Nothing catches hold of my attention like a distinctive locked door. There is a good reason for this. In my experience locked doors usually lead to the most interesting rooms filled with odd equipment, roof access points, and offices with great views of the city. While I usually like to let my discoveries and invitations to these places unfold purely by chance, I often long to be able to pick up the phone and get through any door at a moment's notice.
While a locked door adds a certain flare for the dramatic reveal I have noticed that just being introduced to something new in the city is where the real excitement comes from. Several of my friends have been great for showing me lots of interesting places. Either to explore together or because they have special access that they want to share. I love being invited somewhere that has been around for years but I've never had a reason to see inside before. Riding up old fashioned service elevators and finding surprisingly elegant places. Even just being in a store after hours energizes me. I always jump at the chance to see the restricted areas; even when the ceiling looks like it is going to come crashing down at any second.
The more I can learn new and interesting things about my city the longer I find I can fight off the travel bug that is constantly pulling at me to explore other parts of the world.
Some recent ones have been:
1) finding the giant koi fish unexpectedly swimming in a classic restaurant here in the city, a couple of them having been here for 20 years now.
2) wandering around in the various tunnels that connect the buildings down town trying to see how long we could stay inside and warm.
3) going shopping in a giant warehouses that is by invitation only.
It all comes from being with the right people at the right time.
However one door in particular was made all the more fascinating because I couldn't get in. For years. It became my favourite locked door to the point that I would bring it up in conversation from time to time to see if anyone I knew could get me in. It has a combination lock with a red sign, almost the length of the door, pointing at the door reading "Archery". I was instantly hooked. I walked past there once a week for a while, knocking to see if anyone was there by chance. I talked with the people that owned the building above and they said to just keep trying. I enlisted the help of other people to walk by and knock each time they did too. People laughed about it but I would get the periodic text saying "no luck with the door". Eventually it paid off and I did manage to make contact, joined and now have access to an archery range 24/7.
Each door seems to open onto a different world in the city that I was not aware was a part of this small section of prairie life. I want to be the person to appreciate what is behind all these closed doors, package them up in a blog, and share the experience with others.
What is your favourite hidden gem in your city?
What is the most interesting place you have found either away or at home?