Hello, friends! In this post, I want to share a daytime date we (kinda) had as a family. I’m exhausted as I write this because it was truly a full day, but it was so much fun!
You might want to look into your local community events and see if anything like this is happening in your city, or maybe see about starting something similar up.
Each year, on the first weekend of May, the city of Hamilton hosts “Doors Open Hamilton”… and this was the 15th year. I’ve wanted to go before, but we’ve always had other plans and have never been able to actually get out and explore. I thought it would have been the case this year, but we were pretty smart about it.
This event hosts several local businesses and galleries, all who open their doors to the public. Citizens get the opportunity to take a peek in places they might not ordinarily go. I’ve never been to an art gallery, and reallllly wanted to go this year, but we just didn’t have enough time. My husband and I agreed we’d definitely make it a priority next year.
Our oldest son, Tyler is in his last year of cadets. Not officially, but he’s skipping his final year due to school commitments, as he’s presently the school parliament president-elect. It’s a very proud moment, of course, even if we are a little bummed he won’t be aging out of cadets. The reason I mention this is because every May, he is required to attend the mandatory event, Battle of the Atlantic Parade. It’s a parade honouring those who lost their lives in the battle of the Atlantic, which took place from September 1939 and ended in May 1945.
Not wanting to miss the parade, we decided to check out events around the area that the parade was taking place, and we settled on Digital Canaries.
What the heck is that, right? Well, the website said it was a film studio. When we got there, it didn’t look like much. It looks like an old warehouse. It was packed when we pulled in. There was no room to park, so we parked around the corner and walked a short distance. Once we got started, it was seriously the coolest thing we’ve ever done. I’m only sad that Tyler missed it!
The volunteers and owner arranged tours for everyone in groups, and on the first of the two-day event, they had seen over 1200 people go through. We were in a pretty large crowd!
We weaved in and out of various rooms. The volunteer guide explained how certain things were used, furniture and lighting were used for photo shoots and movie scenes. The owner took over about halfway through the tour. He took us through a jail set, an ER set, and a long corridor. We visited an office area set that could have been used as a police station or a newspaper office. Then it was “photo op time” at the “presidential podium”! There was even the Oval Office set (which was almost to exact size). We visited a dungeon set, and sets that were made to look like homes (even with staircases that went nowhere), and an interrogation room set. There was even a morgue set!
It was BEYOND cool! Absolutely amazing to see and be able to walk through, free of charge. We also found out that it’s open for public bookings. So if anyone wanted to film or take photos, it’s just a matter of making an appointment.
It felt like we were there for hours, but it was only about an hour and a half. It ended just in time for us to head back to the parade.
After the parade, we went to one more venue… and it’s no surprise: a winery. It was the only one in the listing, and it’s one we’ve driven by numerous times, but haven’t checked out.
Next: The Wine Set!
The Ridge Road Estate Winery has been in the same family since 1875. The 6th generation is now running it, and hoping to pass it along to the 7th. They had a family tree, complete with photos, displayed at the front door.
The atmosphere, to me, felt like Halloween. It was all done up in fall/Halloween colours. Black, orange, yellow decorations and flowers were everywhere, and the owner was wearing a black shirt with an orange scarf. The atmosphere, although busy, was very warm and inviting. My only regret was not going there sooner!
Now, the thing that struck me about this winery is that it’s on TOP of the Niagara escarpment. I mentioned some of the benefits and science behind the many wineries in our area that are all below the escarpment in this post. I made sure to ask about this because I really wanted to know why they were the only winery we knew of that situated themselves like this. It turns out, there is only a one-degree temperature difference between the two levels. Plus, they kept a lot of fruit trees on their land to help block the wind, also home to many species of birds. It was really interesting.
My husband and I have decided to go back to that winery and to bring friends. I really want to take a closer look and learn more about it.
It was such a fantastic day… so much fun! We’re all looking forward to Doors Open Hamilton again next year.