I had a great time checking out Doors Open for the first time last year and was glad I had the opportunity to get out again. I managed to double the amount of spots I visited and hit four places this year – 270 Sherman, Hamilton’s Green Cottage, The John Weir Foote VC Armoury, and TCA Architects Inc.
After a delicious waffle brunch at Cannon Coffee, it was off to explore! This was one of my most difficult posts when it came to narrowing down photos – there are so many to share! Here are some highlights from the day.
270 Sherman was one of my stops last year but it’s such an impressive space that it deserves multiple visits. It’s located at, well, 270 Sherman Avenue North, hence the name. The space is the city’s largest creative arts facility, and the building was formerly The Imperial Cotton Company, circa 1900. The architecture is so stunning that I had fun walking around outside the perimeter and taking it in before venturing inside.
There was art exhibition on the third floor called “PLACE and SPACE” by Hamilton-based artist C. Wells, one of many artists who works out of 270 Sherman. Chatting with the artist, himself, I learned about how the installation came to be. Wells became interested in line marking – the divisions made on roads and highways. Researching further, Wells traced the history of line marking back to 1911 in Michigan.
I just loved how the premise of Wells’ art complimented my traveller and tourist approach to the blog. I didn’t hesitate to take a couple snapshots posing with his paintings of roads. One shot I took on Instagram made me look like I was part of the painting! While speaking to me about the paintings, Wells noted that our imagined spaces are more perfect than reality, or so we often think. I thought this was an interesting idea to think about.
The exhibit includes painting, video, sculpture, and more. You can still explore the show – it runs through to June 23rd.
From there, I ventured downtown to a spot I had been wanting to see – Hamilton’s Green Cottage at 56 Ferrie Street West. An interesting tidbit I learned – the street is named after Colin Campbell Ferrie, born in Scotland, who became Hamilton’s first mayor in 1847. The neighbourhood is so cute and picturesque.
The cottage, owned by Peter Ormond, once housed Hamilton shipbuilders in 1885. The site is now an example of environmental and sustainable initiatives, with its garden and outer insulation, among other things.
Inside, I couldn’t get over all of the little details and marveled over everything, like the typewriter, bookshelves, stained glass, mirrors, and knick-knacks everywhere, even little vintage arrows. There was a wooden chest with a sign that read, “Do not look in the box on the table” and when I inevitably did, another note read, “A gift for you to carry… please take one.” Picking up a piece of paper at random, I unfolded it to find the message “Believe.” I’ve still got it, pinned up on my board with all my I Heart Hamilton ideas.
There was a white door that you were invited to leave your mark on, so I of course had to leave my Hamilton love. Many of the sites during Doors Open had guestbooks to sign, which was a nice touch.
Then it was over to James North to visit the John Weir Foote VC Armoury, a site I have passed by countless times and noted the impressive exterior, but had never been inside. It reminded me of last Supercrawl, when I saw Prince Edward walk into the building!
We were able to tour the museum downstairs and another exhibit upstairs. There was so much to see – medals, artillery, clothing, historical documents, and all kinds of various artifacts. I really felt the weight and significance of being in the presence of all the items. They say the Armoury is also home to a quite a few ghosts, so maybe there were other forces at play.
I also got to peek at the space used for military training, which looked like a big arena. This is another perfect example of something right in my own city that I had never experienced before. Thanks to Doors Open, I got to check it off the list!
My last stop was a new location added to this year’s Doors Open, TCA Architects Inc., located at 118 James North. Their loft space is above CBC Hamilton and the AGH Design Annex. Since those two moved into the space below, almost exactly a year ago, I’ve thought that it would make a great space for someone upstairs, too.
TCA Architects are the right people to take on the space that was formerly the Dominion Furniture store. I remember reading about their offices a while back when The Spectator’s Business magazine did a piece on creative and fun work spaces. Seeing their space, I fancied myself a career change!
It’s industrial-looking, with the open ceilings and brick walls, but also sleek and modern, with pops of colour. There is an inviting living room area with a fireplace and big windows overlooking a great view of the street.
In one room which looked like their conference room, various blueprints and sketches of their upcoming projects were pinned up on boards to look at. One feature I liked in that room was the unique chandelier made from tall, colourful glasses.
I ended the day with an iced coffee from Mulberry and a stroll around the Waterfront. A successful Doors Open, I must say, and I look forward to this event next year.