Doors Open – an annual celebration of community heritage – is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year in cities and towns across Ontario. On Doors Open days, heritage buildings and sites – many of which are not normally open to the public – invite residents and visitors in for an up-close behind-the-scenes look at their architecture, facilities and operations. In Toronto, Doors Open has been running since 2000 and has drawn more than two million visitors to date. This year’s Doors Open Toronto is a weekend affair, on May 24 and 25, with walking tours, special activities and free access to 155 sites – places of worship, educational institutions, museums, theatres, gardens, and more. The 2014 event theme is Secrets and Spirits…Exploring the Mysteries Behind the Door. Among the many treats in store for participants are hidden spaces, secret treasures and stories of intrigue and haunting!
Historic 19th-century sites opening their doors for the first time this year in Toronto include the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse (built 1808), the Bank of Upper Canada building (built 1827-1834) and the Cornell Campbell House (built 1836). There are also plenty of spots to visit that will hold particular appeal for family historians – the Archives of Ontario, the City of Toronto Archives, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, the Toronto Reference Library and the Toronto Necropolis, to name just a few. For a full list of places to go and things to do, visit Toronto’s Doors Open website.
And if your Doors Open plans include a stop at the City of Toronto Archives on Saturday May 24, keep an eye out for the Toronto Branch table. Volunteers will be on hand to offer information about genealogy resources and help you with your research questions. In keeping with this year’s theme, we’ll also invite you to try your hand at finding hidden clues to crack some family history mysteries.