Friday, April 30, 2010

Things To Do In Hamilton For 10$ Or Under Vol. 1.1

Doors Open Hamilton is this weekend.

Uhhh what is Doors Open Hamilton? (from their website):
"The Doors Open program seeks to celebrate, educate and inform citizens and visitors of the importance of the architectural, cultural and historical sites in Hamilton by allowing visitors free access to properties that are either not usually open to the public, or would normally charge an entrance fee. Many locations organize guided tours, displays and activities to enrich the visitor experience."

Uhhh when exactly is this thing?
Saturday May 1 and Sunday May 2 (you have to read about individual sites to see exact hours - but an average is 11-4)

Where can I go, I'm too lazy busy to go to the website and read everything.
Here are a few featured sites to entice you:
  • Griffin House
    733 Mineral Springs Road, Ancaster
    In 1834 this simple clapboard house on a hilltop just west of the Hermitage ruins became the homestead of Enerals Griffin believed to have entered Canada through the Underground Railway.
  •  Carnegie Gallery
    10 King Street West, Dundas
    The Carnegie Library building was built in the Classic Revival style in c1910, on land donated by Dundas business man Col. Grafton. In 1980, The Dundas Art and Craft Association opened the gallery and shop, showcasing artists and craftsmen of the local region. Now owned by the association, it continues to be a cultural hub for the city of Hamilton. 
  • The e-House
    1820 Valens Road, Puslinch
    This e-house (ecological, economic, efficient), completed in 2007, may be the most energy-efficient house in Canada. Designed by its owner, it combines advanced energy-efficient design and construction techniques with affordability, and generates its own electricity. It is often referred to as the “no furnace, off-the-grid house.” 
  • School Sisters of Notre Dame
    1921 Snake Road, Waterdown
    Located on the Niagara Escarpment, the School Sisters of Notre Dame open the doors to their magnificent chapel with jewel-like stained glass windows by Yvonne Williams and sculptures by Dora de Pedery-Hunt. A rare opportunity to enjoy the quiet beauty and gracious hospitality of the Motherhouse. 
  • Art Gallery of Hamilton
    123 King Street West, Hamilton (at Summers Lane between Bay and MacNab Streets)
    Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is Ontario's third largest public art gallery and owns one of the finest collections in Canada. In 2010, the AGH is celebrating Vital Africa, a year-long celebration of African arts and culture and its influence on the world. 
  • Lincoln Alexander Centre (former Odeon Theatre)
    150 King Street East, Hamilton (at Catharine Street)
    Thirty years ago the Odeon I and II cinemas on this site closed down, victims of the shift of business and entertainment from the core of the city. This year it reopened as Hamilton's finest upscale entertainment hall. Life has come full circle for the downtown block.
  • Ormond Green
    56 Ferrie Street West, Hamilton East of Bay Street
    This humble semi-detached worker's cottage has been transformed from a crowded layout of tiny rooms into an open concept living space. Original structural boards and scavenged wood have been re-worked into trim and wainscot. House exemplifies green design. External insulation allows for exposed brick 
  • St. Mary's Pro Cathedral
    146 Park Street North, Hamilton (1 block west of James N. at Sheaffe St.)
    Built in 1859-60, St. Mary's retains its original pre-Confederation Gothic Revival character.  The magnificent interior features an elaborately carved high altar, Bavarian stained glass and memorials to Hamilton's first bishops. The imposing red brick exterior is distinguished by a massive bell tower and stone trim. St. Mary's is Hamilton's original Roman Catholic cathedral, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2010. 
  • The Studios at Hotel Hamilton
    195 James Street North, Hamilton (at Mulberry Street)
    Originally built in 1887 as a commercial building and expanded in 1905 to a hotel for soldiers. The building has been revitalized to include 19 studios, a ground floor café, gallery and more. Historical elements that still remain from its colourful past include the hand-laid terrazzo floor and custom plaster ceiling in the ground floor café, exposed brick walls, original fire doors, and high ceilings. 
  • Stinson School Lofts
    200 Stinson Street, Hamilton
    Once upon a time schools were important-looking buildings, with baronial architecture, imposing stone walls, arched entrances and grand wooden interiors. Constructed in 1894, Hamilton's Stinson School is amongst the last of its kind. By good fortune the building has been designated historic and is now in the process of conversion into unique residential apartments.
  • Whitehern Historic House & Garden
    41 Jackson Street, Hamilton (at MacNab Street South)
    Prominently situated in a walled terraced garden, Whitehern is an outstanding example of a mid-19th century urban estate. The house has a multi-layered character that reflects the alterations made by three generations of the McQuesten family.  Today Whitehern represents the year 1939. View the recently renovated 1850's stable. 
  • Workers Arts and Heritage Centre
    51 Stuart Street, Hamilton (near Bay and Barton)
    Workers Arts and Heritage Centre is Canada's only national labour history museum and art gallery.  Housed in Hamilton's Customs House, a national heritage building (1860), WAHC offers an entertaining and educational experience. Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the building and 15th anniversary of the centre with new special guided tours. 
  • Gage Park & Tropical House
    Gage Park, Lawrence Road, East of Gage Avenue
    Gage Park is a 30ha park serving the downtown community and hosting city wide special events. Originally designed by H.B. Dunnington-Grubb Landscape Architects in the 1920s, the park contains perennial and rose gardens, tropical and production greenhouses, fountain, band shell, lawn bowling and tennis clubs, baseball fields, children's playground and the Hamilton Children's Museum. 
  • St. Nicholas' Serbian Orthodox Church
    1415 Barton Street East, Hamilton (at Division Street)
    In the shadow of factories, amid the bustle of traffic, there is a place steeped in history, spirituality and beauty.  Home of eastern Canada's oldest Serbian Orthodox Parish, the church's architecture celebrates the Serbo-Byzantine style. The interior features masterpieces of fresco iconography and traditional woodcarving in the Orthodox tradition. 
  • Dundurn National Historic Site
    610 York Boulevard, Hamilton (at Dundurn Street)
    The former home of Sir Allan MacNab, lawyer, soldier, businessman and politician embodies the picturesque movement in Canada. Visit the re-created mid-Victorian kitchen garden and landscape. Tour the newly restored Dining Room with 1830's paint scheme. Also on site the 1835 Cockpit, the only known North American structure of this type. 
  • McMaster Museum of Art
    1280 Main Street West, Hamilton (at Sterling & Forsyth)
    Opened in 1950, the Museum of Art is a hidden gem among Canadian galleries. A bequest in 1990 by Herman Levy added many key pieces to the collection, including Monet's Waterloo Bridge and Van Gogh's Still Life with Ginger Jar and Onions. It also boasts the world's largest collection of German Expressionist Art. 
  • McMaster Nuclear Reactor
    1280 Main Street West, Hamilton (at Sterling & Forsyth)
    The McMaster Nuclear Reactor (MNR) opened in 1959 as the first university-based research reactor in the British Commonwealth. Today, it is used for research by students, academics, small and international businesses, and in the production of medical isotopes used to treat prostate cancer. 
So, go to and read more details.  Figure out what you want to see, when those things are open and plan your routes.  Many of these places charge admission during the rest of the year, or are simply not open to the public.  Go see a fresco, go get a tour that gives you a rich history lesson and insite into the city you live in, go be inspired by a green/eco house, go see a Van Gogh, go see how life is being breathed back into Hamilton through the reinvention of historic buildings.  Frescos, Van Gogh and the possibility of refreshments - all for a zero dollar admission price.  You can't really go wrong here.

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