Thursday, September 23, 2010

Doors Open Highlights 4: The End of the Adventure


Three more places I managed to get to at Doors Open: Brainworks, St. Luke's in the Garden Chapel and Woodland Cemetery.

Brainworks, a former home at 79 Ridout St. S., I wasn't expecting to get all that excited about. I'd never heard it was one of London's more spectacular century-old houses. But I'll go in any old house if the owners will let me so in I went. Well, it turns out Brainworks is an excellent example of how an old house can be converted into office space while saving historical details. Built in 1910, the red brick building still has attractive double verandahs, a Romanesque arch around its door, stained glass and magnificent wood panelling.

Then off to Byron. St. Luke's in the Garden is located in the former Beck Memorial Sanatorium, now CPRI. A picturesque building surrounded by lovely gardens, it also has appropriately divine stained glass windows, featuring individuals like St. Luke himself and Florence Nightingale. Less impressive is the state of a white frame building closer to the road, formerly the residence of the Medical Superintendent. Deteriorating since it stopped being used in 1990, the once-attractive Priority 1 building is yet another example of demolition by neglect.

By the time I made it to Woodland, they were out of their self-guided tour booklets. Which shows just how popular a cemetery can be - people are just dying to get in (groan). I visited the monument erected in memory of railway workers killed in the line of duty (see photo above) just because I remembered it from a previous visit. The choo-choo train at top manages to be both droll and heart-rending at the same time. And the Victorian epitaph below is guaranteed to make most modern people snigger - yet wipe their eyes. On a more macabre note, I then joined the Crematorium tour, which proved there's definitely such a thing as too much information...

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