Doors Open Ontario Launches in Guelph this Spring 2024

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Doors Open Ontario Launches in Guelph this Spring 2024

Our Doors Open Ontario series was such a hit last season among fans of local lore and culture that we decided to share some more this year! April kicks off the start of the annual Doors Open events, and this time, we're shining the spotlight on Guelph's hidden gems. Mark your calendars this spring for April 27, 2024, from 10 am to 4 pm. That’s because Doors Open Guelph will be your ticket to exploring places usually kept under wraps. For those looking for a warm up, Guelph Museums offers a unique pre-party with Doors Open After Dark the evening before, all completely free of charge. Gather your family and friends for an experience packed with unique behind-the-scenes access you won't want to miss!

Doors Open Ontario is back, and Teachers on Call’s in-person and online tutoring service will be kicking off our coverage of educational experiences with Doors Open Guelph this spring. Guelph is a vibrant city that's a perfect blend of charming small-town feel and bustling urban life at any time of year. Nestled in the heart of Southern Ontario, just a short distance from Kitchener, Guelph is a short and pleasant drive away. The town is known for its rich history, stunning Victorian architecture, and bustling marketplaces, not to mention the University of Guelph which is celebrated for its leading programs in veterinary medicine, agriculture, and life sciences!

How to Plan for Doors Open Guelph

It can be a challenge to navigate a whole family through many historical sites, and there’s a good chance you won’t be able to visit every Doors Open location in such a short time. We recommend visitors map out their journey in advance, especially if they’re parents.

Check out the list of Doors Open spots below to pick your top must-see sites beforehand! Aiming for five sites a day is a good plan for most, but families with little ones might want to aim for a maximum of three, depending on the ages!

What is Doors Open Ontario and how does it work?

Ever wondered what's behind the scenes of Ontario's coolest heritage and cultural spots? From April to October, cities across Ontario team up with Ontario Heritage Trust to let you in on a secret – they're opening places you usually can't see or explore. 

Doors Open Ontario is all about discovering hidden historical and cultural treasures in our own backyards. And guess what? Public access to these fascinating heritage properties is totally free.

The Doors Open 2024 event kicks off in Guelph, Ontario! Initiated locally in 2002, and organized for 20 years by the Guelph Arts Council, Doors Open Guelph is now presented by the City of Guelph with support from community partners. If you’re looking for a list of all of the communities that have registered for 2024, and when, you can find it here.

Warm up at Doors Open After Dark: Friday April 26, 2024 (5pm to Midnight)

Guelph Museums is hosting Doors Open After Dark the night before, on Friday, April 26 from 5 pm to midnight (52 Norfolk Street Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8). Doors Open After Dark will include live performances, interactive experiences, and behind-the-scenes tours – completely free of charge.

“We are excited to once again open the doors to some fascinating places for thousands of visitors to explore,” says Tammy Adkin, manager of Museums and Culture at the City of Guelph. “In addition to seeing some beautiful art and architectural features and participating in hands-on demonstrations, visitors will hear stories held within the walls, delivered by our team of knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers. Whether this is your first Doors Open experience or your twentieth, there will be something new and intriguing to surprise and delight you.”

A List of In-person Sites for Doors Open Guelph: Saturday April 27, 2024 (10am – 4pm)

Guelph Little Theatre - 176 Morris Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1E 5M7

Though no longer in the original building, the Guelph Little Theatre has been a hub of local performing arts since its founding in 1935, bringing to life countless plays and performances. It's now in a former welding shop: a place where imagination takes center stage, making it a captivating experience for children and families alike. The theatre's history mirrors the evolution of community-based arts in Guelph.

Dublin Street United Church - 68 Suffolk Street W, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 2J2

Come celebrate this gothic church’s 150th anniversary! The Dublin Street United Church stands as a testament to the architectural and spiritual heritage of Guelph. Its stunning stained-glass windows, pipe organ, and soaring ceilings make it a visual feast for visitors of all ages. The church's longstanding community services and events have made it a cornerstone of Guelph's history.

Guelph City Greenhouses - 709 Woolwich Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 7G6 (Riverside Park)

The Guelph City Greenhouses offer a lush, green oasis, showcasing a variety of plant species. These greenhouses grow the gorgeous planters that decorate downtown streets and municipal buildings. Perfect for families, the greenhouses provide an educational journey through nature's diversity. It's a place where children can learn about plant life cycles and the importance of conservation.

Guelph City Hall - 1 Carden Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 3A1

The 2009-built Guelph City Hall is not just the administrative heart of the city but also a symbol of its rich history and community spirit. The building's architecture and the public square it overlooks are central to the city's civic and social events. Visitors to the courtyard can find the old town bell and centre-ice marker saved from the Memorial gardens.

