Over one weekend in early June each year (June 1 and 2, 2019), the Doors Open Ottawa event provides free access to more than 130 culturally and historically significant buildings in the Ottawa region. It’s the second-largest event of its kind in Canada and one of the largest in the world!
HIGHLIGHTS OF OTTAWA’S HERITAGE
Explore embassies, breweries, museums, Canadian heritage sites and more – some of which are not normally open to the public or usually charge admission. Doors Open is the perfect opportunity to visit some of Ottawa’s most interesting sites for free! Here are just a few highlights of the 2018 event:
- Bank of Canada: head office (including garden atrium and art deco lobby) and Museum (always free)
- Beckta Dining & Wine Bar: housed in a beautiful heritage building
- Billings Estate Artefact Collection Storage: artefacts that are not on display at the Estate
- Flora Hall Brewing: 1920s electrical garage turned craft brewery
- HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel: 1860s Carleton County Gaol turned hostel
- Ottawa Art Gallery: access the Pink Art Storage Vaults at this new, free attraction
The Doors Open website allows you to filter participating buildings by categories and amenities like family-friendly or disabled access.
Many participating sites are located within walking distance of downtown hotels, and many are located near each other all over the city. To cover more distance, take advantage of the free shuttle bus which strategically stops near 50 participating buildings. A shuttle bus map and schedule are available on the Doors Open webpage.
Alternatively, hop on your bike or rent one to travel between the locations you want to visit. Local cycling companies like RentABike and Escape Bicycle Tours & Rentals offer bikes for rent by the hour, the day and even by the week. And the bike comes with everything you need; a helmet and a bike lock.
For other budget-friendly ways to experience Ottawa in the warmer months, check out our Free or nearly free Ottawa page!