Doors Open Ottawa

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Explore Ottawa's culture, history, and architecture for free June 3 and 4, 2022

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

Ottawa is built on un-ceded Algonquin Anishinabe territory. The City of Ottawa honours the peoples and land of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.

The City of Ottawa honours all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and their valuable past and present contributions to this land.

During the first full weekend in June, Doors Open Ottawa will be celebrating its 21st anniversary, and we cordially invite residents and visitors alike to join us as we re-open the doors to some of the city's most beautiful buildings. That’s right…we are thrilled to be returning to to a live, in-person event but with the added bonus of enhanced virtual content!

In 2002, the Doors Open concept became a reality when the very first Ottawa event welcomed nearly 80 building participants and 35,000 visitors. Since then, the event continues to expand and evolve with the everchanging times, and this year is no different. Buildings will have the option to participate virtually, in-person, or a hybrid of the two. As a visitor, you will simply have to plan your ‘visits’ accordingly and follow the most current public health policies in place.

Whether you choose a virtual or live experience, you will discover the secrets and stories that lie within some of Ottawa’s most interesting buildings by way of still photography, in-depth descriptions, 3D and/or virtual tours, YouTube videos, in-person guided and self-guided tours, and more…so stay tuned!

On June 3 and 4, join us for the 21st anniversary celebration of Doors Open Ottawa, and pay homage to our city’s history, culture, and stunning architecture! 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…you can follow and share your #DoorsOpenOttawa experience on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

For disability-related accommodations required to participate fully in this event, please contact us at doorsopen@ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1.

For media inquiries, please contact medias@ottawa.ca.

Doors Open Ottawa 2023 - Hybrid Edition Building Sites

Doors Open Ottawa is excited to be returning to a hybrid format for 2023. Please stay tuned for the complete list of participating buildings for the year’s event.

We look forward to welcoming you back on June 3 and 4, 2023.

Building Representatives

The application period for Doors Open 2023:Hybrid Edition is now open! Applications will be accepted until March 3, 2023.

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

For all other enquiries, you may contact the event coordinator at doorsopen@ottawa.ca.

FAQ - Building owners and managers

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. 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 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 that represent cultural diversity.

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

To identify your building as a Doors Open Ottawa site, information that you provide including a building description, photos, 3D tours, virtual tours, and/or more will be included in Doors Open Ottawa promotional materials, social media sites, press materials and the Doors Open Ottawa Web site. Your site may also appear on the Doors Open Ontario website operated by the Ontario Heritage Trust.

Who is responsible for any costs associated with new or existing content that is provided to the City of Ottawa?

Doors Open Ottawa is not responsible for any costs incurred by those who wish to create new virtual content for the event. If your building chooses to create new content, such as a 3D or virtual tour, the costs associated with doing so will be paid for solely by the building participant. However, we think it’s important to note, that if you’re thinking about creating something new, it can always be used for your own promotional purposes after the event is over. It’s a win-win!

Disclaimer: Please note that all virtual content will be reviewed by the City of Ottawa. If the City deems any content unfit for publication (i.e. foul language, nudity, promotion of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs, etc.), we have the sole right to exclude the content from the event.

Does my building have to offer bilingual content?

We understand that not all buildings are created equally. While we strongly encourage all of our buildings to provide bilingual content on their websites, 3D tours, and virtual tours, we know that it’s not always possible. However, if you plan on creating new virtual content for this year’s event, perhaps it’s the perfect time to include both official languages in your new promotional material.

Can I charge admission to visit my building online?

No. Virtual admission must be free during the event. The focus of Doors Open Ottawa is to celebrate heritage and architecture, by making participating buildings open to all.

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.) will be included if admission is free. We encourage buildings that are normally open to the public to offer special activities or events, such as exhibits, talks, musical recitals, or behind-the-scenes tours as a way to showcase the building further.

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:

Emily O’Kane, Coordinator
Doors Open Ottawa, City of Ottawa
Email: doorsopen@ottawa.ca

Sponsors, partners, and donations

Since its inception, Doors Open Ottawa has welcomed both sponsorships and partnerships with local and national corporations, businesses, and organizations. By generously donating time, money, and resources to Doors Open Ottawa for nearly 20 years, we have been able to continue operating as a free event, and we look forward to doing so for many more years to come.

If you are a business or organization that wishes to sponsor or collaborate with Doors Open Ottawa 2023, we invite you to contact us today to discuss a wide range of opportunities.

As a trusted sponsor and partner, we will work with you to ensure that your brand is presented in a way that is beneficial to your business!

Ontario Heritage Trust logo

Volunteers

If you are interested in volunteering with Doors Open Ottawa for our 2023 event or if you have any questions about the volunteer program, please contact doorsopen@ottawa.ca.

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.

  • Iona Green
    • Co-Chair, Doors Open Ottawa and
    • Co-Owner/Operator, La Vida Local Food & Wine Tours
  • Laura Peters
    • Co-Chair, Doors Open Ottawa
    • Program Manager, Cultural and Heritage Programs and Spaces
  • Carolyn Quinn
    • Heritage Ottawa, Vice-President of Communications
  • David Jeanes
    • Heritage Ottawa, Member of Board of Directors
  • Miriam Fry
    • Media Consultant
  • Linda Russell
    • Founding member, Doors Open Ottawa
  • Jonas Langille
    • Heritage Specialist, Canadian Heritage
  • Laura Paquet
    • Freelance Journalist and Web Author of Ottawa Road Trips
  • Emily O’Kane
    • Event Coordinator, Doors Open Ottawa

Suggest a building for 2023

Which building would you like to see participate in Doors Open Ottawa 2023?

To recommend a building, please e-mail doorsopen@ottawa.ca. Provide as much information as possible to assist us in our research.