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Doors Open Ottawa

Explore Ottawa’s culture, history, and architecture for FREE June 6 and 7, 2020!

Doors Open Ottawa

During the first full weekend in June, 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 also the second-largest Doors Open event in Canada!

On June 1 and 2, 2019, the 18th annual event offered both guided and self-guided tours to nearly 130 unique buildings that have shaped the Ottawa landscape. Nearly 80,000 visitors were invited to learn about the secrets and stories behind such institutions as the National Arts Centre, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Global Centre for Pluralism, and the Hi-Ottawa Jail Hostel...just to name a few!

Whether you were a resident or visitor to the nation's capital, we encouraged all to take advantage of the free Doors Open Ottawa Shuttle Bus and to enter the Doors Open Ottawa Instagram photo contest using the hashtag #DOO2019Contest. With so much to offer, it was an event not to be missed! 

With this year's celebrations now behind us, preparation for the 19th annual event is already underway. We invite you to us join again on June 6 and 7, 2020 to pay homage to Ottawa’s history, culture, and stunning architecture during Doors Open Ottawa 2020! 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 doorsopen@ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1.

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Suggest a building for 2020

Which building would you like to see participate in Doors Open Ottawa 2020? To recommend a building, please e-mail doorsopen@ottawa.ca. Provide as much information as possible to assist us in our research. 

Doors Open Ottawa 2019 Photo Contest - Winners

Thank you to all who entered the 2019 Doors Open Ottawa Photo Contest sponsored by Via Rail Canada. Over 700 entries were received, and we are pleased to announce the following photographers as the winners of this year’s contest.

To view all of this year’s entries, we welcome you to search #DOO2019Contest on Instagram or visit the City of Ottawa Instagram page.

Doors Open Ottawa 2019 Winning Photos

Category #1 – Best Exterior Doors Open Ottawa Building Photo, 1st Prize
Building: National Gallery of Canada. Photo by Andrés Solis Montero.

Exterior view of the National Gallery of Canada's glass tower

Category #1 – Best Exterior Doors Open Ottawa Building Photo, Honourable Mention
Building: National Arts Centre. Photo by Scott Fawcett.

Exterior photo of the National Arts Centre building

Category #2 - Best ‘Intergenerational Day’ Doors Open Ottawa Building Photo, 1st Prize
Building: National Arts Centre. Photo by Pierre Lachaine.

Interior view of the multi-coloured windows of the National Arts Centre

Category #2 - Best ‘Intergenerational Day’ Doors Open Ottawa Building Photo, Honourable Mention
Building: National Gallery of Canada. Photo by Andrée Diebold.

Photo of an iPhone taking a photo of two people holding hands overlooking the National Gallery of Canada.

Category #3 – People’s Choice for Favourite Doors Open Ottawa 2019 Building Photo, 1st Prize
Building: Mill St. Brew Pub, Thompson Perkins Building. Photo by Samantha Harb.

Exterior photo of the old stone Thomson-Perkins Building, now known as the Mill St. Brewpub

Category #3 – People’s Choice for Favourite Doors Open Ottawa 2019 Building Photo, Honourable Mention
Building: allsaints event space. Photo by Matthew Belyea. 

Interior photo of the stained glass windows of allsaints event space

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

We would like to take this opportunity to give a huge thank you to VIA Rail Canada for their continued support of the Doors Open Ottawa Photo Contest, as well as the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum and Mill St. Brew Pub for their contributions towards this year’s prize packs.

We would also like to thank our judges Amanda Thomas from Linebox Studio, Patrick Woodbury from leDroit, Carolyn Quinn from Heritage Ottawa, and Jonas Langille from the Doors Open Ottawa Advisory Council for choosing this year’s winners!

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 over the past 18 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, 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!

Doors Open Ottawa 2019

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.  

Sponsors

Rogers tv logo in red font

VIA Rail logo that includes a canadian maple leaf and flag

leDroit logo in red and black font.

Bridgehead Coffeehouse logo

OC Transpo logo

Diffusart logo

Cartier Place Suite Hotel logo

Partners

Ontario Heritage Trust logo

Intergenerational Day logo

Donors

Volunteers

Are you looking for a fun and friendly volunteer opportunity? Do you like meeting new people? On June 6 and 7, 2020 come join the Doors Open Ottawa volunteer team…because volunteers are 'key' to making Doors Open Ottawa great!

