.

  12. Looks like a great place to live!

  13. As much as I like modern buildings, I do still also enjoy seeing old buildings put to new uses.

  14. What a great place to take a tour. I sure wish we had an "open doors" event here.

  15. A wonderful looking place. Nice photos and thanks for taking us on the tour.

  16. @Lowell: the place really appealed to me.

    @Grace: it was well worth doing.

    @Red: it was good to save this one.

    @Cloudia: thank you!

    @RedPat: I think so.

    @Revrunner: this was a good conversion.

    @Sharon: it's a wonderful concept. Much more to come.

    @Bill: you're welcome!

  17. So much inspiration with this event. Such compassion.


  18. Great place! Remodeling something that old always costs a huge amount.

  19. Neat. There should be an Open Doors Society with a different building open every weekend.

  20. Thank you for the reminder, William. I like how you captured stairs and red brick walls. This is my favourite picture.

  21. Doors Open Ontario looks a very good idea to me.
    I enjoyed your photographs.

    All the best Jan

  22. @Norma: thank you!

    @Janis: indeed!

    @Mari: but it was worth it.

    @Linda: I think Doors Open is a wonderful concept, and it comes across quite well through Ontario. More places should have it.

    @Klara: thank you!

    @Jan: thanks!