One weekend a year dozens of buildings open their doors for Doors Open Toronto, a city-wide celebration recognized as one of Toronto’s most culturally significant events. Over the past decade demand has increased rapidly from building owners, architects and developers and the City of Toronto is excited to work with the community to showcase their buildings to residents and visitors.

If you’d like your building to be part of Doors Open Toronto, please review the building criteria outlined below and submit a Building Consideration Form by January 13, 2020.

If you have already submitted a Building Consideration Form before January 6, 2020, please contact event staff at to confirm they received your form.

Preference will be given to buildings that meet the following criteria:

  • Buildings that are not usually open to the public or have areas not usually open to the public, but have some significant architectural features and/or have historical, social, as well as cultural significance to the city.
  • Buildings that are open to the public, but have some significant architectural features and/or have historical, social, as well as cultural significance to the city. (ex: churches, banquet halls, theatres)
  • Buildings that can commit to opening their doors for TWO full days, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Buildings that are celebrating significant anniversaries
  • Buildings recognized by heritage, urban design and/or architectural awards
  • Buildings with significant original interior features and/or successful adaptive reuse features
  • Buildings that feature contemporary design excellence and/or innovative green/sustainable/LEED elements
  • Buildings in destination clusters (several venues in one area)
  • Buildings representing the cultural diversity of Toronto

In addition to the above criteria:

  • Buildings that can demonstrate enhanced or thematic programming will be given preference
  • The Doors Open Toronto theme for 2020 is “Open TO Music”

Doors Open Toronto receives hundreds of proposals; however there are a set number of buildings that can be added to the roster each year. Several steps and deadlines  must be met to ensure your building will be considered.

  1. Your building must meet the participation criteria listed above.
  2. Your building must submit an online application. The 2020 deadline is January 13, 2020.
    This step is required only if your building is considered a NEW building. A building is new if it has not participated for the past five years.
  3. The roster is finalized in early February. If your building is selected to participate, the primary contact will receive a link directing them to the Doors Open Toronto Participant Agreement via email prior to this time period. Before attempting to fill out the Participant Agreement, you should review the required content and have your programming strategies finalized.
  4. In addition to the online Participant Agreement, all buildings will be required to sign and submit in paper format a legal agreement between the “Producer” (City of Toronto) and “Venue” (Your building).

The program’s success relies heavily on the support and pre-planning of each building’s representatives. The objective to provide a safe and enjoyable Doors Open Toronto experience for all visitors is everyone’s main priority.

Please consider the following planning checklist prior to replying to your “Agreement email” which you will receive if your building has been accepted. Review this list regularly.

Financial Planning

  • Develop a budget: (staffing costs, entertainment fees, printing material, contractors, security etc.)

Event Planning

Ensure your event plan has the following:

  • Entrance and exit plans
  • Seating and entertainment in case of long lines.
  • Accessible access
  • Public use of washrooms, including supplies and cleanliness.
  • Additional programming/entertainment including guided tours, talks, thematic programming, music, etc.
  • Audio visual equipment, if needed.
  • Policy, signage and security for dealing with on-site photography and use of tripods etc.
  • Visitor Tracking
  • Wayfinding and placement of directional signage. Do you require staffing/volunteers to direct visitors to your site?
  • Designated staff to respond to feedback. Written complaints must also be forwarded to Doors Open Toronto.
  • Specific volunteer needs and associated job functions.
  • Staffing and volunteer locations
  • Are additional volunteers needed to hand out mandatory survey cards on behalf of Doors Open Toronto?

Safety and Security

  • Risk assessment of your site must be completed.
  • Staff/volunteers must be trained on safety protocols.


  • How many sponsor signs are required? Where will they be located?
  • Has adequate signage been provided and/or developed to promote your event? Do you require additional signage?
  • Who will pick up the Doors Open Toronto promotional material?
  • Horizontal and Vertical banners are available. How many of each do you require?
  • Will you need assistance in hanging signage?
  • How many Doors Open Toronto ID badges will you require?


  • Designated contact is required for:
    • Site-specific press release and website
    • Community outreach – stakeholders, community websites, social media, newsletters, etc.

Post Event

  • Return banner(s) to the City of Toronto
  • Submit attendance numbers online (link to be provided)
  • Provide feedback about the Doors Open Toronto volunteers

Developed as a millennium project in 2000, Doors Open Toronto has attracted more than 2 million visitors since its inception. People of all ages and backgrounds have had the opportunity to learn about Toronto’s history, become involved, and celebrate Toronto’s built heritage for free!

Toronto was the first North American city to offer a Doors Open program, and has inspired similar events across the continent. Many participants organize guided tours, exhibits, displays and activities to enrich the visitor experience.

In 2002, inspired by the successful Toronto program, the Ontario Heritage Foundation (now the Ontario Heritage Trust) launched Doors Open Ontario.

Doors Open International

The inspiration for Doors Open Toronto came from Europe. France was the first country to launch its Doors Open program in 1984, followed by Glasgow in 1990. Currently, 48 European countries participate every September during European Heritage Month. In addition, Australia and the United States have also joined the highly successful Doors Open movement.