Doors Open Toronto is back taking you to secret places across the city
By Jesse McDougall
Posted May 25, 2022, 3:48PM EDT.
Last Updated May 25, 2022, 8:52PM EDT.
Toronto has a plethora of beautiful locations, but some remain locked behind closed doors most of the year.
Doors Open Toronto will break from the norm this weekend as over 100 private, exclusive and rarely-seen locations are unveiled for the public.
- RC Harris water treatment plant
- A high-rise floor of the Toronto Dominion building
- Toronto’s iconic City Hall
Robert Kerr is a programming supervisor for Doors Open Toronto who spoke with CityNews about the ambitions event. It was last hosted in 2019 and subsequently canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kerr is thrilled to open these spaces once more.
“On May 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. we are opening 102 really cool in-person sites across Toronto,” said Kerr.
None of the attractions require reservations and they’re all free to the public.
“Some of the really popular sites might have a short wait, but everybody will get to be a part of the experience,” he said.
This year, Doors Open is a mixed in person and virtual event. “Honey Jam Canada has their music showcase available online, the Archives of Ontario and the Art Gallery of Ontario all have online presentations,” said Kerr. Three films are also available for streaming online about iconic Canadian buildings and the architects that built them.
One highlight you will not want to miss is the Lower Bay Station, a ghostly train platform abandoned since the 1960s. Kerr says it has been used to film blockbuster movies like Suicide Squad in 2016. “The station is only open on Saturday this year, but the abandoned space makes for some great photos.
This weekend will be a thrill for photographers. Kerr told CityNews that the hidden spaces deliver some beautiful architecture for atmospheric images. One of the event’s sponsors, Schlage locks, will be holding a photography competition to bring out the best in competitive shooters. The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Toronto Fire Station 334, and the Elgin and Winter Garden Theater Center are some of his top recommendations.
Guided tours are also offered over the weekend. “We have nine in person walking tours for people to get some extra information about the sites,” said Kerr. Tours have limited space for guests.
Doors open will not be free from all COVID-19 restrictions. Masking will be required at some locations, but Kerr said that in most spaces visitors can go maskless. Other locations may require proof of vaccination, so it’s best to come prepared for the weekend fun no matter what site you plan to visit.
Kerr’s message to Torontonians wanting to experience the secret places is simple.
“Get out and participate in this amazing and wonderful reconnection with the city, but please do it with lots of kindness and consideration in light of COVID-19,” he said.
This weekend is stacking up to be one for the history books, so start making a list of your preferred places during Doors Open and bring a camera to capture those exclusive and elusive places.