Have you ever wondered what really goes on behind closed doors in some of Toronto’s most well-known infrastructure?  Perhaps you’ve always thought about city-wide fire stations (or their firemen), the TTC, or longed to learn about the wonderful world of sewage.

For the architecturally inclined, or those who are just plain curious to know what actually happens throughout 150 of the city’s most celebrated buildings, Doors Open Toronto provides the perfect opportunity to sneak a peek inside the hidden treasures of the city – for free!   

And nothing is off limits.  Not even Mayor Rob Ford’s office.  With 40 new buildings added to the list this year, including offices, places of worship, and historical landmarks, there is sure to be something for everyone interested in a unique opportunity to take a glimpse into many of Toronto’s unseen and often unimaginable venues.

For the first time in nine years, the RC Harris Water Filtration Plant will be open to the public.  Julian Sleath, Programming Manager with Special Events for Economic Development and Culture at the City of Toronto, predicts the plant will be “mobbed” and expects the venue to be among the weekend’s busiest.

Ok, so you’re probably asking yourself, “What’s all the fuss about seeing Toronto’s water system?”  At first I was hesitant as well, shuddering at the very thought, and vowing to steer clear of anything to do with Toronto’s sewers.  However, according to Shane Gerard, Senior Coordinator of Promotions & Communications for the City of Toronto, the sewage system is the “finest expression of art deco that remains in Toronto” and he recommends you take full advantage of this rare opportunity.

Our favourite spaces from past years include the green roof at Mountain Equipment Co-op, that will have you climbing a steep ladder, The National Ballet School on Jarvis, Coach House Books and OCAD. If you are short on time, Gerard suggests you check out the Corus Quay, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, and the Empress Building – all new additions to this year’s lineup.

The event is expected to bring out over 200,000 Torontonians this year.  Sleath attributes its overwhelming success to the fact that it is a “good feeling type of event”.  Now in its 12th year, Doors Open stands alone as the only event of its kind planned organically to engage with the community.

This year’s theme is photography and the Doors Open team has created various interactive events throughout the weekend, including an “Ask a Photographer” program and a photography contest.  Also featured are performances by five ensembles from Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

With so many exciting options, make sure to check out http://www.toronto.ca/doorsopen for the full list of participating venues, and further details in order to help plan out your route.  Most buildings are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, but it’s best to check the website to make the most of your weekend.

Happy venturing!

~ Charlotte Thuot