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Information and Guidelines

The information contained in this document provides communities that are considering participating in Doors Open Ontario 2018 with a comprehensive summary of the entry criteria, program requirements and timelines. It also highlights the role the Ontario Heritage Trust plays in coordinating the provincewide program and supporting the participating communities. Before deciding to participate in Doors Open Ontario and completing the Registration form, please read this document in its entirety. This document serves as the agreement to register with the program.

Doors Open Ontario is a provincewide celebration of community heritage. Designed to create access, awareness and excitement about our heritage, Doors Open Ontario provides residents and visitors with a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy the sometimes hidden and always interesting places and spaces in Ontario cities, towns and villages – and all free of charge!

Doors Open overview

Successful Doors Open events have charmed crowds since the first Doors Open Day (La journée portes ouvertes) took place in France in 1984. The idea soon spread to neighbouring European countries and all 50 signatory states of the European Cultural Convention now participate in European Heritage Days.

The City of Toronto launched the first Doors Open program in North America in 2000. The success of Doors Open Toronto motivated the Ontario Heritage Trust to launch a provincewide initiative – the first of its kind in Canada – in 2002. In the 16-year history of the program, community participation has increased dramatically. In total, heritage enthusiasts have made over 7.3 million visits to 714 Doors Open Ontario events! The program has inspired the development of similar provincewide programs across Canada.

Entering its 17th year, Doors Open Ontario continues to be a cultural phenomenon. It has helped communities to redefine and celebrate their heritage, strengthen and encourage local partnerships, bolster local volunteer bases and stimulate tourism and local economies. Doors Open Ontario has matured into a vibrant, significant program that continues to support communities and build civic pride.