Saturday, May 19, 2012

Discover Ottawa - Doors Open Ottawa June 2 & 3rd 2012

Since moving to Ottawa in 2006, I've always been interested in any activities or events that involved getting to know the city better. That's when I discovered "Doors Open Ottawa" an annual event put on by the City of Ottawa for the past 10 years.

Doors Open is a weekend in June where hundreds of historical buildings open their doors to the public for a "behind the scenes" view. For those on a budget its a great outing - because it's free!!

I've always had an interest in how things work so for me this was a great weekend activity to discover Ottawa's heritage/architecture.

Unfortunately I will not be able to make it this year as I'll be moving into our new house, however, if you are having trouble chosing which buildings to visit, here are some of the highlights of past Doors Open Buildings for me:
  • Britannia Water Treatment Plant
I thought it was interesting to learn how the water is purified - they even took us into the area where the water is stored in big tanks.
  • Canada Science and Tech Museum
This is not a tour of the actual museum - they take you back into the storage facilities where you can see thousands of historical items - even an iron lung!
  • The Ottawa Citizen
This was one of my favorites - they show you each step of how a newspaper is made - from the computer screen to the printed bundles.
  • Ottawa Mosque
Here they gave us a guided tour of the mosque and explained to us their method of worship. I found it facinating to learn about another religion and culture as for me I grew up in a small town where I was never exposed to the multiculturalism that we see in Ottawa.
  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada Engineering Laboratory
This was by far my favorite of any of the buildings. This is where investigate marine, railway, pipeline and aviation accidents. They showed us how they piece together each accident andd some of the steps involved, such as looking at the nuts and bolts from a train collision under a miscroscope, listening to a recording on an airplanes black box and my favorite - the digital reconstruction of a train collision.

As you can see I'm a big fan of the educational side to doors open. There are also many great buildings to see if you are interested in history and architecture. Many of the embassies in Ottawa open their doors to the public to have a peek inside.

 If you do decide to take part, here are some tips I've learned over the past few years:
  • Some buildings are only open on either the Saturday or Sunday - make sure to check before going
  • Guided tours are available at some locations and only allow for certain number at a time so make sure to give yourself enough time in case you have to wait
  • Some buildings do not allow photography - make sure to check the description before bringing your camera
  • The locations are spaced out all around the capital region - some even as far as Carp and Manotick so plan for travel time to maximise how many buildings that you see
  • If you are visiting places of worship - be respectful of their culture - you may be required to remove your footwear or cover your hair.
So if you are looking for a fun, educational and did I mention FREE activity, I would strongly recommend that you take part in Doors Open Ottawa!

Doors Open Ottawa Website:

Direct Link to 2012 Buildings:

A Handy Map of the Buildings c/o Open File Ottawa

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