The 18th annual Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf returns on May 27 and 28. In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday and as part of TO Canada with Love, the theme is “15 Decades of Canadian Architecture.” The event has 150 buildings, representing each decade since the 1860s, as well as a collection of buildings from the pre-Confederation era. The theme shines light on the evolution of Canadian architecture, with a special focus on Centennial-period buildings and architects from the 1960s. The weekend celebration of architecture includes 50 new building participants, a speaker series and new music program, city-wide walking tours and more. Details are now available at toronto.ca/doorsopen.

“Doors Open Toronto offers a truly unique behind-the-scenes experience at many of Toronto’s great institutions, including Toronto City Hall,” said Mayor John Tory. “I encourage Torontonians to explore our city on this weekend celebration of architecture.”

“We are fortunate to have architecture that spans 150 years in our provincial capital. What a tremendous opportunity to see and walk in the buildings that helped shape Toronto – where history-making decisions have been made and communities have grown,” said Eleanor McMahon, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Adding the special exhibits, walking tours and speaker series to Doors Open Toronto is a fitting way to celebrate our sesquicentennial.”

“As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we are delighted to return as presenting sponsor of Doors Open,” said Christopher Wein, President of Great Gulf. “Over time, this city has experienced an incredible transformation in its architectural landscape, with some of the most dynamic buildings and iconic designs attaining global recognition. Please join us throughout the weekend as we explore some of the most interesting buildings that have shaped our history.”

The weekend’s activities will be kicked off at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 26 at East Harbour (former Unilever Factory) with a keynote event by acclaimed architects from across Canada and beyond. The talk “What is Canadian Architecture?” 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.

A second talk, “MIA: Where are the Women Architects?” at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 at the Great Hall on Queen Street West will explore the various barriers women face in the field of architecture.

Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square will be abuzz with activity during the Doors Open Toronto weekend. Visitors to the building can experience rare access to the 27th floor observation deck, the council chamber, special exhibitions and family-friendly activities, including:
– Celluloid City – film screenings of iconic Canadian buildings, architects and incredible engineering feats from across the country
– Standing On A Corner: Photographs from Yonge and Dundas – a selection of images from Geoffrey James, Toronto’s first Photo Laureate, that highlight the significance of Yonge and Dundas, and
– MomenTO – a pop-up museum featuring artifacts from the City’s historical collections, historical interpreters highlighting the past 150 years of Toronto architecture on the 27th floor observation deck and projections showcasing the evolution of some of Toronto’s and Canada’s most significant landmarks.

In partnership with Sofar Sounds, Batuki Music Society and other key music organizations, this year’s Doors Open Toronto will augment the cultural significance of unique and unexplored spaces through performance, providing the audience the opportunity to experience psychedelic rock, experimental music, kora music from Mali, blues and more in various locations across Toronto. The music program is supported by TD Bank Group.

Eleven free walking tours will extend throughout the weekend, delving deep into the history and architecture of a wide variety of neighbourhoods and architecture.

Doors Open Toronto is part of TO Canada with Love, the City of Toronto’s year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions marking Canada’s 150th birthday. It is presented by Great Gulf and produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Province of Ontario and the broader community.

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About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.