Doors Open London, Ontario Community Spotlight with London Children’s Museum

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Doors Open London, Ontario Community Spotlight with London Children’s Museum

Doors Open festivities are being celebrated across Ontario this spring, summer, and fall. Yes, they do take a break and hibernate during the winter season. If you have been following our series, the Teachers on Call in-person and online tutoring team are big fans of these special opportunities to visit and engage with community members through attractions and experiences not normally accessible to the public. This fall our president, Joanne Sallay, is selecting unique sites which are of particular interest to our education community.  In this blog she interviews the London Children’s Museum to learn more about their approach to STEAM-based learning during Doors Open and all year long. They will be in good company the weekend of September 16 – 17, 2023 with 28 in-person locations to take advantage of in total.

Each participating city has their own unique spin on the festivities. Our online and in-person tutors admire London, Ontario for their educational (and tasty) theme of London’s Heritage Through Cuisine. We recommend you arrive hungry! There are also 6 new sites on board this year. We highly recommend you check out the Ivey School of Business community open house to help them celebrate their centennial anniversary over food and beverages from their entrepreneurial student and alumni community. It's notable to mention that Western University's business school is a popular post-secondary program choice for Teachers on Call's graduating high school students. Read on for more details to participate!

What is Doors Open Ontario and how does it work?

Throughout April to October 2023, participating cities across Ontario are opening many heritage sites and historic buildings to the public on designated weekends, all in partnership with Ontario Heritage Trust, local businesses, museums, heritage sites and volunteers. Often, many of these locations do not open their doors to the public – or let you go on exclusive behind the scenes tours.

Since it’s unlikely to visit them all in one day or two, our in-person and online tutoring service is spotlighting participants this September and October from each participating community.

Teachers on Call’s London, Ontario Community Spotlight

There is no shortage of locations to visit and learn about during the Doors Open events, and the best part is: they’re completely free to attend. In this blog, we’re featuring "The Forest City" with Doors Open London, presented by the London Heritage Council with 28 in-person sites to discover. Dhira Ghosh, Director of Operations at London Heritage Council proudly shares, "In its 22nd year Doors Open London is one of the oldest communities in the province to host Doors Open. It is a two day event designed to explore, discover and learn about the hidden gems in the city. Doors Open London endeavors to provide an additional promotional and marketing platform for our heritage sector which in turn helps them to reach out to a wider audience that they might not have otherwise have access to. These opportunities benefit the organizations beyond the event weekend. As a result of the experience that visitors have during the event weekend, they are encouraged to attend more heritage events throughout the year, volunteer with organizations, support local heritage activities and get involved in a more meaningful way with the heritage in London."

Included in the list of 28 sites to visit is the London Children’s Museum, located at 21 Wharncliffe Rd S, London, ON N6J 4G5. This not-for-profit museum is known for being Canada's first children's museum. Given that Teachers on Call's in-person and online tutors are classroom teachers, this educational offering caught our eye.  As an added bonus in line with this year's theme, they are partnering with London based charity, Growing Chefs! Ontario, for a fun food education project. Read on for our interview with their creative team, and learn more about what they have in store for Doors Open London.

After our interview, we also spotlight the 6 new participating sites for long-time visitors looking to try a new Doors Open adventure. We highly recommend you check out London Food Coalition and Urban Roots London to learn more about their important work serving the London, Ontario community.

An Interview with London Children’s Museum

For anyone looking to visit London Children’s Museum for the first time, what can they expect?

The London Children’s Museum is all about play-based learning! With nine interactive exhibits, children and their families can explore a dinosaur dig pit, caves, the Arctic, and even outer space. We have daily hands-on programs that include everything from early years sensory exploration to STEAM-based learning. Children can engage in daily fossil shows or visit our mini planetarium. Our goal is to help visitors to indulge their curiosities and make new discoveries. We encourage visitors to check our website calendar for a list of available programs, events, and special guests.

This is the 22nd annual Doors Open London. Have you participated before?

The London Children’s Museum has participated in Doors Open for many years. Founded in 1977, we’ve been part of the London community for decades. We are fortunate to be part of so many families’ stories and memories, reaching back generations. By participating in Doors Open, we can welcome visitors from a wider audience and allow participants to explore not only this city’s heritage, but their own personal and family histories.

How will London Children’s Museum be incorporating this year’s theme of London’s Heritage Through Cuisine for visitors?

This year, the London Children’s Museum is partnering with Growing Chefs! Ontario to offer a program that’s all about apples! We’ll be making fresh pressed apple cider on an old-fashioned cider press. There will be apple tasting kits and apple science experiments. Visitors can explore fall-themes sensory bins and help construct a cardboard orchard. We encourage visitors to check our website calendar for a full schedule of programs.

For families interested in visiting your museum on a frequent basis, please tell us about your memberships.

