Thoughts on “Doors Open” Toronto and supporting “Heritage Toronto”

This year I visited a dozen of the sites that were featured on “Doors Open.” The volunteers and staff that welcomed visitors, provided guided tours, and gave information were friendly and knowledgeable. They created an atmosphere in which you felt that they were truly grateful for your visit. The weather cooperated and the two days I spent touring the sites were meaningful and extremely enjoyable. 


Banking Hall at #I King Street West (old Dominion Bank Building), now a restaurant


Grand staircase in the Elgin Theatre that gives access to the Winter Garden Theatre

Some sites I enjoyed more than others, but all of them were worthwhile. The Old City Hall was a disappointment. I can understand not allowing photographs when people are attending the courts, but the courts were closed. Surely for Doors Open they could have made an exception. In addition, very little of the building was open to the public. Sad!

On the other hand, I really enjoyed my visit to the New City Hall. Pictures were allowed even in the Mayor’s Office. The view from the observation deck on the 15th floor was amazing, and great for photographing.

The tour of the Princess of Wales Theatre was also disappointing. The staff were friendly, but no photographs were allowed in the auditorium.  Having one of the horse-puppets on stage to allow a close-up view would have been interesting. However, they were backstage out of view. This is a pity, as the opportunity for free publicity for the show was lost.

Another site I found disappointing was the picture collection in the Queens Quay Terminal. It was hung from the ceiling, so people could not view the pictures close-up. The Bay Store at Queen and Yonge only allowed exterior tours of the building. This was also a missed chance for the store to gain publicity.

The sites I enjoyed the most were the Design Exchange (the old Stock Exchange), The Winter Winter Garden Theatre, the Canada Life Building, and the Hotel Victoria on Yonge Street. All of these locations were friendly and informative. They also gave full access to their sites (within reason).

If you enjoyed the Doors Open weekend, you might consider supporting Heritage Toronto. It is an excellent organization that “interprets and advocates for our cultural, architectural, archaeological, and natural heritage.” They perform a vital role in all these pursuits, and also research and arrange for the historic plaques to be erected throughout the city. They also sponsor many events, including the Toronto Heritage Awards, which encourage authors who publish books about Toronto’s history. Their walking tours are exceptional.

The Heritage Toronto’s web page is :

I have spent much of my adult life researching and photographing Toronto. I love the city and enjoy exploring it through my writing. If interested in novels with a Toronto setting, descriptions of the books are available by following the link:

They can be purchased in soft cover or electronic editions. All books are available at Chapters/Indigo and on The electronic editions are less that $4, available on either Kindle or Kobo. Follow the links:

There Never Was a Better Time:

Arse Over Teakettle:

The Reluctant Virgin;

The Villages Within:

Author’s Home Page:

Authors can be contacted at: [email protected]

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