Managing your event
Community organizing committees are responsible for ensuring that each property provides sufficient volunteers and/or staff at each open site to manage visitors adequately. Volunteers and/or staff:
- ensure public safety (crowd and queue control)
- provide information to the public (direct visitors to entryways, exits and washrooms; answer questions; provide directions to other Doors Open sites in the community; etc.)
- guide tours and provide interpretive materials/experiences
- protect the site (act as security attendants – security attendants should not be responsible for providing public information as it distracts their attention)
- ensure that each site is identifiable from the street through highly visible signs
The Trust provides a detailed tip sheet offering suggestions for Recruiting and Managing Volunteers as part of the resource materials available to participating communities.
The number of visitors each property attracts varies greatly. Well-timed dissemination of promotional information to area residents and media is critical to raising local/regional awareness of your event. During your event, it is also important to post signs that indicate the locations of Doors Open properties to visitors. Highly visible directional signs are useful for ensuring that visitors know how to get to the properties. The yellow Doors Open Ontario signs – provided by the Ontario Heritage Trust – can be used to fulfil these objectives.
A representative at each property should develop a method of tracking the number of visitors to the site. Attendance figures need to be recorded for submission to the organizing committee. The organizing committee is required to include these numbers in the evaluation form that must be submitted to the Trust within one month of the end of their event. Providing final visitor numbers to the Trust is an essential step in validating the success of the program and demonstrating the need for future funding.
The Trust tip sheets – Developing a Promotion and Publicity Plan, Participating in Doors Open Ontario – A Site Organizer’s Guide and Helpful Hints – 101 Pieces of Advice from Past Events (a compilation of tips from community organizers) – provide suggestions to boost visitor turnout. These tip sheets are included in the resource materials available through the Doors Open Ontario website.
Finances and funding
Doors Open Ontario communities will require their own event management plan and strategy. Organizing committees should set a budget, identify required resources and secure funding or sponsors to cover community costs. Event management strategies will vary depending on the size of the community event, but some basic budget components to consider are outlined below.
Participating communities/community clusters are required to pay a registration fee of $1,695 ($1,500 + HST) to demonstrate their commitment to the Doors Open Ontario initiative. The deadline for registration is December 20, 2019. The fee should be paid and sent to the Trust as soon as possible following registration. If your community requires an invoice to process payment, please advise Trust staff who will provide one.
The organizing committee assumes responsibility for all community event-related expenses – although costs may be shared between partners and sites. Expenses might be incurred for items such as: brochures and maps listing all sites, interpretive materials, local launch events, volunteer/staffing, cleaning, local marketing and promotion and the rental of portable washrooms or access barriers.
Admission to the main attraction at each participating property must be free to the public. Additional programming components can be offered for a fee. This might include special lectures or readings, sale of merchandise and refreshments or fundraising events for the restoration of a building.
Participating communities may seek sponsorship to assist with the coordination, promotion or implementation of their community event. Sponsorship of community Doors Open Ontario events could include services-in-kind, media coverage, financial support, or other resources, as required.
Local sponsors of community Doors Open Ontario events may be recognized in community materials/events/products, including:
- community launch event
- community map/brochure listing sites
- interpretive flyers/brochures
- local site signs
- promotional items or products (T-shirts, posters, tote-bags)
- community website or page on other regional/community website
- advertising in community newspapers and other print media
- advertising in community broadcast media (radio/television)
- acknowledgment in releases to area media outlets
The Ontario Heritage Trust secures sponsorship for the provincial program. Provincial sponsors will be acknowledged in the Trust’s provincewide marketing and promotional materials, including the Doors Open Ontario brochure and Doors Open Ontario website. Local community sponsors can also be recognized on a community’s event page on the Doors Open Ontario website.
Given the growing public interest in architecture, culture and heritage, Doors Open Ontario is designed to maximize regional tourism opportunities and encourage Ontarians and visitors to travel and experience heritage tours and events throughout the province. Doors Open Ontario events provide opportunities to build new community cultural and heritage tourism opportunities, products and packages. It also assists participating communities in attracting visitors. Because of this, some community events may qualify for funding support from government agencies or departments. Organizing committees may wish to apply to one or more of these granting bodies for funding support.
