Get your own key to the 6ix, as the City of Toronto gears up to open the doors of over 130 buildings of historical and cultural importance to the general public. On Saturday May 28 and Sunday May 29, 2016, Toronto will celebrate its 17th annual Doors Open Toronto
. This year’s theme is Re-used, Re-visited and Revised, celebrating the repurposing of Toronto’s architectural gems throughout history. With an ever-changing skyline as a growing city, this annual event gives visitors and locals alike a glimpse into Toronto’s past, present and future.
Aga Khan Museum
Aga Khan Museum
The contemporary design of the Aga Khan Museum by Fumihiko Maki has had architect enthusiasts flocking to its sleek white exterior since its doors opened in September 2014. Visitors can explore the museum’s auditorium, courtyard and permanent collection of Islamic art, before wandering around the five large reflecting pools in a field of soft gravel, surrounded by blooming serviceberry trees in Aga Khan Park.
Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr, Toronto, Canada, +1 416 646 4677
Commerce Court North – Banking Hall
The immense Commerce Court North – Banking Hall, modeled after Baths of Caracalla in Rome, brings visitors back year after year to stare in awe at the 65-foot ceilings adorned in 715 ounces of gold leaf. The classic Art-Deco masterpiece is full of rich history and no detail goes unnoticed or unexplained – did you know the blue in the ceiling was actually inspired by the faded blue shirt of a worker? Now you do.
Commerce Court, 25 King St W, Toronto, Canada
The Masonic Temple
Led Zeppelin, The Ramones, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra are just a few of the notable talents that once graced the stage of The Masonic Temple. Walk the same halls as these legendary performers, while exploring the main auditorium, posters, records and music memorabilia of one of Toronto’s heritage properties.
The Masonic Temple, 888 Yonge St, Toronto, Canada, + 1 844 618 3192
Nearing 200 years old, this piece of Revival architecture is home to the Law Society of Upper Canada, and is one of Toronto’s oldest buildings. Osgoode Hall’s. The interior details are exquisite and complement the majestic exterior. Walk through rows of literature and winding stairwells in the Law Society library and channel your inner lawyer.
Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, Canada, +1 416 947 3300
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Built in the late 1940s, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is the largest repository of publicly accessible rare books and manuscripts in Canada. The library holds around 700,000 volumes and 3,000 linear metres of manuscript on six levels of floor-to-ceiling shelves – you won’t know where to turn first.
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, 120 St George St, Toronto, Canada, +1 416 978 5285
Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres
The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre is home to the last surviving Edwardian stacked theatre in the world, and still has the original hand-operated elevators in service. The Elgin was restored through photo records and meticulous research to replicate everything but the chandelier that went missing in 1935. The Winter Garden Theatre is a mythical garden oasis, with hand-painted flowers and vines hanging from the ceilings, brought back to life after being closed to the public for nearly 50 years.
Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, 189 Yonge St, Toronto, Canada, +1 416 314 2901
Spadina Museum – Historic House and Gardens
The Spadina Museum is a 55-room mansion that was built in the 1800s, and restored in 2010. The mansion transports its visitors back to the domestic life of the 1920s and 1930s, a time where the Charleston ruled all and tabloid journalism dictated what was newsworthy. Wander the six acres of Victorian-Edwardian inspired gardens, and make summer plans to return during the annual Great Gatsby Garden Party.
Spadina Museum, 285 Spadina Rd, Toronto, Canada, +1 416 392 6910
Artscape Wychwood Barns
Once upon a time the Wychwood Barns were a streetcar maintenance facility, but are now celebrated as a community cultural hub. The building acts as a living and working space for over 26 artists, and also provides areas for urban agriculture. You can walk among the artists hard at work in this open concept space with natural lighting and exposed brick.
Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St, Toronto, Canada, +1 416 392 1038
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
The strikingly beautiful structure of the domed Longhouse is made of bent cedar that was inspired by a canoe trip along the French River. Go inside to feel the warmth of the natural materials that have brought this piece of architecture to life. Take a walk up to the rooftop to connect with the sacred garden, which also includes a sweat lodge.
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, 30 College St, Toronto, Canada, +1 416 969 8510
MODERNest House 4
New to Doors Open this year, take a look into the future of Toronto’s housing market with a peek inside the latest from the emerging development company MODERNest. The home’s modern and contemporary design sticks out among the classic neighbourhood homes that surround it. Utilizing both natural materials and simple aesthetic, you will be inspired to give your own home a refresh.
MODERNest House 4, 287 Brunswick Ave, Toronto, Canada, +1 416 466 4709