by Vanessa Burguete
For those who aren't familiar with Doors Open Ottawa, it's a free unique annual event that provides access to the city's most architecturally, historically and functionally interesting buildings, many of which are not normally open to the public.
In 2002 Doors Open Ottawa was born and since then, it has attracted over 60,000 attendees each year.
"I read an article in the Toronto Star twelve years ago about their first Doors Open event and decided we should try that here in Ottawa," says Linda Russell, volunteer co-chair of the Doors Open Advisory Council.
"The mayor agreed, and we've had Doors Open Ottawa ever since. We were so excited on that first day 11 years ago. I raced from building to building to make sure everything was working well," says Russell.
Her excitement is re-ignited every year on the first weekend in June when urban and rural spaces from Carp to Cumberland and everywhere in between open their doors for this event. Embassies, places of worship, museums, architectural firms, green buildings, artist's studios, and science labs are open for discovery.
There are several new buildings that will be participating in this year's event, including the Official Residence of the South African High Commission and the Official Residence of the Ambassador of Sweden.
"It's the simplicity of the event that's part of its appeal - buildings from across the city open their doors, show off their stuff for one weekend every year, and it's free. Simple, but powerful," says Russell.
While Russell was visiting the Supreme Court last year, one visitor commented: "it's like my textbooks are coming alive."
Don't miss out on your chance to discover your local heritage, architecture, and design on Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3 during the 11th edition of Doors Open Ottawa.
For more information about Doors Open Ottawa, contact the event manager at: 613-580-9674. New building announcements are posted on Twitter @doorsopenottawa and Facebook, or visit the website at www.ottawa.ca/doorsopen .