The annual event offers an exciting opportunity to explore corners of the city through an architectural lens
Treat your eyes as you open the doors to over 140 buildings across Toronto at Doors Open—the city’s annual event that feeds the curiosity of architecture and design lovers with access to spaces not usually open to the public. Partnering with local institutions and businesses around Toronto, Doors Open will run from May 27 to 28, inviting the exploration of research centres, design studios, private galleries and places of worship across the city.
Here, we’ve highlighted some of our favourite sites to see over the course of the weekend, be it alone or with a guided tour.
Research and Library Centres
Witness the largest rare book collection in Canada at the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Designed with four mezzanine floors filled with some of the rarest print and manuscript materials in the world – including the oldest English and French-language books in Canada – housing these books since 1973. Designed by Mathers and Haldenby, it was built with the intention to visually represent the conversation between historical literature and new knowledge in the library.
At the intersection of design and social good, the Centre of Social Innovation proves to be one of the most experimental and fascinating offices in North America. Being one of the world’s first coworking spaces, the CSI aims to integrate different systems and disciplines to work in a space that puts people and the planet at the forefront of everything they do.
Arts and Culture
Experience the rich revival design of the Women’s Art Association of Canada housing over 2,000 fine art books and 11 art studios alongside a lush sunken garden to wander outside. If you are a film buff, you might also want to see how architecture and film work together at the Post-Modern TIFF Bell Lightbox at King St West, or head to Bloor West to get access to the Hot Docs Ted Roger Cinema to see this modernist century-old landmark that also happens to be the first and largest documentary cinema in the world.
Exclusively for Doors Open, the Ontario Association of Architects will welcome the public into its headquarters to showcase the role of architecture in supporting a sustainable future.
If you are more interested in a Neo-Gothic story, head over to Adelaide Street West and Peter Street to see one of Toronto’s largest warehouses, The Commodore Building. Housing the innovative and experimental architecture firm, RAW Design Studio, the building is the pinnacle of early 20th-century industrial design featuring a mix of buff brick and stone cladding and trim contrasting the intricate Art Deco detailing on the entrances.
Be the first of the public to get a closer look at the Port Lands Flood Protection Project. This Toronto environmental innovation aims to connect the Don River to Lake Ontario by organically designing a river mouth. Being one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Toronto’s history, the project will help protect the neighbourhoods of the Port Lands, South Riverdale and Leslieville from weather extremities.