The London Children’s Museum offers both Family and Passport Memberships. These memberships include free, unlimited admission to the London Children’s Museum all year long! They also include discounts on day camp and birthday party packages. For a family of four, our Family Membership pays for itself in just three visits. Member also receive free and discounted admission to attractions across Canada and North America. For the month of September, visitors save $20 when they purchase either a Family or Passport Membership! Visitors can check our website for a full list of benefits and participating attractions.

In addition to traditional visits, what other types of opportunities and experiences are possible?

The London Children’s Museum offers curriculum-connected education programs for students both in the classroom and visiting on field trips. Designed by an Ontario-certified teacher, our education programs encourage student-led inquiry and hands-on discoveries. On-site education programs include a 50-minute facilitated program and a full day of museum exploration. In-class education programs bring the London Children’s Museum experience right into classrooms with a 90-minute program, facilitated by a member of the London Children’s Museum team. Teachers can learn more and request their field trip or education program online.

There are many ways to experience the London Children’s Museum! We also offer day camps, birthday parties, event rentals, community outreaches, and volunteer experiences. For older children, we offer the London Children’s Museum Youth Council, which provides leadership and learning opportunities for youth ages 10-15.

For schools who are unable to travel to London, Ontario, please tell us more about your online education programs. Where have your students visited from virtually?

Virtual field trips are available for students learning or living remotely! Curriculum-connected lessons are taught live by a member of the London Children’s Museum team. Virtual Field Trips include one 50-minute facilitated program, on topics that range from dinosaurs to outer space. We’re thrilled to have been visited virtually by students from across the region and even Northern Ontario!

You boast a roaster of over 150 volunteers. How can members of the community get involved?

The London Children’s Museum is always open to new and dedicated volunteers who are passionate about hands-on learning! We welcome volunteers with an interest in education, childhood development, the trades, administration, data entry, photography – and anything else people may have to offer! The London Children’s Museum is a great place to volunteer, especially for individuals who like to get messy and learn something new. People can learn more and apply online here.

New Participating Sites to Doors Open London, Ontario 2023

Church of the Transfiguration (33 Bromleigh Ave, London, ON N6G 1V1)

Fans of reggae and calypso music will now want to miss the Golden Harps Steel Orchestra at this site during Doors Open London. This location is honouring the cuisine theme with Caribbean finger foods and drinks, including Jamaican patties and fish cakes.

Ivey Business School at Western University (1255 Western Rd, London, ON N6G 0N1)

Come celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Ivey Business School during Doors Open London on Saturday, September 16, 2023, from 12:00-4:00pm at the Richard Ivey Building at their community open house.  In honour of this year’s cuisine theme, Ivey alumni and student entrepreneurs from all over Southwestern Ontario will be onsite giving free samples from their food and beverage including the following featured businesses: Baby Rhino Coffee Inc., Dennis’ Horseradish, Sidetrack, Zenergy, Zentein Nutrition, CRANK Lite Bev Corp, and Darling Mimosa.

London Food Coalition's Glen Cairn Food Hub (244 Adelaide St South, London, Ontario N5Z 3L1)

Visit this site for a Chicken Soup for the Soul type experience to learn about strengthening food security with how The London Food Coalition. Their mission is to rescue high-quality fresh food in order to feed Londoners in need. In honour of this year’s cuisine theme, their Doors Open event will celebrate with flavours crafted from some of the food donations.

Oakridge Presbyterian Church (970 Oxford St W, London, ON N6H 1V4)

This Presbyterian church is situated in the Oakridge neighbourhood. In their new Doors Open event, they celebrate a love of the neighbourhood with music, free barbecue, a bouncy castle and activities for the whole family.

St. James Westminster Church (115 Askin St, London, ON N6C 1E7)

Western University’s Ivey Business School is not alone this year with a special anniversary. St. James Westminster Church celebrates its 150th anniversary. During their Doors Open event they are hosting a theatrical experience of London’s Old South neighbourhood in a performance called Bright Blooming Days: An Odyssey through Westminster Township.

Urban Roots London (21 Norlan Ave, London, ON N5W 1B3)

Anyone with a keen interest in urban agriculture, ecological restoration and beekeeping will want to visit Urban Roots, a non-profit organization that revitalizes underused land in the City of London. Doors Open activities include farm tours, guided vegetable harvesting, a tour of the beehives, and a scavenger hunt. For a nice connection to the cuisine theme, the market stand will be open with vegetables, herbs and flowers to purchase on Saturday and Sunday.

We hope you enjoy learning more about the London Children’s Museum and Doors Open London in London, Ontario. If you are interested to visit additional sites on Saturday and Sunday, you can access the full list through the official Doors Open London website. Alternatively, if you live closer to Peterborough, Quinte West, Cambridge, Kitchener or Waterloo, you are in luck, as their Doors Open events are taking place the same weekend with Doors Open Quinte West and Doors Open Waterloo Region.

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