On Saturday May 27th and Sunday May 28th, the 18th Annual Doors Open Toronto will give visitors a rare—and free—chance to check out hundreds of seldom-seen buildings throughout the city. This year's Doors Open theme will celebrate Fifteen Decades of Canadian Architecture, with a special focus on centennial-period buildings. The two-day event will also shine a spotlight on Toronto's evolving architecture, featuring many recently completed and under-construction buildings. What's more, this year's Doors Open Toronto will also feature a variety of special programs, including tours, exhibits, talks and concerts. 

The banner for this year's Doors Open Toronto, image courtesy of Doors OpenThe banner for this year's Doors Open Toronto, image courtesy of Doors Open

Buildings

In honour of Canada's sesquicentennial, Doors Open Toronto offers access to up 150 buildings that are architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant to the city. Spanning nearly the full length of Toronto's post-colonial history, the featured buildings range from the Scadding Cabin—which dates to the 1700s—and Black Creek Pioneer Village, to U of T's cutting-edge John H. Danels Faculty of Landscape, Architecture and Design, which is now nearing completion on Spadina Crescent. 

Inside the John H. Daniels Faculty of Landscape, Architecture, and Design, imageInside the John H. Daniels Faculty of Landscape, Architecture, and Design, image by Jack Landau

Walking Tours

Sponsored by Great Gulf, this years event will also include 11 free walking tours. Many of the walking tours will focus on the history of Toronto's architecture. Some of this year's highlights include:

• 150 Years of History at Guild Park

• Architectural Icons at Exhibition Place

• Riverside Architecture Walk

• Walk at the Green Line

• Re-Discovering The Ward, Toronto's First Immigrant Enclave

• Architectural Icons at Exhibition Place

Part of the Guild Park sculpture garden, image by Stefan Novakovic Part of the Guild Park sculpture garden, image by Stefan Novakovic

Enhanced Experiences

Enhanced experience tours will give visitors a chance to see Toronto through one-of-a-kind, multi-media perspectives. One of this year's features is the Architects Open Studio Program, where you'll get the chance to meet some architects that designed some of Toronto's most celebrated buildings. Visitors will also get to take a peak of the architects' workplaces and what happens behind the scenes. The Enhanced Experiences program will also feature three additional events:

• 7th Generation Image Makers Mural: "Indigenous youth come together in collaboration with two former artists of 7th Generation Image Makers; Monique Bedard (Aura) and Nancy King (Chief Lady Bird). The community is invited to witness a mural develop, painted live over the course of two days."

• Tunnel vision: "Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival will bring films and installations to CAMH and the rarely seen tunnels below Canada's oldest mental health hospital. Self-guided tours can be taken in the tunnels and the public can see installations of films, slides, photographs and ephemera on themes of mental health and wellness, and the history of CAMH." 

• The Slow Now—Audio Walk: "A downloadable audio walk in Little Italy that uses Project Bookmark Canada's physical bookmark for Fugitive Pieces as its launching point. The audio will guide participants through a narrative, lyrical and imaginative experience of the neighbourhood, stemming from the seminal book by Anne Michaels, the City of Toronto's Poet Laureate."

The Architects Open Door Program, image courtesy of Open DoorsThe Architects Open Door Program, image courtesy of Open Doors

Music Series

The Music Series—which is supported by TD Group—provides visitors a chance to listen to music in unique and unexplored spaces throughout the city. One example is the 'Sounds of Zimbabwe' at the TD Bank Tower (66 Wellington St. W.) where Tich Maredza, a Zimbabwean singer and composer, will perform and sing Zimbabwean marimba and mbira music. The Music series will also host small concerts that will be held across significant sites in Toronto. For a full list and more information, click here. 

Tich Maredza will be playing traditional Zimbabwean music at the TD Bank TowerTich Maredza will be playing traditional Zimbabwean music at the TD Bank Tower

Speaker Series

This year's Speaker Series will highlight two topics: What is Canadian Architecture? and Where are the Woman Architects?

  • What is Canadian Architecture will bring together seven speakers to highlight how buildings and spaces influence our varied perspectives of Canadian identity.
  • Featuring five female speakers, Where are the Woman Architects will examine—and work to break break down—the obstacles women face in the field. The event will be hosted at The Great Hall. 

The Great Hall, image courtesy of Doors Open Toronto The Great Hall, image courtesy of Doors Open Toronto

City Hall

Home to the Doors Open Information Centre, Toronto City hall will also feature a wide variety activities and special programs, with the 27th floor observation deck and Council chambers also opened to the public. City Hall will also host activities for all ages, with images and artifacts on public display throughout the building. 

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Sites across the city will feature something unique and to give visitors a chance to take a glimpse look at Toronto's most celebrated, significant, historic and modern buildings. Next week, we will return with a more comprehensive look at this year's featured buildings, highlighting some of the must-see sites throughout the city. 

For more information, maps and schedules for this year's event, visit the official website. Finally, once Doors Open has come and gone for another year, we hope you'll post some of your photos in our dedicated Forum thread.