“Don’t Tell Me There’s Nothing To Do in London, Ontario”
“There’s nothing to do this weekend.”
Most weekends, and a whole lot of weeknights, there are often plenty of things to do in London, Ontario. That continuing, and often inaccurate, complaint aside, there’s a whole lot of stuff to do this coming weekend, September 25 & 26, ‘cause it’s Doors Open and Culture Days in London.
For those of you unfamiliar with the collaborative event, this weekend combines the 14-year-old provincial Doors Open Ontario with the six-year-old national Culture Days, creating a weekend to celebrate this city’s arts, heritage and culture.
As with any event of this size—for example, our local Fringe festival or big music festivals like Sunfest and Home County—there’s always the question, “Where do I start?” Well, Ellipsis Digital prides itself on being a full-service agency. And this week, our full service includes recommendations for what you should see and/or do during the weekend.
Relationship manager Brett McKenzie’s recommendation is a visit to The Arts Project, because as a former staff member, “It’s near and dear to my heart. And it has ghost stories.” He didn’t elaborate on the ghost stories, so you’re gonna have to hear them there.
Ghost stories are also part of developer Stephen Ash’s suggestion, The Grand Theatre. He’s going for the backstage tour, and an opportunity to see the props and costumes; if he’s lucky, resident ghost Ambrose Small will make an appearance.
Surprisingly, as far as I know, Fanshawe Pioneer Village doesn’t boast any ghosts. That doesn’t deter Josh Dow, our VP Quality Assurance, who describes the Village as “a fascinating look at the way life was 150 years ago.”
Jonathan Clemens, our production director, is usually all about the Newest Thing, so his recommendation of Labatt Memorial Park was a surprise. “This is without a doubt, the most overlooked, awesome thing in London. One of the most classic ballparks anywhere.” He is indeed correct about this.
Stuart Clark, our IT Guy, is also recommending some history, although his has more to do with technology. He suggests a visit to the 427 Wing and Spirit of Flight Aviation Museum, and says it’s a “wonderful space with much history of Canada’s contributions to various conflicts over the 20th century. He also suggests the Jet Aircraft Museum, “a fascinating look at the history of Canadian jet history.” Our new mobile app developer, James Harquail, agrees about the Jet Aircraft Museum, simply saying, “Jets are cool.”
For more unadulterated “cool,” there’s a whole lot of new technology to be investigated during the weekend. Relationship manager Jazmine Kempston likes technology and art, so she suggests the pop-up robot-inspired art show happening at Covent Garden Market; the Robot Show also includes an opportunity to construct your own robot.
From James Kingsley, our creative director, a recommendation to investigate 121 Studios, the downtown home of UnLondon. James says, “These folks are training/arming a slew of people around the city with the skills and inspiration to take creativity into new corners of London. It's an exciting collective of sorts whose impact and influence only continues to grow.” Lucas Moreira, our new front-end developer seconds James’ suggestion, saying “Nerds are awesome, electronics are cool and this space has plenty of both. Join the maker movement. Yo!”
Our lead developer, Gavin Blair, is also hopping on the technology bus. Literally. Specifically, the Maker Bus. “The longest human circuit by the Makerbus team looks awesome.” Here’s some background of this activity, from the MakerBus site:
“According to the Guinness Book of World Records there are no world records in London, Ontario. We want to change this. We want to bring our community together to not only beat, but shatter, the world record set in 2013 in The Woodlands, Texas for creating the world’s longest human circuit… Our goal is to bring together at least 1,500 (our equipment can support up to 10,000 people) to do something amazing. That’s right, no small lights for us, we want our circuit to cause something amazing to happen.” I’m with Gavin, and Maker Bus’ Ryan Hunt, on this, and who wouldn’t want to be part of a world record?
The city is full of exciting spaces and interesting events. A number of venues allow you to enjoy the culture (and food) of some of London’s many multicultural communities. If you want more ghosts, Attic Books has “Roland” in their basement. London Life has an amazing neo-classical building; this year they’re screening old films from the company archives in their auditorium.
Wanna see the inside of a fire station or the police station? This is your weekend. And if you’re as lucky as I was, you’ll be able to introduce a friend as “someone I met in a police line-up.” Makes you seem like a badass, when really, you just started talking while you were waiting in the queue for the station tour.
Our VP Sales (and resident Ironman), Rachel Berdan, recommends the offices of Nicholson Sheffield Architects. “If you like design, this is an neat place to check out. If you like industrial design, exposed brick, raw materials, natural light, and what can be done with all of those things in a heritage space, it's the place to see it all. Not only is this award-winning space itself an architectural landmark in its own right, its inhabitants are responsible for converting some other office spaces in London into true architectural gems and collaborative workspaces (specifically, the London Roundhouse, which is also on this list, and the London Community Foundation's space at the Covent Garden Market).”
Speaking of the London Roundhouse, a former locomotive repair shop and London’s only remaining roundhouse, it’s also open during the weekend. You may remember it as the Great West Steakhouse, or even the home of the Sansone Fruit Company. Investigate the latest incarnation of the 128-year-old Roundhouse: a transformation from a workplace of the steam age to the office of the Internet age (and current home of Ellipsis Digital and our sister company, Engine 74). On Saturday, your visit will have bonus culture, with Musicians of Orchestra London and Poets of the London Poetry Slam.
So there you go: a definitive rebuttal to the claim that there’s nothing going on this weekend. It’s an especially exciting time to live and play in this city and we wish you wonderful adventures as you get out and explore this weekend (and beyond)...
As a current adjudicator for London’s theatre awards, the Brickendens, and a former organizer of Sunfest and the London Canadian Film Festival, copywriter Laurie Bursch knows how to fill a weekend in London.