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Doors Open Toronto 2011 Invites You to Explore & Experience!


Doors Open Toronto 2011

Theme is Photography

May 28  & 29, 2011

The annual Doors Open Toronto is a marvelous opportunity for you to get to know Toronto by exploring 150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and social significance as these special buildings open their doors to the public for a city-wide celebration.

This year you will be given rare access to 40 new buildings.

You will be surprised and amazed by the architectural treasures as well as hidden gems in the Toronto scene.

Doors Open Toronto will officially launch on Friday, May 27 when the Royal Ontario Museum opens its doors to the public for FREE from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. (excluding its ticketed event  “Water: The Exhibition”).

The highlights of Doors Open Toronto 2011 include:

Doors Open Toronto 2011 Invites You to Explore & Experience!
Doors Open Toronto 2011 Invites You to Explore & Experience!

Opening Night Celebration

Friday May 27, 2011
Stay tuned for details!

Diaspora Dialogues, Forgetful City

Sunday May 29, 1:00-3:00 p.m

“A self-guided tour will help you explore the architectural features of the two largest buildings at R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant.

Plant Water Treatment staff will be available to answer your questions on the water treatment process.

In the pump house, Diaspora Dialogues hosts an interactive art installation and panel discussion exploring what as a society we collectively decide to forget and what we choose to hold onto through memory and its embodiment in our physical city.

You are invited to contribute your photos or stories to be incorporated into the ever-evolving installation either in advance or during that weekend.”

Please click here for more details and to find out how to contribute.

Taflemusik Concerts

“Hailed as “one of the world’s top baroque orchestras” by Gramophone Magazine, Tafelmusik was founded in 1979.

Under the inspired leadership of Music Director and concertmaster Jeanne Lamon since 1981, Tafelmusik has achieved international recognition for its concerts and recordings.”

Tafelmusik offers  FREE concerts in the summer.

Please click here for more information about Tafelmusik.

For Doors Open, with the support of BMO Financial Group and the Department of Canadian Heritage, Tafelmusik is pleased to present free downtown performances by five ensembles drawn from Toronto’s internationally acclaimed Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (more information on the contest and performances will be announced).

Toronto Society of Architects,Towers: Mini-Tours

Sunday May 29, 10:00-3:00

“Toronto’s downtown skyline began a dramatic transformation in the mid-1960s that continues in the 21st century.

The extraordinary design of City Hall launched Toronto as a modern metropolis with the major banks competing to erect the city’s tallest and most iconic buildings.

More recently, condominiums and hotels compete with the corporate towers.

Tour guides from the Toronto Society of Architects will give 20-minute mini-tours of towers near City Hall during Doors Open.”

Additional information about Toronto Society of Architects’ tours running from June 2 to Sept. 25 can be found at:

City in Focus

“2011’s theme is photography. This theme will determine some venues selected for the roster and inspire thematic event-weekend programming including (but not limited to):

  • historic; e.g. showcase archival photo or camera collections
  • contemporary; e.g. demonstrate cutting-edge digital work at educational and innovation institutions
  • industrial; e.g. tours of photography processing facilities
  • commercial; e.g. photography studios (in some cases, family businesses)
  • artistic; e.g. behind-the-scenes tours of photography galleries”

Building photography programing highlights

“These are a few highlights of our thematic programming at Doors Open Toronto 2011.

Check out our buildings to visit for photography themed programming at other buildings.”

Many of the venues, including the following sites, will have photography programming and exhibitions:

City of Toronto Archives

Saturday May 28 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

“As part of Doors Open, Toronto’s archival community invites you to “Step Into your Archives” on Saturday, May 28.

Take part in a full day of activities that explore the link between yesterday and tomorrow.

Stroll through displays from some of the outstanding archives operating in Ontario.

See our new exhibits and pick up a research guide that will help you research your house.

Don’t miss our theatre where you can view archival films, go behind the scenes and visit the conservation and digitization labs and learn how historical materials are maintained and preserved for future generations.

Diamond and Schmitt Architects

Saturday May 28 and Sunday May 29, 1:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m.

“This dynamic Toronto Architectural firm will host a number of talks by architectural photographers and designers. Talks will be by:

  • Tom Arban, one of Toronto’s top architectural photographers (May 28 at 2 p.m.),
  • designers from Cicada Design talk about architectural rendering – those eye-catching interpretations that often look like real photography, as well as a return engagement from
  • Jon Soules, one of our principals, on architecture water colour painting, which he still does for clients of Diamond and Schmitt. This was one of the most popular presentations last year.”

Canada’s National Ballet School

Visitors will be guided through the Celia Franca Centre and will be able to observe community, recreational dance classes.

