Field Trips for Grown Ups


All educators have taken classes on field trips at one time or another.  Keeping an eye on students is like playing whack a mole, without the whacking, of course.  When one goes down, another pops up.  At the end of the trip, you’re tired and really didn’t get a chance to take it all in.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a field trip to interesting places without the supervision of a class?  Maybe just your own family?  Have you ever driven past a building and wondered “Is there any way I could go inside and look around?”

There is.

For the past couple of years, we’ve enjoyed Doors Open Ontario in Amherstburg.  Last weekend, we had the opportunity to enjoy Doors Open Ontario in Brockville.  It’s a day, or couple of days, where places that wouldn’t normally be open and accessible to the public actually is!  Some places have guides; others just have opened their doors and you’re free to explore.

Brockville is a wonderful area with so much history to explore.  We tried to take it all in but there just was too much.  We did get to explore:

  • Armouries
  • Court House
  • Public Library
  • Railway Tunnel
  • Church of the Redeemer
  • Fort Wellington
  • Fulford Academy
  • Maitland Garden of Hope
  • Mallory Coach House
  • Rockport Customs Building
  • St. Brendan’s Catholic Church
  • St. John’s Anglican Church
  • St. Paul’s Anglican Church
  • Sir Isaac Brock Bed and Breakfast

Whew!  It was a busy two days with lots of photos taken.

The Court House stole the show for us.  The building had been closed for a number of years but you can’t help but notice the justice statue on the top of the building just driving down King Street.  When we heard that it was open to the public, we just had to go.

The inside was equally as spectacular.  In particular, the main courtroom had been restored to its original condition.  After a tour of the holding cells, we got a complete tour of the building.  Our guide was a court reporter and she did a wonderful job.  It was also an opportunity to ask questions that have always been curious to me about that profession – Do you record any profanity that’s said during the trial? What happens when the defendant speaks a language other than English?  What if someone is soft spoken?  What if you make a mistake?

The courtroom, completely restored with beautiful high ceilings was just beautiful.

According to her, this courtroom is one of two in the province that has three tiers of seating for the jurors.

It was an amazing tour.  She made sure to tell us the story of a local man who was charged, tried, and hanged all on the same day.

Of course, it was but one of the stops on the weekend.

The Railway Tunnel was fascinating too.  As you can see, there really is light at the end of the tunnel!  Restoration is under way and it will be quite something to traverse the entire distance when it’s safe.

Of course, Doors Open Ontario isn’t limited to just grown ups.  But, our tour was pretty much limited to us, a couple others, and our tour guide if there was one.  It was a terrific opportunity to explore the local history.

Check out the Doors Open Ontario website for an doors open opportunity near you.  There are a number that we’re going to explore.  For sure, Windsor will be in our plans.

OTR Links 06/02/2014


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Variations on a (Cubed) Theme


Recently, I had blogged about Google’s Doodle to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube.

I thought that it was extremely well done and I liked the connection to mathematics.  The two concepts seemed to flow nicely together in my mind.

I like the options that we, as end users, have as software users.  We could go the traditional route and wait for the “official” sanctioned browser and applications.  Or, we could sit back and admire the talents of exceptional programmers that push the envelope for us with new and exciting things.  (He said as he types this in Scribefire using Shutter for screen captures in Mozilla Firefox running on Ubuntu).

For me, the Rubik’s Cube doodle was an invitation to look further.  As it turns out, the Chrome browser has a whole section on its site devoted to the “Chrome Cube Lab“.

In fact, the site is populated with a number of experiments written by others and shared so that you can see and enjoy their efforts.

As I poked through them, I’m amazed at how creative programmers can be.  If that doesn’t inspire your internal programmer to want to look under the hood to see what makes it tick, i don’t know what will.  It beats the heck out of turning a spreadsheet cell green…

And look under the hood you can.  On the page, there’s a link to allow you to download the source code to the Cube.  From that point, you’re free to modify and make the Rubik’s Cube your own – subject to the terms and conditions, of course.

Have fun!

OTR Links 06/01/2014


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.