The Trust provides a tip sheet listing Potential Funding Sources for Community Doors Open Ontario Events as part of the resource materials available to participating communities.
Promotion and publicity
Organizing committees should develop a Promotion and Publicity Plan for their community event. It should facilitate decisions and ensure that everyone in your organization is working together to achieve the same goals. In addition, a good plan will ensure that your Doors Open event reflects a positive community image.
As part of the resource materials available to participating communities, the Trust provides a tip sheet for developing a Promotion and Publicity Plan as well as a template for writing a Media Release for Doors Open Ontario community events. The Trust also provides electronic versions of its own logo for use in local promotional materials.
IMPORTANT - Acknowledgement of Doors Open Ontario and the Ontario Heritage Trust’s support must be included in all community marketing and promotional materials, including any Doors Open Ontario-related websites/pages and the community map/brochure of participating sites.
The Doors Open Ontario logo must be displayed in a prominent position on all materials produced. Alternatively, you may list Doors Open Ontario and the Ontario Heritage Trust as supporting partners on the main/cover pages of all materials. The Doors Open Ontario website URL (doorsopenontario.on.ca) must also be promoted in all community marketing and promotional materials.
Health, safety and security
Each participating Doors Open Ontario site must ensure that health, safety and security issues are addressed in accordance with legal requirements. Public safety and security are of utmost importance. Doors Open organizing committees should confirm and discuss this requirement with each site prior to the event.
In opening any property to the public, the possibility that personal injury, safety, theft, loss or damage may occur must be considered. Each site must take measures to protect personal belongings, collections or the property itself from theft or vandalism.
Sites should be equipped to provide the following:
- barrier-free access wherever possible (full or partial access)
- information about nearby parking (either street or lot parking)
- a procedure for crowd control and line-ups (barricades, marked entry/exit, etc.)
- information about washroom availability (on or adjacent to the site)
- security against theft/destruction of property (attendants, cameras, cordoned off areas, etc.)
- health and safety provisions (first aid, fire exits, etc.)
The Ontario Heritage Trust will not assume responsibility for any accidents, injuries, loss or theft of items that occur during community Doors Open Ontario events.
The Trust offers suggestions concerning safety and security issues for Doors Open Ontario community events in the Site Organizer’s Guide tip sheet provided in the resource materials available to participating communities.
Public liability and property insurance
Each community organizing committee must ensure that all participating sites and properties have adequate public liability and property insurance. There are, however, no consistent approaches across the province due to the diverse range of organizations, levels of government and volunteers involved in managing Doors Open Ontario community events. For community Doors Open events that are led by a municipality, the public liability insurance held by these bodies may cover the participating sites. Communities will need to verify the coverage provided by their lead organization, and if none is provided, additional coverage may need to be obtained. Consult your insurance carrier. Some participating sites, such as commercial, federal, provincial and municipal buildings, may have their own public liability insurance if they are normally open to the public.
In addition, each participating site must ensure that they have adequate property insurance to open their site to the public. The onus is on the property owner to verify whether their existing insurance coverage is adequate, or whether they will require additional coverage. As circumstances may vary from carrier to carrier, it is important that each site works directly with their insurance provider to determine whether adequate coverage is in place.
Some Doors Open Ontario committees ask each of the sites participating in their event to sign an agreement confirming that the site is insured for public liability, damage and theft and that committee members will not assume any responsibility for any accidents, injuries, damage or loss that may occur during their Doors Open Ontario community event.
Building tourism partnerships
Organizing committees from participating communities should consider partnering with community tourism operators to provide new tourism products and packages.
Examples of potential package items include:
- overnight accommodation and meals
- entertainment (shows, concerts, amusement parks, guided tours, etc.)
- transport (cruises, train tours, helicopter rides, etc.)
- outdoor activities (horseback riding, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, etc.)
- local sites and events (festivals, markets, galleries, museums, etc.)