If you’re 14 years of age and older, and you enjoy working with the public, we invite you to apply today! Interested candidates are needed to welcome visitors, hand out event material, track visitor attendance, assist with parking, manage lineups, and encourage visitors to complete online visitor surveys.

If you would like more information, please contact Amy Kudrinko at heritagevolunteers@ottawa.ca.

Doors Open Ottawa 2019

On June 1 and 2, over 130 volunteers donated their time and effort towards Doors Open Ottawa 2019. As a way to say thank you to all who helped facilitate last year’s event, we were proud to host a volunteer appreciation night at the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre.

Here are just a few photos highlighting the evening festivities:

A photo collage that includes door prizes, the Doors Open Ottawa 2018 volunteers, and a publicity poster.

We would also like to thank select Doors Open Ottawa building participants that generously donated this year’s door prizes, and Bridgehead Coffee for donating refreshments. 

Doors Open Ottawa 2019 Interactive Map – Saturday

Doors Open Ottawa 2019 Interactive Map – Sunday

Building Representatives

The application period for Doors Open Ottawa 2019 is now closed.

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

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: doorsopen@ottawa.ca

Kid-friendly buildings to explore!!

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

A family holding a Doors Open Ottawa printed guide visits a building.

A family visits the National Research Council Canada (NRC) - Uplands Wind Tunnel Facilities, 2016

Here are just some of the family-friendly buildings you can visit during Doors Open Ottawa 2019:

  • Algonquin College DARE District
  • allsaints event space
  • Bank of Canada
  • Barber - Carving & Sculpture Inc.
  • Ben Franklin Place - Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe, NEW
  • Billings Estate Artefact Collection Storage
  • Billings Estate National Historic Site
  • Britannia Yacht Club 
  • BYTOWN MUSEUM: Commissariat Building
  • Canada Council Art Bank
  • Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI)
  • Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind National Training Centre
  • Canadian Space Services Ltd. (former NATO)
  • Canmet Bells Corners Research Complex 
  • CKCU Radio/Carleton University
  • Congregation Machzikei Hadas, NEW
  • Cumberland Heritage Museum
  • Dickinson House
  • Diefenbunker
  • Fairfields Heritage House
  • Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism Ottawa Branch Centre
  • Global Centre for Pluralism
  • Goulbourn Museum
  • Heritage Building and Ottawa City Hall
  • Heritage Building - Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame
  • HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel
  • HMCS CARLETON
  • Hydro Ottawa’s new Hydroelectric facility at Chaudière Falls
  • Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre - Home of the GCTC
  • Laurier House National Historic Site
  • Lemieux Island Water Purification Plant
  • Library and Archives Canada 
  • Maplelawn Historical Garden
  • Mulligan Building: Product Safety Laboratory, NEW
  • National Arts Centre, NEW
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Nepean Museum
  • Nepean Sailing Club
  • Osgoode Township Museum
  • Ottawa Art Gallery
  • Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre
  • Ottawa Fire Stations 24 & 47 and four rural locations
  • Ottawa Masonic Centre/Tunis Shriners Temple
  • Ottawa Paramedic Service Headquarters
  • Ottawa Police Service Professional Development Centre
  • Ottawa Rowing Club
  • Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club
  • Parks Canada Collections Storage Facility 
  • Pinhey’s Point Historic Site
  • Rideau Hall
  • Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary 
  • Rogers tv 
  • Royal Canadian Mint
  • Scouts Canada National Museum
  • SunTech Greenhouses Ltd.
  • Supreme Court of Canada
  • The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • The University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre
  • Trinity Anglican Church, NEW
  • Vanier Museopark
  • Watson’s Mill
  • Waupoos Family Farm

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

Iona Green
Co-Chair, Doors Open Ottawa and
Co-Owner/Operator, La Vida Local Food & Wine Tours

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

Linda Russell
Founding member, Doors Open Ottawa

Marie-Christine Blais

Jonas Langille
Heritage Specialist

Amy Kudrinko 
Event Manager, Doors Open Ottawa