Residents and visitors get the opportunity to discover first-hand Ontario’s hidden heritage treasures, some of which have never been open to the public, during the many Doors Open Ontario events that take place in various communities from April to October.
Doors Open Markham provides a selection of historical and contemporary sites to visit, which showcases Markham’s vibrant cultural mosaic. This year’s event highlights 20 Markham sites on September 7th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Here are some of this year’s sites:
Markham’s newest community centre is a stunning example of contemporary architectural design. “Aaniin” is the Ojibwe word for “welcome.” The building – designed by Perkins+Will – features a library, climbing wall, aquatic centre, gym, teaching kitchen and more. The design is intended to reflect an urban idea of space that is suited to hosting a variety of community events.
Heintzman House is one of the oldest buildings in Markham. Originally built as an adobe brick cottage dating from the early 19th century.
The buildings in this heritage subdivision – each one rescued from potential demolition – date from 1825 to 1916.
It was originally the home of Salem Eckardt, a local auctioneer. Group of Seven artist Frederick Varley lived here in his later years; he had a studio in the basement.
Visitors can enjoy free carousel rides on 44 whimsical characters – including a mermaid, a telephone, the Bluenose, a crescent moon, a lobster and a mountie. This one-of-kind solar-powered carousel was created by artist Patrick Amoit from recycled and repurposed materials.
Take a self-guided tour, which features a curated collection of indoor and outdoor public artworks comprising freestanding sculptures and street art located throughout downtown Markham.
Originally built as a grain elevator, the western portion of the structure is one of the last of its kind in the region. A feed mill was added to the east end in the 1930s.
This house, which was converted into a public library in the 1970s under the direction of restoration architect Napier Simpson Jr., fits comfortably into Colborne Street’s historical streetscape. The library was featured in Deborah Kerbel’s 2010 ghost story, Lure. The ghost of Ellen Ramsden, the building’s original owner, is said to make an appearance from time to time.
The gallery – named after Group of Seven artist Fred Varley, who lived in Unionville in his later years – is home to a fine collection of the artist’s works, as well as those of other Canadian artists.
Visit doorsopenontario/ca for the full list of Markham sites and other Ontario Doors Open events.
Photo: Doors Open Markham takes place September 7th at 20 area sites.