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Vote for your favourite photo of Doors Open Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / May 26, 2014

Doors Open Toronto 2014Doors Open Toronto typically produces great photos, but this year's crop is superlative. Toronto often gets knocked for not being a beautiful city, but these photos tell a different story, one in which the city is an architectural marvel. Alas, many of these subjects are difficult to access year-round, but it's intriguing to know what lies just beyond plain sight -- and, hey, the photos capture everything for posterity.

Here our are top 10 picks for Doors Open photos this year. Be sure to vote for your favourite. The deadline for voting is end of day June 1st.

Lead photo by John Yu.
Doors Open Toronto 2014Photo by Jack Lai

Doors Open Toronto 2014Matt Thompson

Doors Open Toronto 2014Photo by avexus

Doors Open Toronto 2014Photo by Dan Perl

Doors Open Toronto 2014Photo by Vik Pahwa

Doors Open Toronto 2014Photo by Clare C

Doors Open Toronto 2014Photo by iuliana strambeanu

Doors Open Toronto 2014Photo by shutterjitter

Doors Open Toronto 2014Photo by Susan Drysdale


Thanks to everyone who voted and participated. The winners have now been contacted and the top three vote getters are as follows:

1. Avexus (Toronto Archives)
2. John Yu (Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute)
3. Jack Lai (Russell Carhouse)

doors open toronto contestThe winning photo will be announced on June 2nd, 2014. Prizes include:

  • 1st place: $500 gift certificate to Henry's Canada.
  • 2nd place: $100 gift certificate to Henry's Canada.
  • 3rd place: $50 gift certificate to Henry's Canada.

See all the submitted photos in the blogTO Flickr pool.



bob / May 26, 2014 at 03:25 pm
A few of those photos in your "Top 10" are pretty lackluster. There were betters options in the pool.
Al / May 26, 2014 at 04:07 pm
Ya, I agree with Bob.
Nishe / May 26, 2014 at 05:37 pm
I agree! These pictures don't reflect the amazing pool of photos taken!
Daniel / May 26, 2014 at 05:39 pm
I think Bob's refering to the Fort York Amoury photo. That's pretty depressing.
Tyler replying to a comment from Marc / May 26, 2014 at 10:10 pm
Hey Marc!

Thanks for the love, yea I'm a bit let down by the caliber of the photos selected from the pool, especially seeing as there were some excellent shots to work with. Seems the selection process was rushed through pretty quick with little consultation by the looks of it. What can you do, onto the next year and best of luck to those selected!
Glenn / May 26, 2014 at 10:56 pm
Option for "none of the above" should be added.
Alex / May 26, 2014 at 11:45 pm
Next time, give people a little more time to go through their photos. Less than 7 hours was given on the last day to put them up. No wonder it's such a lackluster crop of photos.
Nanov / May 26, 2014 at 11:56 pm
You critics have a point but you're looking at it from the wrong angle. This contest has a clear theme and the pictures have to serve the theme. They have to serve the buildings and not serve themselves as works of art. Marc's photo picks may be better overall but some of them are quite abstract and most of them don't properly represent the buildings. Colour also beats b&w for journalistic purposes. blogto probably wouldn't pick 2 photos of the same building. They may have wanted to emphasize secular buildings because they didn't choose even one photo of a church. And who knows what other editorial criteria they may have had. Not that I fully agree with their choices either but I realize that a lot is subjective and that there are many criteria that blogto had to follow or simply chose to follow. And you guys should stop thinking that you are better judges.
Marc / May 27, 2014 at 12:10 am
@Nanov - If there were specific criteria everyone had to follow, BlogTO probably would have posted those. I'm not saying these are bad photos, but I just think there were some really amazing ones that were left off.
Peter / May 27, 2014 at 07:11 am
BlogTO is in a need of a good photo editor. Then it would make sens to restart the photo of the week series.
Nanov replying to a comment from Marc / May 27, 2014 at 07:55 am
Why would blogTO have posted any criteria? They want to get as many submissions as possible. It's a very small contest as it is, why put more restrictions? But what they choose for the top 10 still needs to follow their purpose. They are after all a blog about Toronto, not about photography.
yawn / May 27, 2014 at 09:27 am
sigh. like, really?
Swift / May 27, 2014 at 10:44 am
I agree with Nanov. The list may not have the most aesthetically pleasing photos (there really were quite a few good ones from the flickr pool) but for the purposes of showcasing some of Toronto's unique building architectures and features without having it be too much of an abstract picture, these photos do just fine imo.
Marc replying to a comment from Nanov / May 27, 2014 at 12:49 pm
Posting the criteria would have made sure the photographers aren't wasting their time entering a photo that would be disqualified. If, for example, the criteria says that the photo has to be in colour, any black and white photos people entered would be disqualified without the photographers even knowing. It wasn't really a small contest anyways, it was just that people were only allowed to enter their photos within 7 hours after Doors Open ended. That's not a huge amount of time to upload, edit and decide which ones you want to enter.
qwerty / May 27, 2014 at 01:47 pm
Don't forget the classic blogTO criteria: Horizontal Landscape photos only!!!!
Al replying to a comment from Swift / May 27, 2014 at 02:43 pm
@Swift - Half of these don't "showcase" the building's architecture either. I doubt that was part of the criteria.
TimFr / May 27, 2014 at 08:06 pm
The paper streetcar on a track could have been taken almost anywhere in the city. I do agree with the limited time thing and even with the rules in place, I'm pretty sure that some of these were posted after the midnight deadline. They also should have limited the number of entries a person could have entered.
CBS / May 27, 2014 at 09:39 pm
I agree with most of the comments above and would just add that the “guidelines” posted were: “Note: all photos must be of a 2014 Doors Open Toronto 2014 venue”. Synonyms for “venue” include: a site, place, location, scene, setting, spot. This does not appear to necessarily imply a “building” or “architecture”, especially since Doors Open venues included such places that combined open areas as well as buildings (e.g. Black Creek Pioneer Village, Campbell House, Applewood, Columbus Centre etc.). So it would probably help to reduce frustration if future contests provided more exact guidelines and perhaps even two groups of prizes, one for professional photographers and one for amateurs. As mentioned by others, it would also be preferable to have more submission time available. To sum up, the job was to mount a contest. As the old saying goes, “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well”.
Swift replying to a comment from CBS / May 27, 2014 at 11:31 pm
Well said! I hope the organizers will see this and take your feedback into consideration for next year's event.
PL2 / May 28, 2014 at 11:14 am
@TimFr - I don't agree with you on this one because that paper street car pic is not about where you take it. It is about the idea and creativity of the photographer. Many of the places of doors open you can visit and take pics anytime and besides other important components of a good photo, idea and creativity is also essential.
toomuchcoffeeman / May 28, 2014 at 02:30 pm
Too everybody runs home after Doors Open and processes their photos immediately - There should have been at least a day or two after doors open ended for people to submit. I think you'd get a stronger set of photos that way. That shot of the Armory? Good luck telling me one thing that it is interesting about it.