In addition, Joel Bernard’s photo exhibition “Grounded”, featuring National Ballet School professional ballet program students, will be on display in Mona Campbell Square.

Cannon Design

“Cannon Design on University Avenue will mount an exhibit of photography that explores how architects view the city, entitled “Toronto: City in Focus.”

The large scale photographs will be displayed throughout the studio for visitors to view as they experience Cannon Design’s studio space.

Models and images of completed projects as well as projects at every stage of design and construction will be displayed.”

The Association of Registered Interior Designers

“The Association of Registered Interior Designers new home (designed by modo) at the Toy Factory Lofts in Liberty Village features exposed beams, sleek touches of steel and glass and furnishings by design icons.

Visitors can view 75 years of interior design photos as well as speak with interior designers.”

Fort York National Historic Site

Saturday May 28 and Sunday May 29, 10:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m.

“Discover the magic of black and white pinhole photography through a special exhibition by documentary photographic artist Tod Ainslie.

Using traditionally-built, replica pinhole cameras with varying focal lengths, Ainslie captures views of fortifications and buildings at War of 1812 sites around the Great Lakes and Eastern North America.

The results of this exploration produce an authentic 19th century “soldiers’ eye view” of the colonial world.

Both images and reproduction cameras will be on display and the artist will be on hand to interpret the work and technology.”

Gilbert Studios

Saturday May 28, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday May 29, 12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m.

“Gilbert Studios Ltd. was established on Queen Street West by Al Gilbert’s father Nathan in 1922.

Al and Gail Gilbert purchased and renovated the current studio and residence at 170 Davenport Road studio 38 years ago.

The visitor can meet Mr. Gilbert, Member of the Order of Canada, and talk to the world-famous portrait photographer about his amazing career.

Now in his 88th year, he continues to create classical photographic portraits for the most discerning clients.

See the studio Gallery of over 80 Gilbert portraits including such famous people as: Oscar Peterson, Nathan Philips, Jean Beliveau, Bora Laskin, A.J. Casson, Robertson Davies, Golda Meir, Kenneth Thomson, Seymour Schulich, Joseph Biden, Lincoln Alexander and Pope John Paul II.

See a fully-functioning photographic dark-room and a six-minute video biography created to honour the Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed upon Gilbert by the Professional Photographers of America, of which he is a Fellow.

The art of print-making using archival paper and chemicals is rapidly disappearing because of digital technology.”

NFB Mediatheque

The National Film Board (NFB) Mediatheque has assembled a digital photography exhibit from its collection from the 1940s to the present day, and will have a cinema program featuring historical and current films on photography and architecture.

This location (150 John Street 416-973-3012) will also have family activities including animation workshops featuring a vintage Toronto scene with a streetcar, and a digital storytelling workshop for children and families who can bring in their photos to be shown how to make a digital story with sound and images.

Toronto Hydro Corporation

Toronto Hydro Corporation’s vintage art deco head office will be part of Doors Open Toronto for the first time for its 100th anniversary.

It will feature historical photographs and captions that tell the Toronto Hydro story and the impact that electricity has had on Toronto.

Ask a Photographer

A new initiative in 2011 involving expert photographers at strategic Doors Open Toronto venues on hand to offer their advice on architectural photography. Stay posted for more details.

Children-friendly activity highlights

“Give your children a glimpse of their expanded backyard.

Many buildings participating in Doors Open Toronto love making the event weekend a fascinating and exploratory opportunity for all kids, young and old.”

The following participants have children-friendly activities:

  • Black Creek Pioneer Village
  • East Toronto Masonic Temple
  • Enoch Turner Schoolhouse
  • Ralph Thornton Community Centre
  • Textile Museum of Canada
  • University of Toronto – Leighton McCarthy House
  • Fort York National Historic Site
  • National Film Board (NFB) Mediatheque

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto will feature photographic works from aboriginal youth from 7th Generation Image Makers.

Please click here for a complete list of venues.  Most of the participating buildings are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please check the website for individual venue details.


“Toronto was the first city in North America to launch this prestigious event dedicated to built heritage, architecture and design.

Developed as a millennium project in 2000 by the City of Toronto, Doors Open Toronto has since attracted over 1.5 million visitors to hundreds of buildings throughout the city.

In 2002, inspired by the successful Toronto program, the Ontario Heritage Foundation (now the Ontario Heritage Trust) launched Doors Open Ontario.”

The inspiration for Doors Open Toronto came from Europe. France was the first country to launch its Doors Open program in 1984, followed by Glasgow in 1990. Currently, 48 European countries participate every September during European Heritage Month. In addition, Australia and the United States have also joined the highly successful Doors Open movement.”