doors open toronto

The top 10 buildings to see at Doors Open Toronto 2019

Doors Open Toronto 2019 descends upon the city this weekend, meaning urban explorers will get to access some of Toronto's most interesting structures. 

There are a lot of to choose from. Now in its 20th edition, hence this year's theme of "20 Something," Doors Open is offering visitors the chance to see inside more than 150 architectural beauties around town.

With so many buildings and so little time, you'll have to choose wisely. (Hint: go for the new additions to the DOT roster). 

Here are my picks for the top buildings to see at Doors Open Toronto 2019. 

Artscape Weston Common

Just opened in the Weston-Mount Dennis area is Artscape's new and shiny hub at the bottom of a high-rise apartment building. Be some of the first to tour their exhibition space. They're open all weekend, so head there on May 25 to check out performances for the sixth annual Cultural Hotspot

Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility 

Crosstown construction has taken over Eglinton, so why not see where much of the magic happens at this city-owned building? For the first time ever, you'll be able to explore the EMSF, which boasts LEED Silver certification with EV charging stations, green roofs, and of course, a budding fleet of LRVs. 

Paradise Theatre

After months and months of anticipation, Toronto's beloved Bloor Street theatre is getting ready to open later this year, with its new sign to boot. Tours are pretty much full at this point, but you can add your name to the waitlist to preview the revamped heritage building from 1937.

Hariri Pontarini Architects

Architecture firms are as crucial a part of Doors Open as the buildings they design, so a trip to Toronto's most established practices seems apropos. While not new to the DOT roster, the firm did just move into their new studio in the Leslieville Wrigley Building, built in 1919. 

Toronto Humane Society

You can pretend that you're visiting the THS to check out the post-modern design of this River Street building—but let's face it, you're here for the animals. You'll get a behind-the-scenes tour of the shelter, and a get a chance to read to the animals too. 

First Nations House at the University of Toronto

One of eight U of T buildings opening up to the public this year, FNH sits in the historic ivy-covered North Borden Building on Spadina Ave. It's home to a library of over 4,000 books on Indigenous knowledge, and you'll get a chance to learn about the history of Turtle Island and its colonization.

Brook McIlroy

You might recognize the arched hallways of this Episcopal church-turned-architecture firm from Drake's Started From The Bottom music video. Seems like this Victorian building has had a pretty fascinating life since it was built in 1890.

Casey House

Making its DOT debut is this 58,000 square-foot hospital dedicated to HIV treatment: a mix of new glassy spaces and historic stone and brick designs that go all the way back to 1875. You'll be able to do a full tour of the first and second floors of both builds.

Junction Craft Brewing's "Destructor Building"

The massive incinerator chimneys might be gone, but Junction Craft Brewing still has signs of the hulking industrial building it once was. Go on a brewery tour of the old Art Deco building while trying craft beers or coffee, thanks to a Balzac's pop-up. 

Knox United Church

Explore the grounds of this Georgian building in Scarborough, with its stained-glass windows, guided tours of the sanctuary and cemetery, and epic Casavant pipe organ. There'll be musical performances on both days in the afternoons, and church service Sunday morning.

Photo Challenge

Submit your photos of this year's Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf and you could win one of three gift certificates for Henry's Canada. Just tag your photos of Doors Open Toronto with #blogTODOT19 on Instagram to enter the challenge. The deadline to submit is May 26 at 11:59 pm.

We will select our 10 favourite photos from those submitted, and then the public will have a chance to vote for their favourite between May 27 and June 2, 2019. The winners will be announced on June 3, 2019.

Note: All photos must be of a Doors Open Toronto 2019 building and taken between May 25 and 26, 2019

doors open Toronto

blogTO is proud to be a partner of Doors Open Toronto 2019.

Lead photo by

Daniels Faculty


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