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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The top 10 buildings to see at Doors Open Toronto 2018

Doors Open Toronto 2018, the city's annual, two-day-long celebration of architecture and snooping, returns this weekend with more than 50 new spaces (out of a total 134) for the public to explore, many of them centred around this year's theme of "Film: The Great Romance."

From can't-miss favourites to exciting new additions, here are my picks for the top buildings to check out at Doors Open Toronto in 2018.

Bay Lower Station

You've likely heard that there's a secret, unused TTC subway station beneath Bay — and that it's nearly impossible to visit without being on some sort of film crew. That changes this weekend, when the TTC opens up Bay Lower to the public after years of reserving it for productions like Resident Evil and The Handmaid's Tale.

Toronto Reference Library

If you think that the first five floors of Toronto's biggest library are spectacular, wait until you see the other five — the ones that are usually off-limits to the public. This architectural and cultural landmark houses a lot more than books. Doors Open visitors can expect to see everything from the Arthur Conan Doyle Room to TPL's own Conservation Lab.

Toronto Reference Library

The stunning Toronto Reference Library was designed by architect Raymond Moriyama and completed in 1977. Photo by Jack Landau.

Humber Lakeshore Campus

Like Bay Station, something old, cool and definitely haunted lies beneath the brick "cottage" buildings at Humber College's Lakeshore campus. Built in 1888 by patients at the Mimico Branch Asylum, the psychiatric hospital-turned-learning centre is connected by a series of historic underground tunnels that you can walk through this weekend.

Malabar Ltd. Costume Warehouse

Theatre, film, TV and fashion fans alike will have the rare opportunity this weekend to see Malabar's sprawling Brockton Village warehouse — home to more than 30,000 historical costumes dating back to 1923. Experts in makeup, design and costumes ranging from the Medieval to Edwardian periods will be on hand to help you explore.

Malabar costumes Toronto

The costumes in Malabar's warehouse at 122 Brock Avenue are rented throughout North America for opera and theatre productions, as well as for film and television shows. Image via City of Toronto.


Doors Open purists will be thrilled to note that one of Toronto's most-renowned architecture studios will be welcoming guests into its open-concept creative hub in Dovercourt Village — a space that has severed as everything from a textile factory to a practice space for musicians like Drake and The Weeknd early in their careers.

Ubisoft Toronto

This video game industry giant will be opening its doors to the public on May 26 for the first time since it was established in 2010. Guests can look forward to experiencing Ubisoft's "Performance Capture studio," which uses 80 VICON cameras to produce the highest-quality performance capture for games, film and TV.

Ubisoft Toronto

Ubisoft Toronto is located in the the former General Electric factory, a four-storey industrial building located in the Junction Triangle.

University of Toronto: McLennan Physical Labs

Another new addition to this year's program is home to some of Canada's most cutting-edge research in psychics, astrophysics and astronomy. It's also where Good Will Hunting was filmed. Doors Open visitors should be sure to check out this building's huge, 16th floor telescopes for a chance to safely view the sun.

MOCA (Tower Automotive Building)

One of Toronto's coolest depression-era industrial towers is fast-transforming into the the Museum of Contemporary Art's new home in the Junction Triangle. Get a sneak preview of how MOCA is using the Tower Automotive Building before everyone else does: the space won't officially open until September.

MOCA Tower Automotive

The Tower Automotive Building, build for the Northern Aluminum Company in 1919, has been sitting vacant since its closure in 2006. Image by Hector Vasquez.


Located in the heart of Toronto's Studio District, this 10,000 square foot media production space features an indoor park, among other cool filming spaces. Visitors for Doors Open will get to dress up in costumes and take pictures with larger-than-life props from shows like Carmilla and Murdoch Mysteries.

St. John's Convent

This actual convent in North York, near the intersection at Cummer and Maxome avenues, is described as a "contemporary expression of monasticism" for the Anglican Sisterhood of St. John the Divine. Guests are invited to explore spectacular architectural details, like a high-vaulted chapel with 100-year-old carvings and an outdoor labyrinth.

Photo Challenge

Submit your photos of this year's Doors Open Toronto and you could win one of three gift certificates for Henry's Canada. Just tag your photos of Doors Open Toronto with #blogTOdot18 on Instagram to enter the challenge. The deadline to submit is May 27 at 11:59 pm.

We will select our 10 favourite photos from those submitted, and then the public will have a chance to vote for their favourite between May 28 and June 3, 2018. The winners will be announced on June 4, 2018.

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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