12 Buildings You Can’t Miss at Doors Open Ottawa

Doors Open Ottawa is returning for another exciting year of exploration and curiosity. Ever wonder what it’s like behind the closed doors of some of the most historic and integral buildings to the city? Now you can find out.

On June 2nd and 3rd you have the opportunity to explore the culture and history of Ottawa through all of its’ beautiful and unfamiliar architecture. And the best part is, it’s completely free. This year, over 140 building throughout the capital will be participating in the event, including 18 new buildings that weren’t apart of last years Doors Open weekend.

Among the multiple embassies, art studios, science labs, places of worship and museums welcoming anyone and everyone to explore, including a long list of kid-friendly buildings, this is an event you cannot miss. No need to worry about having enough time to check every building off your list, OC Transpo will be supplying a shuttle bus within walking distance of over 50 locations, helping you get from place to place with ease. You can find all of the shuttle bus stop locations here.

With all of the intriguing options, deciding where to go first is a difficult decision to make.


Rideau Hall

Location: 1 Sussex Drive

Since 1867, Rideau Hall has been the residence and workplace of every Governor General. Built upon 79 lush acres, this building gives you the opportunity to visit the staterooms and discover the history and role of the Governor General.



Location: 150 Elgin Street

The leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform is opening its’ doors to the curious only for this special weekend. The Elgin Street locations houses Shopify’s Headquarters and largest office in the world. Unfortunately, due to popular demand, pre-registration is required for this building.



Beckta Dining & Wine Bar

Location: 150 Elgin Street

A fine dining restaurant located in the heart of the city occupying the historic Grant House. This building was originally built in 1875 for Sir James Grant, who was a member of parliament and a prominent physician in the city of Ottawa.


Library and Archives Canada

Location: 395 Wellington Street

The collections held at the Library and Archives of Canada are integral to the heritage of the entire country. Over the past 140 years, the collection has grown to house more than 20 million books, 30 million photographic images, 3 million architectural drawings and more than 90,000 films, just to name a few of its’ impressive components.


Connaught Building

Location: 550 Sussex Drive

First opened in 1915, this building earned its’ name in honour of the Duke of Connaught, who was the third son to Queen Victoria and the Governor General of Canada 1911 to 1916. The reckoned ‘Crown Jewel’ of the Canadian Revenue Agency is opening its’ doors to the public to view the Mackenzie lobby area and eighth floor executive board room.



Bank of Canada

Location: 234 Wellington Street

Combining classic and modern architecture, the Bank of Canada head office is open for the public to explore its’ beautiful 1930s art deco marble lobby and garden atrium designed by Arthur Erickson, a prominent name in Canadian architecture.


Supreme Court of Canada

Location: 301 Wellington Street

Come explore the breathtaking grand entrance and courtroom designed by architect Ernest Cormier. First created in 1875, the Supreme Court of Canada stands as the final court of appeal in the Canadian Judicial System.


Ottawa Art Gallery

Location: 50 Mackenzie King Bridge

New to the list this year, the OAG is opening its’ doors to let the public explore its’ 55,000 square foot gallery spanning over five different floors.


Thomson Hall/ Keg Manor

Location: 529 Richmond Road

This Georgian style estate was built by William Thompson in the 1830s, but has been occupied by the Keg Manor since 1999.


Wallis House

Location: 589 Rideau Street

This heritage building was built in 1873 as the Carleton County Protestant General Hospital. 51 years later, the hospital closed down, leaving the building abandoned until 1994 when it was purchased and restored as an upscale condominium complex.

Canada Council Art Bank

Location: 921 St Laurent Boulevard 

Housing the largest collection of Canadian art worldwide, the Canadian Council Art Bank currently holds over 17,000 contemporary artworks of all forms– ranging from paintings, to sculptures, all the way to fibre works.

Fairfields Heritage House

Location: 3080 Richmond Road

This 19th century gothic farmhouse is opening its’ doors for the public to come and explore the space that housed five centuries of the Bell family. Tour the museum and later check out the beautiful grounds that are filled with vibrant gardens and statuesque trees.



By Julia Solimine



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