Thursday, May 31, 2012

Doors Open Ottawa - Kitchissippi Style (with Kids of Course!)

If you’re doing Doors Open Ottawa with kids (which I highly recommend!) remember that their attention spans are shorter than yours (likely, anyway!), that they may be in-and-out of buildings quickly, that they may be surprisingly interested in things you did not expect and that they need playtime in between.

The locations below are all in the Kitchissippi neighbourhood, listed roughly from west to east and are a great opportunity to check out our neighbourhood. Locations are open on Saturday, June 2md and Sunday July 3rd between 10am and 4pm unless otherwise indicated.

We have a great neighbourhood with lots of history – have a good time learning about it and sharing it with your children!

The Keg Manor - Thompson House and Maplelawn Gardens- 529 Richmond Road (building open Sunday only) listed separately in the guide but you won’t do one without the other. It's a lovely example of Georgian architecture and the garden (now in full bloom!) is one of the very few walled gardens remaining in the City.  A little further west on Richmond there is another 1840's stone building (now condominiums) that is worth looking at though it's not part of Doors Open.

Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill Ave., corner of Byron - (open both days but only from 2-4). There's a banquet hall on the main floor and then a more formal room upstairs for meetings of the Masons. If your kids need a play, drop into the Churchill School playground nextdoor. 

The Ottawa Mosque - 251 Northwestern Avenue off Scott Street - We've found the tour here really interesting. Neither I nor the kids had ever been in a mosque. It was informal (there were lots of kids around - both Mosque members and visitors - and the hosts served coffee and Timbits!) and it felt completely appropriate for slightly older children (mine were 7 and 9 at the time). The dome and minaret, which is used to call practising Muslims to prayer, are defining features of the building.

The Protection of the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church - 99 Stonehurst Avenue, also off Scott Street and just a little further east than the Mosque (open Saturday only) - This church has beautiful golden onion domes and was built with funds from Russian Orthodox congregations around the world.  It is next door to Laroche Park which has a Splash Pad (!) - and don’t be discouraged - the splash pad is on - you just have to hit the sensors in the right way!

The Parkdale Food Centre, 89 Stonehurst Avenue, (open Saturday only) right beside the Russian Orthodox Church (between it and Laroche Park)  (though google maps seems to suggest it's around the corner near where Stonehurst meets Carruthers). - This Food Bank is celebrating it's 25th anniversary so drop in and wish them a year of success in their endeavours to keep people in the neighbourhood well fed. The Food Bank serves people between Bayswater and Island Park and between Carling and the Ottawa River.  Continue to think of it for donations when you have a little extra on hand to spare. (Note : this photo courtesy of the City of Ottawa).

St. Francois D’Assise Church 20 Fairmont Avenue, corner of Wellington in Hintonburg - we visited this Hintonburg landmark two year's ago and the absolute hi-lite was that they let us play, and then they played for us (beautifully, I might add), the pipe organ. See this blog post for photos!  If you and your kids need a run-around check out Hintonburg Park behind the Hintonburg Community Centre. Like Laroche Park it has a splash pad!

Enriched Bread Artists; the Standard Bread Building, 949, 951 Gladstone Avenue - again these have two separate listings but are in the same building. They are the home of the Standard Bread Company, initially run by Cecil G. Morrison, also known as the Happy Baker. The horses and buggies that delivered the bread throughout Ottawa were stabled in the rear and it was the first place with an automatic bread slicer in Ottawa. The building now houses various artists studios so have a look at the Gladstone Clayworks and the Artistic Bread Artists and what they have to show.

Traffic Operations, Public WorksTraffic Operations - Public Works - 175 Loretta Avenue North - (this is virtually right across from the Standard Bread Building) and is the nerve centre for traffic control in much of Ottawa.  This is the only other one that I haven't visited before but I am hoping to get there this year. I think the boys will find it cool! (Note: this photo courtesy of the City of Ottawa).

Need a play structure at some point for a break? Pay a quick visit to Devonshire Public School at 100 Breezehill Avenue just a block west of Loretta and a block north of Gladstone.

A list of "kid-friendly" Door Open locations throughout Ottawa is available at:  but use your judgment as I’ve certainly found others to be kid-friendly as well.