This year was the first time I’ve taken in the Doors Open weekend in Toronto and I came away very impressed with this special weekend. I haven’t had so much fun walking around the city like I did over this weekend.
This event is one of the things Toronto does right when it comes to self-promotion. It’s a made-in-Toronto way to showcase the city to us, its residents. If you haven’t taken part, I would highly recommend it.
And this year there were plenty of buildings to choose from as there were 150 different buildings across the city to visit. I only hope that number grows next year.
I ended up going to a few places, some I’ve been to before but wanted to see again like Queen’s Park, and some I’ve never been to such as old and new City Hall, the MaRS Building, and St. Stanislaus Church.
I also wanted to see the King Edward Hotel but I didn’t expect such a long line up.
Along the way I also ended up going to neighbourhoods I haven’t been to in years in Queen West and Kensington Market.
Overall, it was a great day but (and there’s always a but) I guess, if I could make any suggestions for next year they would be the following:
- If possible, open up all buildings on both days. There were many buildings only open on Saturday or Sunday. I missed out on quite a few places I wanted to see because they weren’t open on Saturday and that was the only day I was free to see them.
- Longer hours! In seven hours I saw six places. In order to accommodate people the event should be opened later into the evening and the hours should be consistent across the board.
As for potential buildings to visit, I would hope the following buildings are open to Torontonians next year:
- All Bay St. bank buildings and the TSX - it would be cool to see the buildings that house the most important companies to the Canadian economy. I’ve had the privilege of “ringing the bell” at the TSX and it’s a really cool building to visit and experience.
- Rogers Centre - I wouldn’t pay to see a tour of the facility but by opening it up and allowing fans to be on the field and see the inner workings of the old SkyDome this might help bring back former fans and perhaps make new ones.
- Air Canada Centre - I think it would be neat to see the Leafs and Raptors dressing rooms and the NHL’s Canadian head office. It would be a great idea that could, perhaps, help show off something that is usually kept private.
- All Ryerson and U of T buildings - some of them were open but they give off the impression of being private and cut-off from everyone, especially U of T. These schools need to work on being more welcoming to residents who choose to visit the campuses. The OCAD building should also be included in this list as another place to visit.
- Humber College, Lakeshore Campus - while in school I found out the campus was previously a mental institution many decades ago, it fascinated me. I also heard there were underground tunnels connecting the separate cottages together, this would be a great place for people to visit and understand the history of treating mental illness in Ontario.
This weekend turned out to be a great way to learn about the history of the city. It was great to see buildings I've never visited and neighbourhoods I haven’t seen in years. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!