Doors Open Toronto is back in its 18th year, and as with many cultural and civic events across the nation, Canada’s 150th birthday is at the core of it. As part of TO Canada with Love—Toronto’s year-long program honouring the nation's sesquicentennial anniversary, Fifteen Decades of Canadian Architecture will be a celebration of Toronto’s architecture, growth, and evolution over its relatively short history so far, in a time when Toronto is in search of its own architectural language and place in the world.

Doors Open Toronto 2017, image via City of Toronto Doors Open Toronto 2017, image via City of Toronto

To be held on Saturday May 27th and Sunday May 28th, Fifteen Decades of Canadian Architecture will feature over “150 buildings representing each decade since the 1860s, as well as a collection of buildings from the pre-Confederation era,” many of which are newly featured in this year’s program.

Sponsored once again by Great Gulf, the event will also feature a series of walking tours which will explore the histories, stories, and architecture of a variety of neighbourhoods. Registration for walking tours begins on April 26th and is mandatory for those wishing to attend. Special programs will also take place, featuring a number of exhibits, tours, talks and concerts.

This year, the kickoff event What is Canadian Architecture? will be a keynote featuring architects from across Canada and the world. Taking place on Friday May 26th at 7 PM at the site of East Harbour (formerly the Unilever Factory), the talk “will examine whether a distinctly Canadian voice exists in buildings and spaces created by Canadian architects, and will address the many varied perspectives of Canadian identity and their impacts on architecture.” MIA: Where are the Women Architects? will be the second talk of the event, examining the barriers women face in the field and profession of architecture. That will take place at 4 PM on Saturday May 27th, at the Great Hall on Queen Street West.

York University Station, Toronto, TTC, Foster + Partners, ARUP York University Station, image by UT Forum contributor salsa

The lineup of buildings open to the public clearly reflect the theme of this year, ranging across periods and typologies that reflect the evolution of Toronto, such as the Scadding Cabin, built in 1794, Old City Hall, built in 1899, the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto completed in 2008, and the nearly completed 1 Spadina Crescent, which will be the new home of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. The new Downsview Park Station (not to be confused with the current Downsview Station) and York University Station will also be open, giving the public a preview of the Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension, scheduled for completion in later this year. A full list of the participating properties as well as walking tours and special programs can be found on the City’s website.

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, Toronto, Levitt and Goodman ArchiteNative Child and Family Services of Toronto, image via City of Toronto

In weeks leading up to this year’s Doors Open, we will be highlighting our selection of must-see locations and events. In the meantime, more information is available on the City's official site, which includes a full list and map of participating buildings, as well as guides to the walking tours, speaking engagements, and special programs.