Does Doors Open Ontario only occur on one weekend every year?

No, there are dozens of Doors Open Ontario events to attend each year throughout the province – starting in April and running until October. Some events run for a single day, while others run for an entire weekend. You can choose which communities interest you and plan your weekend getaways accordingly. Spend a spring weekend in Kingston, or enjoy a fall getaway in St. Thomas. Wherever you go, there’s a Doors Open Ontario event waiting for you! See all events happening this year

How exactly does Doors Open Ontario work?

Some events run for a single day, while others run for an entire weekend. You can choose which events interest you and plan your weekend getaways accordingly. Each event is organized by a local committee, which is responsible for selecting the sites that will participate in their event and the date(s) when they will host their weekend. Doors Open Ontario is a partnership between local communities and the Ontario Heritage Trust as a provincewide festival to celebrate cultural heritage.

How much is admission to Doors Open sites?

The basic premise of this program is to invite people to visit sites of interest that are not normally open to the public – for free. There may be value-added tours or on-site gift shops that will cost extra. But access to the building during the Doors Open event is free of charge.

What's the best way to plan our Doors Open visit?

The first thing to do is to narrow down which event(s) you want to attend. Once you’ve determined where you would like to go, review all of the sites listed on the Doors Open Ontario website that are open during your outing. Occasionally, additional site listings are available on locally hosted websites, so be sure to follow links on each event page for those websites.

Don’t try to take in too much. Visiting five or six buildings or sites per day may be all you can accomplish. Talk to the knowledgeable volunteers at each site about the most interesting attribute, and don’t miss those highlights. Explore the building’s history and its architecture to get a truly meaningful experience. For more information, check out our touring tips

And, unless otherwise indicated, remember to bring your camera so that you can relive the experience later. And don’t forget to share your photos on the Doors Open Ontario Flickr page.

What's the easiest way to search for sites or events on this website?

There are many ways to use this website’s search tools. The fastest and easiest is to type in a site name in the Search box found in the top-right corner of every page on the Doors Open Ontario website. There is also an Event search form for more complex searches. For basic searches, simply enter the name of the specific site or event in the “Search events and sites” field and click Search. You can also search by date range to see which events are scheduled for a specific weekend or month. To do a date-range search, enter the start and end dates in the basic search form. You can even request that only upcoming events appear in your search results by checking the “Just upcoming events” checkbox.

For more complex searches, click on the “Show advanced search options” button on the Event search page and you’ll see a number of additional search options that can help you find events or sites that fit your exact search criteria. For example, there are a number of checkboxes that can show all buildings that have parking, or a list of participating sites that are kid-friendly or offer guided tours, among other options. You can also search for specific building types (e.g., commercial, courthouse, place of worship, etc.), architectural style (e.g., Gothic revival, Second Empire, Victorian, etc.) or landscape type (e.g., conservation area, garden, landscapes, etc.).

A number of pre-defined searches have also been created for you …

Feel free to explore the advanced search features to find the interesting sites across all events happening this year.

How many people visit Doors Open Ontario sites every year?

Doors Open Ontario is a large, provincewide program. For the past few years, approximately 500,000 visits to participating sites over the course of a season have been recorded. In 2017, the program generated similar visits to 45 events. There were 170 communities represented in these 45 events, which included 81 municipalities and 1,040 buildings/sites.

Since 2002, over seven million visits have explored more than 6,000 unique buildings and sites through Doors Open Ontario. Ninety-three per cent of Ontario’s population lives in a community that has hosted a Doors Open Ontario event since the program’s inception, meaning that 196 municipalities have partnered with the Ontario Heritage Trust to bring this engaging cultural heritage tourism experience to residents and visitors.

Doors Open Ontario generates around $5 million in spending in participating communities and municipalities by visitors every year ($59 million spent in host communities since 2002). Each year, approximately 54,000 volunteer hours are given to local organizing committees, representing a huge gift to Doors Open Ontario and local committees.

I own a heritage building. How do I get involved in Doors Open Ontario?

First, check the Doors Open Ontario website to see if your community is participating in this year’s Doors Open program. If they are, contact the local organizer of the event to inquire about getting involved. Each Doors Open Ontario event page has contact information so you can open a dialogue with the event organizers. While Doors Open Ontario is run by the Ontario Heritage Trust as a provincewide initiative, each community event is locally run. The Trust does not select the participating sites – that’s all done at the local level. So, establishing contact with the local organizers is your important first step. For a complete list of this year’s events

I would love to see our community participate in this program. How can we get involved in Doors Open Ontario?

The Ontario Heritage Trust welcomes new communities to the Doors Open program every year. Our staff offers expertise and assistance on everything from how to coordinate a team to run the event to dealing with volunteers. The Trust also provides registered communities with a comprehensive set of tools to help them organize successful events. To get your community involved

Who supports Doors Open Ontario?

At the local event level, municipalities, community groups and private sponsors support their own programs, and provide the resources necessary to organize the event, open buildings in their communities and publicize their Doors Open activities.

Provincially, the Ontario Heritage Trust seeks sponsorships and grants, raises some funds through registration fees charged to all participating events, and self-funds any additional costs.

The program is also dependent on volunteer and in-kind donations to help open over 1,000 sites to the public every year across hundreds of communities. Check out the Doors Open Ontario Volunteer page to get involved …