Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 1

Open House Chicago is an annual event where over 200 buildings open up for free tours. Most of the buildings aren’t normally even open to visitors, so it is even more special to get to see inside.

We spent two very long days touring as many as possible.

 

Our first stop was the Federal Reserve Bank, where they have a money museum.

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Next door is the Chicago Board of Trade, featuring a large vault in the basement housing safe deposit boxes, including one was used by Al Capone.

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The lobby of the Board of Trade Building is magnificent.

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Further up South LaSalle Street we were able to go up to a 22nd floor outdoor seating area of a financial firm.

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The lobby of 231 South LaSalle Street is very ornate, although cluttered with the Cubs ‘W’ flag because of the playoffs.

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One of the few lines we encountered was at the famed Rookery Building. On this day we could go up to the spiral staircase.

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The view from below leading up the staircase is equally impressive.

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The lobby at 1 North LaSalle Street continues with the Art Deco style of most of the buildings on the street,

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Another basement, another safe deposit section. This one was massive.

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One of the newest buildings is 150 North Riverside, with it’s tapered bottom.

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The position of 150 North Riverside at the corner of the branches of the Chicago River offered great views in all directions.

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Back on the ground for a panorama of the area.

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The Builders Building also has a great lobby.

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The Michigan Avenue lift bridge was open with views of the gears and the opportunity to go up to the tower.

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Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 2

Part two of the tour starts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The tour indicated you could go on stage, which I was expecting a large concrete pad. Instead it was a beautiful wood stage with the risers for the orchestra behind it.

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Outside was the famed curved metal of the pavilion.

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Not officially part of the tour we went past the tourists at the Bean.

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The Maclean Center Grand Ballroom is the home of an art school.

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The famed Railway Exchange Building had an architectural firm open on the fifth floor, giving a rare view above the skylights.

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Along with a nice view of Millennium Park.

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111 West Monroe Street was the home of another architectural firm who had some great models that they have designed and built.

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Yet another firm down the street in the National Building had a visually interesting work on the entrance wall.

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While not open we passed by the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower)

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Also not officially part of the tour, but always open and interesting is Union Station.

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Our final stop in the Ravenswood neighborhood is the Ravenswood Events Center. Once a sign factory someone has purchased it and restored it to show off their exotic cars.

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Victoria, BC – September 2017 – Views of the City

A day and night in Victoria, British Columbia.

BC Parliament Building

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Totem Poles at the BC Museum

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Yachts and water taxis in Victoria Harbor

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The coastline along the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

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A cricket game in Beacon Hill Park

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More Canadian palm trees in the same park.

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More harbor action.

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On our way to Port Angeles, Washington and Olympic National Park – which we could easily see from Victoria almost 50 miles away.

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A perfect ending to a week in Canada.

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Vancouver – September 2017 – Views of the City

Vancouver is Canada’s 3rd largest city, and with height limits on skyscrapers has numerous fairly tall ones, without the massively tall buildings blocking views of the mountains.

In addition it is a center for cruise ships heading to Alaska. Personally I have no desire to be on a boat with 3000 other people.

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The harbor has steady seaplane traffic

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The harbor front area is lined with condo buildings.

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The Olympic Cauldron

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8 Bit Orca

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One of the cruise ships going under the Lions Gate Bridge.

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An evening view from the ‘Vancouver Lookout’ observation deck.

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Vancouver – September 2017 – False Creek and Granville Island

One of the inlets in the Vancouver area is known as False Creek. In the middle of this waterway is Granville Island, a man made island that was originally used for industry but most have left, as restaurants, housing and parks have taken over.

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The views across the waterway to downtown are great.

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The one remaining industrial business, Ocean Concrete, has gotten into the artistic spirit.

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There are numerous houses build on the piers.

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As well as many high end boats docked alongside.

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Another view downtown.

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Palm trees in Canada?

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Calgary – September 2017 – Views of the City

Calgary, Alberta was the next stop, where we arrived right as the Pride Parade ended. People were in a festive mood.

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There is a bluff just north of downtown Calgary offering a nice view of the downtown skyline.

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The river was a favorite rafting spot.

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The impressive pedestrian/biking ‘Peace Bridge’.

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While there are some older buildings downtown, much has been replaced with new skyscrapers.

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Calgary is famous for it’s rodeo, the Calgary Stampede. Part of the grounds is the arena, the Saddledome.

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The city has been celebrating Canada 150.

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