11th annual Doors Open Toronto will unlock the city’s architecture

Doors Open Toronto, the popular annual citywide celebration featuring free access to architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings, is back for its 11th year. This year’s Doors Open Toronto will be held on May 29 and 30, 2010.

In recognition of heightened public awareness of architecture and the architects who have shaped this city, Doors Open Toronto is going back to its roots: architecture is the theme and central focus in 2010. The 150 buildings will highlight their unique architectural features and stories providing an authentic urban adventure that celebrates Toronto’s architectural excellence from urban to suburban, blockhouses to bank towers.

Doors Open Toronto programs and locations for 2010 include:

Ask an Architect: Two new programs add the expertise of architects to the visitor experience at more than a dozen locations. Ask an Architect @ their Building and Ask an Architect @ their Office engage architects as on-site hosts at venues they designed as well as at the offices of Diamond and Schmitt Architects, du Toit Allsopp Hillier/ du Toit Architects Limited, Farrow Partnership Architects, Levitt Goodman Architects Ltd., Kasian Architects, Stantec, Taylor Smyth Architects, Zeidler Partnership Architects, and others. 

Launch of Architecture Walks: The Toronto Society of Architects (TSA) will launch two Guided Architecture Walking Tours on the Doors Open Toronto weekend.  One tour will highlight the architecture of the city’s recent “cultural renaissance” while the second features the historic to modern buildings of the financial district. These tours, developed by the TSA, will include in-depth information about the unique design features, building challenges and urban context for some of Toronto’s most iconic buildings. Trained volunteers with knowledge and passion for architecture will lead all tours.  Following the launch, paid tours will be offered weekly from June through September.

Green and Sustainable Projects: Toronto is an international leader in innovative green and sustainable building projects. The City Hall Podium Green Roof will reopen as the city’s largest publicly accessible green roof on the Doors Open Toronto weekend. New landscaped gardens, a courtyard framing the Council Chamber, a podium terrace, and new walkways provide unique views from this urban oasis in the heart of the city. Residents and tourists can also tour Cabbagetown’s Hugh Garner Housing Co-operative Inc. – Green Roof; the largest residential green roof in Canada (on completion), featuring a “wild” garden, storm water retention system and photovoltaic panels. In the heart of the Don Valley, visit the Evergreen Brick Works, recently selected as one of the world’s Top 10 destinations for sustainable travel by National Geographic Traveler.

Toronto’s Transportation Heritage: Toronto’s railway heritage gets on track at the John Street Roundhouse and Park with the opening of the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre. Highlights include a heritage steam locomotive and cars alongside a functioning interlocking tower, the fully restored historic Don Station and a miniature railway traversing the park. Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Trillium, Toronto’s legendary island ferry boat still operating in the Toronto Bay. Rehabilitated in Port Colborne in 1974-75, the vessel is the last side-wheeler paddle steamer operating in North America. It will be moored both days at the water’s edge in Harbour Square Park (west of the Toronto Island Ferry Docks).

University of Toronto: On Saturday, May 29, University of Toronto Scarborough College will feature six buildings on its beautiful campus; from the original 1965 John Andrews Buildings, a massive, poured-concrete, linear structure that stretches for a kilometre along the rim of Highland Creek valley, to the new Science Research Building by Moriyama Teshima Architects (2008). Four other buildings feature work by some of Canada’s leading architects including: Joan Foley Hall by Baird Sampson Neuert/ Montgomery Sisam Associates (2003); Management Building by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects Inc. (2004); Student Centre by Dunlop Architects (2004); and the Arts & Administration Building by Montgomery Sisam Architects Inc. (2005).  A St. George campus highlight is the newly restored and renovated home of Regis College by Larkin Architect Ltd. (2009) in the former Christie House, a late Victorian Mansion situated on Queen’s Park Circle East. 

The complete “Buildings to Visit” information is available at www.toronto.ca/doorsopen and the official Program Guide will be published in the Toronto Star on May 27, 2010.