Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (Photo: Howard Yang) 1


How does Doors Open Ontario work?

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.


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 Ottawa, or enjoy a fall getaway in St. Thomas. Wherever you go, there’s a Doors Open Ontario event waiting for you!


How much is admission to Doors Open sites?

Access to a building during the Doors Open event is free of charge. 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.


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.

And, unless otherwise indicated, remember to bring your camera so that you can relive the experience later. Don’t forget to share your photos, too, on the Doors Open Ontario Flickr page. (See the event and site information for specific guidelines or restrictions on photography and/or video.)


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.


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 ...


How does Digital Doors Open work?

Any of the digital sites offered on the Doors Open website offer virtual experiences – either a tour, a video, a game or activity, or a searchable collection or online resource. Each site is different and provides its own unique digital experience.


How can my site get involved with Digital Doors Open?

With Digital Doors Open, any site in Ontario can participate. You can either connect with the local event organizer (contact information will be available on most community event pages – if not, email us directly), or you can fill out this form to submit your site listing to us directly. Note that it may take up to one month to process new listings, based on volume.


How do I differentiate a listing for an in-person event from a digital one?

Every event that appears on the Doors Open site could have two components – in-person listings and digital listings. Simply toggle between the two types of listings to see what’s on offer. In some instances, an event will only have digital content – while for in-person events, you may see both. In addition, in some cases, the same sites could be available for both in-person and digital events, with different content for each version.


There’s a lot of digital content on the Doors Open Ontario website. What’s the best way to navigate it all?

While there is a lot to see and do on the Doors Open Ontario website, there are easy ways to navigate. See the question above regarding how to distinguish an in-person listing from a digital one. If you’re looking for easy ways to navigate the digital content, you could narrow it down by content type (for example, virtual tours or videos), or you could check out one of our staytrip itineraries – sample itineraries with themed content that take you across Ontario in a single day. For in-person events, consult their event pages for details on the actual event and take whatever precautions you need to (or are advised to) when you visit.