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Doors Open Ottawa

Doors Open Ottawa 2017

Doors Open Ottawa

Doors Open Ottawa – Explore Ottawa’s culture, history, and architecture for FREE June 3 and 4, 2017!

The City of Ottawa is proud to present Doors Open Ottawa, a free annual architectural event that celebrates our community’s built heritage.

On June 4 and 5, 2016, 132 historically, culturally, and functionally significant buildings opened their doors for free for the public’s viewing pleasure. From Carp to Cumberland, over 73,000 visitors explored some of the city's most interesting places during the event's 15th consecutive year in operation.

Doors Open Ottawa continues to be the second-largest Doors Open architectural event in North America.  Since its inception in 2002, over 920,000 visitors have discovered some of the city’s most prestigious buildings including Earnscliffe: Official Residence of the British High Commissioner, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Embassy of the United States, and the Sir John A. Macdonald Building....just to name a few.

Whether you're a resident or visitor to the nation's capital, take advantage of the Doors Open Ottawa Shuttle Bus, operating within walking distance of over 50 participating buildings. Or, take the opportunity to enjoy the summer sun and cycle your way around the city on a Doors Open Ottawa bicycle tour. No bike, no problem! Visitors can visit numerous buildings per day by making their way around the downtown core on foot.   

In celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary, pay homage to Ottawa’s history, culture, and stunning architecture during Doors Open Ottawa 2017! It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s the perfect way to discover how Canada’s Capital has become the beautiful city it is today. And don't forget... Share your #DoorsOpenOttawa experience on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

For disability-related accommodation required to participate fully in this event, please contact us at or call 3-1-1.

Suggest a building for Doors Open Ottawa 2017 

It’s Canada’s 150th birthday! Which building would you like to see participate in Doors Open Ottawa 2017? To recommend a building, please e-mail Provide as much information as possible to assist us in our research. 

Building Representatives

To submit an application for the 2017 event, please fill out the online Doors Open Ottawa Building Application form. The deadline is March 3, 2017.

If you are a 2017 Doors Open Ottawa building participant and require volunteers, please complete the Doors Open Volunteer Request Application by May 10, 2017. 

For information and frequently asked question about the event, including building participation and criteria, please visit the Building owners and managers - FAQ section.

Information - Doors Open Ottawa 2016

Building owners and managers - FAQ

How to open your building

Are participating buildings open for the full two-day Doors Open Ottawa event?
Ideally, your building would be open to the public both Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. This will give visitors enough time to enjoy your building(s). Please contact the Doors Open Ottawa Event Manager if you have any scheduling concerns.

I'd like to participate in Doors Open Ottawa but I don’t want the public to roam freely through my building(s).

  • You do not need to open the entire building(s). Simply choose the most unique rooms.
  • Have an orientation area near the lobby where the public can receive information about your building(s) and your organization.
  • Direct the public to a few places (like an original boardroom, a room with a special view of the city, a restored stained glass window, or a behind-the-scenes location.)
  • Have staff or volunteer guides on hand to talk about the special features of these areas.
  • Choose to run brief guided tours through your building(s).
  • Prevent theft by locking away valuable items and secure rooms that are not open to the public.

Who is responsible for opening my building(s) and supervising the public during Doors Open Ottawa?

As a building owner/manager participating in the Doors Open Ottawa weekend, you (and your staff/volunteers) are responsible for opening your building(s) and supervising visitors. We can provide a limited number of t-shirts to identify your staff/volunteers as Doors Open Ottawa volunteers.

What else is expected of us?

While the Doors Open Ottawa printed guides (English and French) will offer basic historic and architectural facts about the buildings, we encourage you to provide additional information, such as printed handouts, scheduled lectures or exhibits, or guided tours. Station your staff/volunteers throughout the buildings so that they can answer questions.

Keep track of the number of visitors to let us know the daily attendance.

What about liability and insurance issues?

The City of Ottawa maintains Municipal Liability insurance related to the Doors Open Ottawa program. Participating building owners will be added as Additional Insureds. Doors Open Ottawa is covered for public liability, but not for property damage or theft.It is your responsibility to ensure that you are suitably insured.

How will my building be identified to the public as one of the Doors Open Ottawa sites?

To identify your buildings we will provide a large Doors Open Ottawa banner to hang on the outside of your building. There is no charge, but it must be returned to the City of Ottawa. Information about your building will be included in Doors Open Ottawa promotional materials, including English and French guides, press materials and the Doors Open Ottawa Web site.

Can I charge admission to my building?

No. Admission to all buildings must be free. The focus of Doors Open Ottawa is to celebrate heritage and architecture, by making participating buildings open to all. You may sell refreshments, reading material, and souvenirs or provide free information about your organization (e.g., brochures, and membership forms).

Some buildings are already open to the public. Can they still participate?

Buildings that fit the Doors Open Ottawa profile and that are normally open to the public (e.g., historic and/or architecturally important embassies, government buildings, theatres, churches, museums, etc.) may be included if admission is free and special activities or events are offered, such as exhibits, talks, musical recitals, or behind-the-scenes tours.

Why should I participate in Doors Open Ottawa? What's in it for me and my organization?

  • Doors Open Ottawa participants will be associated with a well-publicized, high profile event that celebrates Ottawa's unique urban and rural architectural heritage.
  • Doors Open Ottawa is the largest architectural and heritage event in the city.
  • Doors Open Ottawa creates community pride. The event allows residents and tourists to discover our city by exploring a wide range of buildings.
  • Participation in Doors Open Ottawa is an excellent way to reach out to the public and raise awareness of your unique building.
  • Displaying our heritage helps the community cherish Ottawa's neighbourhoods, communities and history.

