Back to articles Top Family Friendly Fun at Doors Open Toronto this May 24-25

Categories: Family Fun

The 15th annual Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf is a city-wide celebration offering free, rare access to more than 155 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across Toronto.

Waterfront BIA Gangways Open on Toronto's Waterfront

Families to the Queens Quay West/ Waterfront area will have a chance to walk the gangway in search of the nooks and crannies of the port, bow, starboard and stern. They will learn the history of each ship, meet the Captain and come face-to-face with the mystery on board. Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the William Lyon Mackenzie Fire Boat at the Toronto Fire and Marine Station 334 and see the fire hoses in action or, have your picture taken with the roaming pirates who will enchant you with an old sea shanty. You may even walk away with your very own piece of treasure.

Dominion Wheel & Foundries Co. Ltd. (Pan Am Athletes' Village)

With streets not yet open to the public, visitors will have an exclusive opportunity to walk the Canary District, the newest and most exciting community in the emerging West Don Lands. This new LEED Gold community will first be home to the 10,000 athletes and officials of the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. The three-part tour includes a stop at the Dominion Wheel & Foundries building where visitors will learn about the history of the Foundry, the revitalization of the West Don Lands, sport in Ontario, and the 2015 Games. Get into the Games spirit! Take a photo with mascot PACHI (Saturday 3-4 pm, Sunday 12:30-1:30 pm) and try out a few of the sports you'll see in 2015.

Toronto City Hall

Toronto City Hall will be abuzz with activity from 10 am to 5 pm during the Doors Open Toronto weekend. Visitors to the building will experience exhibits and rare access to key locations including the Mayor's office, the 27th floor observation deck, council chambers and the new Nathan Phillips Square stage, and a scavenger hunt for kids. A full list of programming is available at

Fort York National Historic Site

Visitors can experience special military architecture tours, tours of the barracks and Officers' quarters, and a wider range of exhibits telling the story of Fort York's and Canada's military past. Find out about Fort York's ghostly tales and take part in cooking demonstrations by the Volunteer Historic Cooks, who will bring to life the 1826 historic kitchen. Visitors can tour the grounds of this 43-acre site, which includes two military cemeteries, shop for fun and unique souvenirs in the Museum Store, and enjoy the various exhibits relating to Fort York and its exciting history.

Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art

Visitors to the Gardiner Museum will have the opportunity to take a tour with one of the building's docents, participate in Family Days on Sunday, drop-in to clay class, or simply enjoy the stunning modernist architecture and beautiful collection. Visits also offer the opportunity to enjoy brunch at the Gardiner Restaurant in the stunning Torraco Room. Live Raku pottery firing will take place on the plaza in front of the Museum, weather permitting.

John Street Roundhouse- Toronto Historical Railway Society

Visitors to the site can experience the Railway village, Cabin D (1896 interlocking tower), Don Station (1896 CPR station), steam locomotive CNR 6213, stalls 15, 16, 17, real locomotive simulator, miniature train in the park and the exhibit of railway artifacts.

Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

A testament to the vision and collaboration of SickKids and Diamond Schmitt Architects, it is a unique, innovation solution that encourages interaction and discovery among scientists. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a health science researcher. Participate in science activities that will give visitors a head to toe understanding of how our bodies work. Fun and learning for kids of all ages.

Historic Zion Schoolhouse

The Historic Zion Schoolhouse is generally only available for pre-booked group programs. Doors Open provides unique public access enabling visitors to discover what a school day was like for children in the past as they explore the beautifully restored schoolhouse. Visitors can also write on a slate while sitting in a 1910 school desk, try some "Edwardian Arithmetic" or create a paper craft to take home. Guided access to the school basement's secret space will also be offered.

Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement

Enter though big glass doors and prepare for a treat in the arts. Tour the lobby/gallery, view the artwork of local artists. Visit three studios and observe classes in progress. In studio B there is an opportunity to "join the dance" (open class for adults and children). Studios C & D allow visitors to observe rehearsals in progress for the school's annual Let's Dance Festival. The tour continues to the Scotiabank Studio Theatre to enjoy a short performance by YMI Dancing, the school's pre-professional youth company.

School Grown Rooftop Garden at Eastdale Collegiate Institute

Relive high school days with the familiar sites of long hallways, lockers and fluorescent lights as visitors make their way up to the fourth floor of Eastdale Collegiate Institute. That is where the familiar ends and the magic starts as the doors open onto the School Grown Rooftop, Toronto's largest secret rooftop garden and cafe. High above the noise and bustle of Gerrard St. East, walk through the rows of School Grown beans, basil and spicy greens, size up the fifty foot long wall of peppers, handle a shiitake mushroom growing log, or kick back in the breezy cafe with some refreshments. Meet the designers of this one-of-a-kind site and the farmers and educators who bring the rooftop to life. Children can partake in exciting farm and food activities. A lineup of top chefs, working with Slow Food Toronto, cook up dishes from the bounty of the rooftop garden.

Doors Open