“When is your play coming out?” I was asked by this young woman who was very proud of her job at Theatrix Costume House in Hamilton.

I replied with my usual confidence when I was pulling someone’s leg, “Next week.”

She was excited by this and asked me what my play was about, to which I replied that I had not written it yet.

My wife, Charlene, makes a comment, and it becomes clear that I am no playwright but that we are very much enjoying this private tour of a business that provides costumes for school plays and television shows. We were the first to arrive at this Doors Open location in Hamilton last weekend. Our guide was someone who very much enjoyed her job and loved showing us around. It is a warehouse, so there is nothing like walking into a store that sells costumes. Everything is on many racks, which means you need to know what you are looking for to find it. A task, our guide assured me, is skillfully done by the others who work here. 

This young woman took us from the costume area, showed us their hat collection, where they repair and build costumes on demand, and enthusiastically answered all of my questions. Being who I am, I wanted to continue playing as an aspiring playwright, and I said I thought my play would be about ABBA going back in time to the American Civil War.  

“Ah, you want to mix it up a bit,” she said with a smile, playing along. She continued telling me that there would be someone here to help pick out costumes and develop themes that would help with my time-travelling 70’s Pop group trying to stop the Civil War.

We left this place appreciating the tour and remarking that she found her perfect job; loving what you are doing is a blessing. Theatrix was one of the few secular sites we visited this Sunday morning. My theme was more on churches since it is so hard to get into a church when it is not open during our tours of various communities. I almost think it is wrong for churches to be locked up, so when they are open, we pop in.

Our draw to churches is mainly the stained glass windows, with other art and architecture following close by. There is a peaceful serenity at most of these places of worship. Our timing was perfect when we arrived at St. John’s Anglican Church. We sat in one of the front pews and listened to their choir sing songs with the organ. It was a half-hour of wonderful music. All free, like every other site during Doors Open. I guess it would also be free had we attended their Sunday service an hour earlier.

We would leave this place of worship and walk a block or two to the Hamilton Police Historical Society and Museum. This is a small two-room museum, but what is excellent about Doors Open is the great opportunity to talk to the people there. The first we spoke to was about the various batons that they used throughout Hamilton’s police history. The second person we spoke to was the first policeman in this community. She cheerfully told us a brief biography of her life and what it was like trying to join the police force back in 1970. I left this place, remarking on how much times have changed.  

The next church told us that the first service performed back when it was built was for the preacher, who died before construction was completed. We would continue our church theme by visiting locations that were once churches and have become community event centres. Our final stop was at St Lawrence the Martyr Parish. This large building is on the same grounds as a Catholic school with the same name and is in an older part of the city. The outside of the building looked old and worn – bricks were starting to fall off in places.

But inside, it was a cathedral.  

The inside was stunning. A well-taken-care interior should give this location the title of a cathedral or basilica. Oddly, it continues to be known simply as a parish. We walked around, amazed by the beauty of the art.

With this came the sorrow that there are not enough hours in the day to continue exploring, learning, and experiencing what Doors Open has to offer. This event is a priority for us because it gives us, and everyone else, the opportunity to access places that would otherwise be closed or restricted. I intend to visit as many sites in as many cities as possible.  


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