This weekend is Ottawa’s annual opportunity to explore a side of the city that is rarely available to the public. Doors Open Ottawa 2017 runs for two days and the list of buildings this year is longer than ever.
This Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4, all Ottawa residents and visitors will have free access to more than 150 buildings around the capital region. Now growing in popularity every year, the 2017 list includes 39 new buildings that were not part of last year’s event. Organizers are expecting over 80,000 visitors to explore at least one of the city’s most interesting spaces.
There will be a free accessible OC Transpo shuttle bus running on June 3 and 4. Nearly 70 participating buildings can be accessed from one of the eight stops on the shuttle loop.
Some highlights of this year:
Canada Aviation and Space Museum’s Reserve Hangar
♿ 11 Aviation Parkway: The Reserve Hangar is home to over 60 aircraft and unique artefacts. This visit is self-guided with staff and volunteers stationed throughout the hangar to offer insights and interpretation.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
♿ 181 Queen Street: The Ottawa Broadcast Centre is home to CBC and Radio-Canada’s national, regional and local news and programming. For Doors Open Ottawa 2017, CBC/Radio-Canada is inviting visitors behind the scenes to meet personalities such as Lucy Van Oldenbarneveld, Adrian Harewood, Alan Neal, and more.
Tour the sets for CBC News at 6, Our Ottawa, Power and Politics as well as the radio studio where Ottawa Morning, All in a Day, Ontario Today and In Town and Out are produced. Plus, there’s family-friendly activities outdoors on Spark Street under the big tent.
Hours: CBC will be open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday June 3.
Canada Council Art Bank
♿ 921 St. Laurent Boulevard: Home to over 17,000 contemporary Canadian paintings, works on paper, sculpture and fibre works. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour with expert consultants and art handlers.
Hours: The Canada Council Art Bank will be open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday June 3.
Enriched Bread Artists
951 Gladstone Avenue: Enriched Bread Artists is an arts collective now celebrating 25 years in the former Standard Bread Company building. Opened in 1924, the building is emblazoned with a plaque which says: Audaces Fortuna Juvat, a Latin proverb meaning Fortune Favours the Bold. It is now home to artists’ studios.
Hours: EBA will be open from 10am to 4pm on both Friday and Saturday, June 3–4.
Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards
♿ 7 Bayview Road: The former City of Ottawa Workshops Building #4 at Bayview Yards is a heritage designated (circa 1941) industrial building west of downtown Ottawa. A recent retrofit and upgrade has turned the building into a hub for creators and entrepreneurs.
Hours: ICBY will be open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, June 3.
Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre
♿ 1233 Wellington Street W: Take a tour through the Great Canadian Theatre Company’s two theatre spaces, workshops for props, wardrobe and set construction, art gallery, green room, and lobby cafe. Heads up, GCTC will be contesting show passes to Doors Open visitors.
Hours: Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre will be open from noon until 4pm on Saturday, June 3.
♿ 250 City Centre, Bay 216: Makerspace North is a 19,000 sqf. warehouse that’s been transformed into a lively mixed-use space. Taking the forms of an industrious workshop, start-up incubator, and community hub, Makerspace North wishes to develop “a city full of makers and creatives,” and to help advance their ambitious pursuits.
Hours: Makerspace North will be open from 10am to 4pm on Sunday June 4.
541 Sussex Drive: McMillan occupies one of the oldest structures in the ByWard Market, a heritage building that has housed everything from military barracks rented by Sir John A. Macdonald, to hospital beds during a typhoid fever outbreak, to the Natural History Museum.
From 1881 to 1911, it was the first Ottawa home of the Geological Survey of Canada. Before the Survey moved in, 541 Sussex hosted the inaugural exhibit of the Canadian Academy of Arts, the works of which formed the initial collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
Hours: McMillan will be open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday June 3.
NRC Wind Tunnel Facilities
1920 Research Road, Building U70: The National Research Council’s wind tunnels are where aerodynamics experts experiment with all kinds of challenges – from Olympic athletes to trucks, cars, parachutes, and supersonic aircraft. Visitors can tour the largest of six wind tunnels and witness a range of demonstrations that are sure to amaze.
Hours: The NRC Wind Tunnel Facilities will be open from 10am to 4pm on Sunday June 4.
Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts
♿ 310 St. Patrick Street: In 1888, after discussions with parishioners at the over-crowded bilingual Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Archbishop Duhamel established another parish in Lowertown. Constructed by Irish immigrants in 1889 and 1890, the limestone church was designed by Ottawa architect James R. Bowes in an eclectic Victoria style that combines Gothic Revival with Neo-Hiberno Romanesque forms.
Members of Ottawa’s Irish community purchased the heritage building in 2007 to establish Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts. The space is now used for concerts, art exhibitions, fundraisers, conferences, as well as a variety of cultural programming.
Hours: Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts will be open from 10am to 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday, June 3–4.
The Rectory Art House
179 Murray Street: Built in the early 1980s, The Rectory Art House was formerly the Rectory of Saint Brigid’s Church. Converted into artist studios and office space in June 2011, it now provides nine artists with private studio space and is the head office to Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts.
Hours: The Rectory Art House will be open from 10am to 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday, June 3–4.
Visit ottawa.ca to see the full list of buildings participating in Doors Open Ottawa.