What criteria must be met in order for a building applicant to be considered a suitable candidate by the Doors Open Ottawa Advisory Council?

The Doors Open Ottawa Advisory Council is the committee responsible for determining whether a building is eligible to participate in the event based on specific criteria designed to value its historical, cultural, functional, and/or architectural significance. 

If you think your building would be a suitable candidate for Doors Open Ottawa, please review the criteria outlined below and complete the building application form no later than March 3, 2017. Please note that while it’s not necessary to meet every criterion, buildings that largely meet the criteria listed below will have a stronger chance of being selected. 

Preference will be given to buildings that meet the following criteria:

  • Buildings that are not normally open to the public, or have areas that are not usually open to the public.
  • Buildings that are open to the public but have some significant historical, functional, cultural, and/or architectural features that will be showcased during the event.
  • Buildings that can commit to opening their doors for TWO FULL days, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Buildings that are celebrating significant milestones and/or anniversaries.
  • Buildings that have been recognized with an award for their heritage, urban design, and/or architecture.
  • Buildings that have significant interior features.
  • Buildings that are an example of a successful adaptive reuse.
  • Buildings that feature excellence in contemporary design and/or innovative green/sustainable/LEED elements.
  • Buildings located in close proximity to other building participants in order to help form a cluster; and,
  • Buildings that represent cultural diversity.

Who is funding Doors Open Ottawa?

Doors Open Ottawa is funded by partnerships between the City of Ottawa, corporate sponsors, and individual donations. If you own a business or are part of an organization that would like to sponsor Doors Open Ottawa, please contact: 

Amy Kudrinko, Coordinator
Doors Open Ottawa, City of Ottawa
Tel: 613-580-9674, Email:

Sponsors, partners, and volunteers

With the help of committed volunteers, loyal sponsors, and partnerships between the City of Ottawa, building owners, neighbourhoods, and the corporate community, the City of Ottawa is proud to present the city’s largest and most prestigious architectural and heritage event Doors Open Ottawa, held annually during the first full weekend in June.


We would like to extend a very warm and heartfelt thank you to our event sponsors for their support during the 2016 event, including:

Title Sponsor, Doors Open Ottawa 2016

Additional Sponsors



Volunteer Information and Registration Sessions 

Volunteers are a huge part of the success of Doors Open Ottawa. Interested candidates may apply to assist throughout the event by greeting visitors, giving tours, and helping building staff.

For more information, please contact Daniele Hamonic at

Advisory council

The Doors Open Ottawa Advisory Council works with the City of Ottawa to maintain the vision of this two-day celebration of Ottawa's architectural excellence and built heritage.

Mayor Jim Watson
Honourary Chair, Doors Open Ottawa

Linda Russell
Co-Chair, Doors Open Ottawa

Laura Peters
Co-Chair, Doors Open Ottawa
City of Ottawa, Portfolio Mgr, Museums and Heritage Programs

Carolyn Quinn
Heritage Ottawa

David Jeanes
Heritage Ottawa

Miriam Fry
Media Consultant

Iona Green
Senior Associate, Marketing and Communications
Community Foundation of Ottawa

Kristen Gagnon
Ottawa Editor, Spacing Magazine M.Arch, Carleton University

Amy Kudrinko 
Event Manager, Doors Open Ottawa

For Kids

Doors Open is fun for people of all ages—big or small.

Volunteer at K.W. Neatby Building

Volunteer at K.W. Neatby Building, 2011

Here are just some of the family-friendly buildings that are opening their doors in 2016:

  • Alta Vista Animal Hospital
  • Bethany Hope Centre
  • Billings Estate Artefact Collection Storage
  • Billings Estate National Historic Site
  • Bridgehead Roastery
  • Britannia Yacht Club and Ottawa Tall Ship Black Jack
  • BYTOWN MUSEUM: Commissariat Building
  • Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI)
  • Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind National Training Centre
  • Canadian Space Services Ltd. (former NATO)
  • CanmetEnergy, Natural Resources Canada
  • Carleton Immersive Media Studio, Carleton University (NEW)
  • Central Experimental Farm, Various Sites
  • CKCU Radio/Carleton University
  • Cumberland Heritage Museum
  • Dickinson House
  • Diefenbunker
  • Fairfields Heritage House
  • Gloucester Artefact Collection Storage – Leitrim Complex
  • Goulbourn Museum
  • Heritage Building and Ottawa City Hall, including the Emergency Operations Centre (new)
  • HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel (NEW)
  • HMCS Carleton (NEW)
  • Hydro Ottawa, Chaudière Falls No 2 Generating Station
  • James Bartleman Centre: City of Ottawa Archives
  • Laurier House National Historic Site
  • Lester B. Pearson Building; Global Affairs Canada
  • Library and Archives Canada (NEW)
  • National Research Council Canada (NRC) - Uplands Wind Tunnel Facilities (NEW)
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Nepean Museum
  • Nepean Sailing Club
  • Ottawa Fire Services Training Centre
  • Ottawa Fire Stations, 4 Rural Locations
  • Ottawa New Edinburg Club 
  • Ottawa Paramedic Service Headquarters
  • Ottawa Police Service Professional Development Centre
  • Ottawa Rowing Club
  • Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame
  • Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club
  • Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre (NEW)
  • Pinhey’s Point Historic Site
  • Rideau Hall
  • Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (NEW)
  • Rogers tv & tv Rogers
  • Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts
  • Scouts Canada National Museum
  • Shopify (NEW)
  • Suntech Greenhouses
  • TD Place (NEW)
  • The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat
  • Vanier Museopark
  • Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health
  • Watson’s Mill
  • Waupoos Family Farm