Also the picture of the streetcar on the tracks - Jack took a much stronger photo right before it, but it didn't make the cut here because it wasn't shot in landscape.
TimFr replying to a comment from PL2 / May 28, 2014 at 07:31 pm
@PL2 Don't get me wrong, I like the pic. My original post was in response to the previous commenters who indicated that people should have known that pictures would be chosen because they demonstrated some feature of the building. If that were the case, that pic would never have been chosen. So in a way, you've made my point for me.
SSB / May 29, 2014 at 03:54 pm
The deadline date is TOTALLY UNFAIR. I went to Doors Open on Sunday. By the time I got home I was very tired. I shoot in RAW, so it takes me at least two days to process my images. I would have loved to have entered the contest.
Laurin / May 29, 2014 at 06:49 pm
I agree with many others, I am not feeling any of those. I am sure there are many more than are much better.
Info / June 1, 2014 at 06:44 pm
does balsamic vinegar spoil
TorontoRocks / June 1, 2014 at 11:40 pm
Firstly I have to agree that of the pool there were better photos showing architecture IMHO (although I too found the instructions a bit confusing). As for the short time to submit I think the whole point is to shoot your best while you're there and to not spend a tonne of time editing (I have to admit I'm an amateur photog). I shoot with little intention of editing. I get it right while shooting...or if not, I go back and re-shoot it.
As for choices I think some of Marc's are spot on and great photos.
Ian / June 2, 2014 at 06:19 pm
So where do we find out who the winners are?
JC / June 3, 2014 at 01:24 pm
Yeah I was wondering the same. It's mentioned in this post that results will be posted on June 2, but I don't see any posts about it in the blog.. Anyone knows where to check which of the photos won?
Nanov replying to a comment from JC / June 3, 2014 at 02:36 pm
Expecting the results by June 2nd is TOTALLY UNFAIR. Derek was very tired by the time he got home and it takes him at least two days to process the poll results.
JC replying to a comment from Nanov / June 3, 2014 at 03:14 pm
uhmmm...gee I'm sorry if that caused any misunderstanding. If you'd actually read what I commented, you might realize that I wasn't demanding for the results, I was just asking if anyone knew where to check for them since it wasn't specified and I wasn't sure if I missed it. Pardon me for not knowing how much effort it takes for results from this poll to be compiled, or Derek's schedule for that matter. Like I said, I was only wondering if we're supposed to check for the updates on this blog or some other website.
Sa / June 3, 2014 at 04:17 pm
@JC I think Nanov was just being sarcastic. Most people here complained about not having enough time to process the photos to make it to the deadline. Well...Nanov, if I misunderstood your comment please forgive me. I also want to find out what the result is. SO Derek, please post the results!
Nanov replying to a comment from Sa / June 3, 2014 at 05:10 pm
Correct, Sa. I was especially imitating a specific comment from SSB.
JC replying to a comment from Nanov / June 3, 2014 at 05:20 pm
Welp. It's difficult to read sarcasm. But yes, Derek, we're all looking forward to the results! :1
Nanov / June 4, 2014 at 01:35 pm
You ungrateful SOBs have pissed off Derek with your criticism and now he's not going to give out the prizes anymore.

Sa / June 4, 2014 at 02:25 pm


Nanov / June 5, 2014 at 11:14 am
Whaddya know? The results are in! You still think the public is a better judge? Discuss.
sa / June 5, 2014 at 11:17 am
oh yea, the result is posted! Well...I am surprised at the first place only. I like both the second place and third place's pics myself. But the winner...hmmm....not too sure about that
JC / June 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm
uhmm yeah.. I'm not so sure about both 1st and 3rd place. But what can I say, the public has spoken.
Still lurking / June 9, 2015 at 12:51 am
Here's a nice better collection of Doors Open shots from the last 5 years:
Other Cities: Montreal