The word ‘heritage’ has been a regular part of my vocabulary since the age of five. I grew up in Markham Heritage Estates, a neighbourhood in Markham, Ontario, dedicated to preserving heritage houses. I call an 1871 Gothic Revival farmhouse ‘home,’ even though my friends say it resembles more of a museum.
On June 6 and 7, you have a chance to open the doors to some of Ottawa’s oldest buildings and preserved heritage sites to discover the culture, architecture and history the city holds.
Doors Open Ontario, a program of the Ontario Heritage Trust, celebrates hundreds of the province’s hidden heritage gems. Throughout the summer months, over 40 cities will open the doors to historical buildings, places of worship, private residences and more for the public to tour at no cost.
Over 120 buildings will be open and offering special activities, tours, exhibitions and demonstrations in the Ottawa area. Along with yearly favourites, Doors Open Ottawa will add Earnscliffe, the former home of Sir John A. Macdonald, to its list of sites. The now diplomatic residence is a National Historic Site, built between 1855 and 1857.
Read a full list Doors Open Ottawa site here.
Make visiting each site easy by taking advantage of the free Doors Open Ottawa shuttle bus that stops within walking distance of nearly 50 participating buildings. Or if you’re willing to pay a small fee, Ottawa Cycling Tours is offering an Embassy Cycling Tour.
Riding your bike between some of the locations is a great way to celebrate Ontario’s sport heritage and the integrated ‘Play. Endure. Inspire.’ theme added to Doors Open Ontario this year. The theme aims to explore the traditions, innovations, heroes and diversity of sport in Ontario. Keep an eye peeled for sporting sites and halls of fame featured during Doors Open Ottawa.
Doors Open Ontario launched in 2002 with the aim to identify, preserve, protect and promote Ontario’s heritage. Be part of the over 5.8 million visits have been made to over 6,000 Doors Open Ontario sites!