Over one weekend in early June each year (June 2 and 3, 2018), the Doors Open Ottawa event provides free access to more than 140 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
- Hydro Ottawa’s new Hydroelectric facility at Chaudière Falls: incorporates local historical elements of Canada’s First Nations
- La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins (LNSGD): modern facility devoted to francophone performing arts
- Ottawa Art Gallery: access the Pink Art Storage Vaults at this new, free attraction
- TD Place at Lansdowne: behind the scenes look at the Ottawa 67’s locker room
- The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS): new state of the art facility near Rideau Falls
Use the Doors Open Ottawa free mobile app to maximize your experience (available in both English and French). Filter participating buildings by hours of operation and amenities like family-friendly or disabled access. You can also save your favourite sites and use the interactive map to find the buildings nearest you. The Doors Open website also has much of this information including the interactive map.
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 a complete list of participating locations and an interactive map, visit the City of Ottawa’s website.
For other budget-friendly ways to experience Ottawa in the warmer months, check out our Free or Nearly Free Ottawa in Summer and Fall page!