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Doors Open Ottawa

Explore Ottawa’s culture, history, and architecture for FREE June 2 and 3, 2018!

Doors Open Ottawa

The City of Ottawa is proud to present Doors Open Ottawa, a free annual architectural event that celebrates our community’s built heritage. It is the second-largest Doors Open event in North America, and one of the largest in the world!

Since its inception in 2002, over 1,000,000 visitors have discovered some of the city’s most prestigious buildings, and you’re invited to explore them first hand! Discover the history, culture, and unique architecture of more than 120 buildings, such as the Supreme Court of Canada, Earnscliffe: Official Residence of the British High Commissioner, the Bank of Canada, and the Lemieux Water Purification Plant, as they open their doors to share the secrets that lie within.

Whether you're a resident or visitor to the nation's capital, we also invite you to take advantage of the free Doors Open Ottawa Shuttle Bus, operating within walking distance of over 50 participating buildings. If you prefer to walk, no problem! With so many choices, visitors can explore numerous buildings per day on foot within the downtown core.     

Join us during the first full weekend in June to pay homage to Ottawa’s history, culture, and stunning architecture during Doors Open Ottawa 2018! 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.

Building Representatives

The application period for Doors Open Ottawa 2018 is now closed.

If you are a 2018 Doors Open Ottawa building participant and require volunteers, please complete the Doors Open Ottawa Volunteer Request Application by May 4, 2018. 

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

FAQ - Building owners and managers

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. 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:


Volunteers are key to making Doors Open Ottawa 2018 great! Please help building participants open their doors on June 2 and 3.

We are always recruiting volunteers who enjoy working with the public. Interested candidates may apply for greeting and welcoming visitors, handing out event material, tracking the number of visitors arriving on site, assisting with parking, managing lineups, and encouraging visitors to complete visitor surveys.

Contact Daniele Hamonic at for further information.

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
Marketing and Communications

Krista Gowan
Project Management

Amy Kudrinko 
Event Manager, Doors Open Ottawa

Sponsors, partners, and donations

With the help of our loyal sponsors and partners within the Ottawa community and beyond, the City of Ottawa is able to present a free architectural  event that brings together residents and visitors alike in honour of our city's built heritage. We would like to extend a very warm and heartfelt thank you to all those who support our goal in creating an experience that is inclusive to all.  

Title Sponsor, Doors Open Ottawa 2017

Additional Sponsors



2017 Free Mobile App

In partnership with Algonquin College's Mobile Application Design and Development program, Doors Open Ottawa is proud to offer a brand new mobile app for all iPhone and Android smartphones. The app will provide building description information, photos, and locations for more than 150 buildings participating in the 2017 event on June 3 and 4.

The free mobile app for Android and iPhone users is now available through Google Play and the Apple App store:

Get it on Google Play
Download from the Apple App store.


Photo Contest Winners - 2017

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, Doublespace Photography and Doors Open Ottawa teamed together to present the Doors Open Ottawa 2017 Photo Contest, and the winners have been chosen!

Category #1 – Best Exterior Doors Open Ottawa Building Photo, 1st prize

Photo of people visiting the courtyard at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat.
Photo by: Joi Bashir

Building: Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat

Category #1 – Best Exterior Doors Open Ottawa Building Photo, Honourable mention

Exterior image of Ottawa New Edinburgh Club and Ottawa River
Photo by: John Wenzel

Building: Ottawa New Edinburgh Club

Category #2 - Best Architectural Detail Photo, 1st prize

A photo of people standing behind a metal see-through wall of varying shapes.
Photo by: Rad Canolo

Building: Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat

Category #2 - Best Architectural Detail Photo, Honourable mention

A photo highlighting where the wall meets the ceiling.
Photo by: Ron Lavoie

Building: Lemieux Island Water Purification Plant

Category #3 – Best ‘Canada 150’ Doors Open Ottawa Building Photo (exterior only), 1st prize

Exterior image of Watsons Mill and its reflection in the water.
Photo by: Samantha Harb

Building: Watson's Mill

Category #3 – Best ‘Canada 150’ Doors Open Ottawa Building Photo (exterior only), Honourable mention

Exterior image highlighting the geometric shape of the National Gallery of Canada.
Photo by: Jessica Di Laurenzio

Building: National Gallery of Canada

Congratulations to the winners! We hope that you enjoyed your Doors Open Ottawa experience.

Visit Doublespace Photography for more information about contest rules and prize packages.

Kid-friendly buildings to explore!!

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 opened their doors in 2017:

  • Alta Vista Animal Hospital
  • Billings Estate Artefact Collection Storage
  • Billings Estate National Historic Site
  • Bridgehead Roastery
  • Britannia Yacht Club 
  • 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
  • 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
  • HMCS Carleton 
  • Hydro Ottawa, Chaudière Falls No 2 Generating Station
  • Laurier House National Historic Site
  • Lester B. Pearson Building; Global Affairs Canada
  • Library and Archives Canada 
  • National Research Council Canada (NRC) - Uplands Wind Tunnel Facilities 
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Nepean Museum
  • Nepean Sailing Club
  • Ottawa Fire Services Training Centre
  • Ottawa Fire Stations, 4 Rural Locations
  • Ottawa New Edinburgh 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 
  • Pinhey’s Point Historic Site
  • Rideau Hall
  • Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary 
  • Rogers tv & tv Rogers
  • Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts
  • Scouts Canada National Museum
  • Suntech Greenhouses
  • The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat
  • Vanier Museopark
  • Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health
  • Watson’s Mill
  • Waupoos Family Farm

Suggest a building for 2019

Building suggestions for Doors Open Ottawa 2018 are no longer being accepted.

However, we invite you to continue sending us your suggestions for future Doors Open Ottawa events. To recommend a building, please e-mail Provide as much information as possible to assist us in our research.