Ever walk, cycle, or drive by a historical or iconic building you frequently see and be curious what lies behind its closed doors. How is it designed? What happens in the building? What stories can the walls tell? Well, mark Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 on your calendars as your chance to actually open the door and peek inside. It’s time for the 21st annual Doors Open Ottawa event!
This year, over 90 buildings will be giving behind-the-door tours both in-person and virtually. See the full list of buildings online at ottawa.ca/doorsopen, along with a guide that you can use on your handheld device to help guide you on your day journey or print out a copy to carry with you.
This year, the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects (ORSA) has teamed up with Doors Open Ottawa for a photo contest. Participants are invited to send in photos during Doors Open Ottawa weekend that captures a building’s architectural design, historical significance, or contemporary look. A winner will be selected for each of the five categories, who will win a gift certificate from a local business and the winning photos will be featured in ORSA promotions, include Ottawa Architecture Week. Visit ottawa.ca/doorsopen for contest rules.
Here are some of the buildings and facilities featured this year:
Connaught Building – 555 Mackenzie Avenue
This majestic building, sitting between Mackenzie Avenue and Sussex Drive, near Wellington Street, is the crown jewel for the Canada Revenue Agency. It was named after the Duke of Connaught, who officially opened the building in 1915. He was the third son of Queen Victoria and served as Canada’s Governor General from 1911 to 1914. The building is designated as federal heritage building due to its architectural significance and will be open 10 am to 4 pm for Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4.
Ottawa Main Mosque – 251 Northwestern Ave
A familiar building that cannot be missed when travelling along Scott Street, the Ottawa Mosque was the first mosque in Ottawa and it is also one of the oldest mosques in Canada. The building, which can hold up to 900 people, has a distinctive architectural design, with a raised minaret and central dome. The Ottawa Mosque has a very diverse congregation, which is reflected in its structure and decoration. The mosque will be open 10 am to 4 pm for both June 3 and 4. But for the Ottawa Mosque, its doors are open every day and everyone is always welcome.
Circle of Nations Learning Centre – 1 Observatory Crescent, building #2
Nestled on the landscaped grounds at the Central Experimental Farm, the Circle of Nations Learning Centre is associated with Canadian research in astronomy and geophysics. The building, known as the Observatory House, served as the official residence to the Dominion Chief Astronomer for many years, which included William King, R.M. Stewart and C.S. Beale. It also housed laboratories in the basement for magnetic survey work and other research. The building was built in 1909, shortly after construction of the Dominion Observatory. The building is only open Saturday, June 3 from 10 am to 4 pm.
Take advantage of this free event to see these architecturally and historically rich buildings. Also, be sure to get a real flavour of Ottawa by visiting local businesses, shops and restaurants on your tour to make your day complete.
More importantly, Doors Open Ottawa weekend is your opportunity to finally answer that burning question, “I wonder what the building looks inside?”