First launched in France, 1984, Doors Open Days fulfill a very specific niche. They allow us to indulge in the intrinsic voyeurism of roaming spaces that are, for the most part, off-limits, while celebrating architecture and cultural heritage.
Toronto, the first North American city to adopt Doors Open, is celebrating its 17th year of the annual event this month. Over the course of two days, 130 locations (40 of them newly added to the event’s roster) around Toronto will be open to the public for free, from the Aga Khan Museum to the underwater tunnels of Billy Bishop Airport, to Fool’s Paradise, the former studio and home of Canadian artist Doris McCarthy. “It is important for the city of Toronto to develop dynamic and innovative events and festivals to celebrate the richness and diversity of this incredible city,” says Kristine Germann, Programming Manager of City Cultural Events. “I’m proud to say that Doors Open Toronto has attracted more than two million visits in nearly 700 unique locations across the city, and has been recognized nationally for its innovation and achievements.” This year, the theme of “Re-used, Re-Visited, and Revised” will inform keynote speaker, designer, and Toronto native Karim Rashid’s address. Rashid plans to approach the paradox of modernity’s obsession with vintage aesthetics (tweed-clad, mustachioed hipsters, beware).
To peel back a layer of the city and see how its myriad components, architecture, and attitudes comprise its whole is a rare opportunity to be relished—after 48 hours, the doors on the city’s secret spaces will close for another year.
Doors Open Toronto will be held on Saturday, May 28, 2016. Some spaces will also participate on Sunday, May 29: view their website for details.