Experience “Music in our Nation’s Capital” at Doors Open Ottawa

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Experience “Music in our Nation’s Capital” at Doors Open Ottawa

Attention music enthusiasts, you will not want to miss Doors Open Ottawa this June. While every Doors Open event is special, no two celebrations are alike. This especially holds true for Canada’s capital city with “Music in our Nation’s Capital” as this year’s theme. Teachers on Call’s online and in-person tutoring service recommends you hold the dates for Saturday June 1 and Sunday June 2, 2024 from 10 am to 4 pm. That’s because Doors Open Ottawa will be your ticket to experiencing live performances, music history lessons and more at known Ottawa landmarks (absolutely free!). This includes the opportunity to tour the Ottawa Art Gallery, ByWard Market, Lisgar Collegiate Institute and more! To help navigate this unique opportunity, read on for our interview with Doors Open Ottawa Programmer, Emily O’Kane, from the City of Ottawa.

Teachers on Call’s online and in-person Ottawa tutors are looking forward to the upcoming Doors Open event, which is part of the provincewide Doors Open Ontario program run by the Ontario Heritage Trust. Located in Canada’s capital city, it is not surprising that attendance reached 65,000 guests in 2023. This year the Doors Open Ottawa organizers are expecting approximately 75,000 in attendance. Last spring, our in-person and online tutoring service featured, Teachers on Call Celebrates Doors Open Ottawa, for the very first time on our blog. To mark this year’s event, we are interviewing one of the host organizers, Emily O’Kane, Doors Open Ottawa Programming Lead, to learn what’s in store for 2024.

How to Plan for Doors Open Ottawa

It can be a challenge to navigate any Doors Open weekend. The city of Ottawa’s event is no exception with approximately 95 fascinating sites to explore (many which are not normally open to the public). To avoid long lines and disappointment at Doors Open Ottawa, we recommend studying the participating attractions in advance, mapping out a route with priority sites, and checking which locations require reservations or currently have waitlists. Try to cluster locations near each other and take advantage of both days if possible (some Doors Open events are one day only!). In our interview with Emily O’Kane, there are more helpful tips to take advantage of, so read on!

An Interview with Emily O’Kane from City of Ottawa, Doors Open Ottawa Programmer

As Ottawa is Canada’s capital city, what unique opportunities does your Doors Open event offer that guests may not experience elsewhere?

We are so pleased here at Doors Open Ottawa to run this event in a city that so highly values heritage, architecture and culture. Every year it is such a tremendous excitement to highlight the gems of this wonderful city, including world-class research centres, top notch academic institutions, stunning and unique embassies/high commissions, a wonderful selection of federal government buildings, and buildings that exemplify adaptive reuse.

Does Doors Open Ottawa have a theme? 

Yes! The theme this year is “Music in Our Nation’s Capital”. We are celebrating the rich history and vibrant music community in Ottawa with live performances, talks, and tours in a variety of participating buildings.

An added treat for this year's theme, Doors Open Ottawa has partnered with Ottawa Chamberfest, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary season in 2024 to bring beautiful chamber music to a few buildings across the city.

With so many longstanding locations, are there new sites participating this year?

We have a wonderful mix of longstanding participants, sites returning to Doors Open since before the pandemic, and new participating buildings!

Some exciting new highlights:

Chaudière Falls - 4 Booth Street Ottawa, ON K1R 6K8 - Go on a guided walking tour of this Ottawa natural landmark along the banks of the Ottawa River, book here. Tours will be conducted in English and French. This land has deep Indigenous history, with major significance for the Algonquin Anishinaabe and other First Nations of the region. 

Take a virtual tour here:

British High Commissions *brand new building* - 140 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 5A2 - located within the Earnscliffe National Historic Site.

ByWard Market Building - 55 ByWard Market Square, Ottawa, ON K1N 9C3 - located in the downtown core of Ottawa, east of the government and business district. This favourite tourist attraction is easy to get to by car, bike, foot or public transportation. 

Ingenium Centre - 1865 St. Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, ON K1G 6M7 - housing Canada’s science and technology collection.

University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Health Sciences Building - 200 Lees Ave Building FHS, Ottawa, ON K1S 5S9 - Program and tour schedule here.

Some returning favourites since before the pandemic include:

The Herb Garden Heritage Barn -  3840 Old Almonte Rd, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0

Suntech Greenhouse - 5541 Doyle Rd, Manotick, ON K4M 1B4 

Ottawa Jail Hostel - 75 Nicholas St, Ottawa, ON K1N 7B9

Supreme Court of Canada - 301 Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1A 0J1

Do you have any educational sites to recommend that are geared towards students and families?

We have a great selection of educational sites that are great for students and families!

A couple highlights:

Lisgar Collegiate Institute - 29 Lisgar St, Ottawa, ON K2P 0B9 - Lisgar Collegiate Institute is an Ottawa-Carleton District School Board secondary school offering English and French Immersion programs, located in downtown Ottawa by the Rideau Canal.

Lisgar Collegiate Institute is a longstanding favourite for Doors Open Ottawa visitors. It is the first high school in Ottawa, and has occupied the same, beautiful space since 1874! As an added bonus for this year’s theme, they will have members of their wonderful orchestra on site giving live performances!

1805 Gaspe - 1805 Gaspé Ave, Ottawa, ON K1K 0A4

1805 Gaspe is a wonderful new addition to Doors Open Ottawa! Previously the Terry Fox Center and home to Encounters with Canada, until around 2020/2021 when the program closed with Covid-19, and now operates as a multi-tenant community hub with a famers market, private school and day care centre. An exciting treat for families and young ones for Doors Open Ottawa, they will be hosting Monkey Rock Music, a unique and exciting music performance for kids!

Are there any sites that require reservations?

Yes, we do have a handful of sites that require registration:

The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, Chaudière Falls, British High Commission, Cancer Research Lab at The Ottawa Hospital, Embassy of Hungary to Canada/Birkett Castle, Embassy of the United States of America, French Embassy in Canada, and the Ingenium Centre.

For more information on how to register and/or join a waitlist, visit here

Beyond Ottawa, where do your Doors Open visitors come from?

We are so lucky to see visitors to Doors Open Ottawa from all over Ontario, Canada, and the United States! We also see tour groups from all over arrive to take in the excitement of Doors Open Ottawa weekend!

Are there volunteer opportunities still available? If yes, what are next steps to get involved?

For this year, all volunteer spots are filled- if anyone is interested in joining our volunteer list for 2025, they can reach out to us at DoorsOpen_PortesOuvertes@ottawa.ca

What is your favourite tip to share about your event?

This year for Doors Open Ottawa our FREE Doors Open shuttle is back! With 8 different stops around the city, the shuttle is a convenience, safe, and comfortable way to get around Ottawa for Doors Open! (and did I mention it’s free?!)

No registration is required for the shuttle, just hop on and hop off at each stop as you like!

 ……

We hope you enjoy learning about Doors Open Ottawa. Remember to keep checking our blog for upcoming events. If you are looking for more educational opportunities in Ottawa this month, the Canada-Wide Science Fair is taking place at Carleton University. Check out our blog on Canada’s largest STEM Fair & Expo here

*Pictures provided by the City of Ottawa.

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