Guelph Provincial Offences Courthouse - 59 Carden Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 2Z9

Part of the original City Hall, this courthouse is a key part of Guelph's legal landscape, embodying the city's commitment to justice and governance. Its significance goes beyond its function, serving as a reminder of the rule of law's role in society. Visiting families can appreciate the courthouse's architectural features and its place in Guelph's civic life.

Guelph Masonic Centre - 21 Chapel Lane, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 2N4

The Guelph Masonic Centre is a beacon of mystery and history, with its roots deeply embedded in local traditions and community service. The “new” building has been home to the local Masons since 1914. Shrouded in the mystique of the Masons, a visit here offers a fascinating glimpse into a world of symbols and ceremonies. It's a place that piques the curiosity of visitors, both young and old.

Trails Open: The Rapids Sidetrail - 45 Speedvale Avenue East, rear parking lot, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 1J2

The Rapids Sidetrail is an adventure into the natural beauty surrounding Guelph alongside the Speed River, offering scenic views and a chance to explore the great outdoors. This 1km trail is perfect for families looking to immerse themselves in nature. The path's history as a natural and community resource makes every step a discovery.

Woodlawn Memorial Park Mausoleum - 762 Woolwich Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 3Z1

Woodlawn Memorial Park, dedicated in 1930, is a serene and historic site. The classical-style limestone building, set within the grounds established in 1854, offers a peaceful retreat and a touch of history. The marble mausoleum’s 300 crypts and ornamental features stands as a monument to the community's past. For a “spooky” feature, you can also tour the crematorium in the lower levels.

Heritage Hall - 83 Essex Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 3K9

Heritage Hall, with its rich history, serves as a vivid reminder of Guelph's cultural and architectural legacy. It has hosted countless community events and gatherings, making it a cherished locale. The hall's historic significance and its role in community life make it a fascinating site for families exploring Guelph's heritage.

Ed Video, Artworks Gallery Guelph, Azure Photography, Lost Aviators Coffee - 404 York Road, Guelph, Ontario, N1E 3H4

This collective space brings together art, creativity, and history, offering a unique blend of visual and experiential storytelling. It's a place where families can dive into the local art scene, enjoy a coffee, and maybe even take home a piece of Guelph's culture! The vibrant community of artists and entrepreneurs here showcases the city's dynamic and creative spirit. The Artworks Gallery Guelph’s will feature Adam Honsinger and Rain Bone performing original music.

Guelph Research and Development Centre - 93 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 5C9

As does the University, the Guelph Research and Development Centre stands at the forefront of agricultural science and innovation. Research here focuses on food safety and food attributes. Visitors can find a peek into the cutting-edge research that helps shape our understanding of food, farming, and the environment. It's a place where curious minds, young and old, can learn about the science that impacts our world.

How to Be a Doors Open Guelph volunteer?

Our in-person and online tutors are big advocates of encouraging students to volunteer. The City of Guelph is currently looking for volunteers for positions for Tour Guides, Sweeps and Greeters. Tour Guides for walking tours of the Doors Open sites, Sweeps to follow the tours and keep groups together, and Greeters to meet the public and organize tour groups. Volunteer training and site orientation will be provided. Apply here!

Doors Open Ontario Events Announced to Date (April to October 2024)

  • Hamilton Region (May 4 – May 5, 2024)
  • Oshawa (May 4, 2024)
  • Richmond Hill (May 11, 2024)
  • Toronto (May 25 – May 26, 2024)
  • Whitchurch-Stouffville (June 1, 2024)
  • Ottawa (June 1 – June 2, 2024)
  • Markham (June 8, 2024)
  • Loyalist Township (June 15, 2024)
  • Carleton Place (September 14, 2024)
  • Kawartha Lakes (September 15, 2024)
  • Waterloo Region (September 21, 2024)
  • London (September 21– 22, 2024)
  • Brockton (September 28, 2024)
  • Lambton County (September 28, 2024)
  • Halton Hills (September 29, 2024)

Keep checking the official site for updated events and festivities for participating cities near you as they are added.


We hope you have a good time on April 27th at Doors Open Guelph! Do make sure to enjoy a visit to Riverside Park if you’re bringing along the little ones. And if you’re looking to make a weekend trip out of it (or just more to do in the area), you may also want to swing by the London Children’s Museum, which was featured last year. For anyone looking ahead to next weekend, check out our interviews featuring Doors Open Hamilton Region and Doors Open Oshawa!

*Pictures provided by City of Guelph, Culture & Recreation. 

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