Join us in celebrating our heritage!

Doors Open Thunder Bay is an event held every other year in September under the supporting partnership of Doors Open Ontario and the Ontario Heritage Trust. This one day event offers residents and visitors alike the opportunity to step through the doors of some of our city's most unique structures and heritage sites. This event is a fantastic way to experience first-hand Thunder Bay's remarkable architecture, and cultural landscapes - all free to attend!

Our next Doors Open Thunder Bay event will be held in September 2024.

You can follow the Doors Open Thunder Bay Facebook Page or the Doors Open Thunder Bay Instagram Page for past and upcoming event details along with local heritage information.

 Doors Open Thunder Bay 2024 Graphic


Thank you to our Doors Open Thunder Bay Sponsors from 2022!

2022 Sponsor Logos


Participating sites for 2024

  • Our next event will be held in September 2024. Email our Heritage Researcher or call 807-625-3197 if you are interested in being a participating site for Doors Open Thunder Bay.  

Top 10 touring tips from Doors Open Ontario

  1. Plan your Doors Open Ontario visit ahead of time.
  2. You don't have to be a heritage expert to enjoy a Doors Open adventure. Select sites that interest you most. Doors Open allows you to tour stunning sites that may not normally be open to the public - all FREE to attend!
  3. Sites are open from 10 am to 4 pm - plenty of time for visits, tours, meeting friends, lunch, taking photos, refreshment breaks and travel time.
  4. Allow enough time to travel between sites. Look for sites clustered together to save time. Rural and remote sites take extra travel time. If you have special needs or are touring with children, allow more time.
  5. Plan to visit a maximum of five to eight sites on event day - more than that and you are rushing. Most site visits take 30 minutes. 
  6. Some sites may offer guided tours, special lectures or exhibits. Plan the length and time of tours so you can schedule them into your day and not be disappointed.
  7. Ask questions. Not everyone knows the difference between Art Deco and Art Nouveau. Volunteers are happy to explain or find the answer for you.
  8. Thank community volunteers for giving their time to open these fascinating sites.
  9. Plan a Doors Open Ontario day-trip or overnight getaway in another community.
  10. Most of all ... have fun!

Plan your Doors Open adventure using City of Thunder Bay Transit.


Volunteers contribute significantly and are vital to making this event a success.

Volunteers can take part as:

  • Greeters/Visitor Counters - Greet and count visitors as they arrive, distribute handouts, give an overview of what can be seen, and if there is a guided tour direct them to an area where they can wait for the next tour to commence.
  • Information Agents - Information agents will either conduct guided tours of the site, or be positioned in key locations throughout the site to answer visitors' questions.

Email our Heritage Researcher or call 807-625-3197 to register as a volunteer for Doors Open Thunder Bay.

Become a sponsor

Doors Open offers residents and visitors the opportunity to step through the doors of some our city's wonderful heritage sites and unique structures - all FREE to attend! Not only does the event showcase our city's wonderful architecture, it fosters community engagement and partnership development, highlights initiatives, and shares our history.

Sponsorship dollars and in-kind denotations help towards the presentation and promotion of this event.

We hope that you might consider supporting this unique opportunity for our community to explore its cultural and built heritage.

For more information about Doors Open Thunder Bay and its sponsorship opportunities please email our Heritage Researcher or call 807-625-3197.

History of Doors Open

A history of Doors Open can be found on the Doors Open Ontario website.

In 2002, the Thunder Bay Heritage Advisory Committee learned about Doors Open Ontario and decided to host a Doors Open event here in our city. The first Doors Open Thunder Bay was held on Saturday, September 13th, 2003. Currently, the event is held every other year on the first Saturday in September following the Labour Day weekend. Doors Open Thunder Bay is organized by a sub-committee of the City of Thunder Bay's Heritage Advisory Committee along with many community partners.  The event is held under the supporting partnership of Doors Open Ontario and the Ontario Heritage Trust.

Goal of Doors Open

The aim of Doors Open events is to facilitate people's understanding and enjoyment of their local architectural environment while encouraging awareness of their built heritage.

The immense popularity of these events reveals people's curiosity about buildings and about history. Heritage buildings are the cultural artifacts that surround us. And like all artifacts, they reveal something about our society, our values and our history - they remain the tangible evidence of our past. But unlike other artifacts found in museums and galleries, buildings are part of our everyday lives. They define our living spaces.

A Doors Open event captures our imagination by allowing us the opportunity of entering inside those spaces - to eagerly venture through doors and discover the inner workings of a place, - why it is there, who designed and built it, its purpose today, its story within a neighbourhood, what secrets it may hold.

Past Doors Open events in Thunder Bay

Doors Open 2022

Doors Open Thunder Bay 2022 Graphic

Doors Open Thunder Bay 2022 was an opportunity to explore our roots in agriculture through 19 participating sites. The event was held on Saturday, September 10, 2022 with 16 sites taking part in-person while a further 3 sites could be explored digitally.

For a copy of the 2022 Doors Open Thunder Bay Event Guide, contact the Archives at or (807) 625-2270.

Participating Sites in 2022


Digital Doors Open 2020

One city. Fifty years. Doors Open Thunder Bay 2020 explored some of our city’s unique structures and heritage sites as we celebrated the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur 50 years ago, which resulted in the formation of the City of Thunder Bay. Learn about our history, culture and important landmarks through images, videos and online experiences that bring to life meaningful places and stories alike. 














Doors Open 2018

Doors Open Thunder Bay 2018 was held on Saturday, Sept. 8th, 2018 and featured 17 sites and activities of historical and cultural significance.


For a copy of the 2018 Doors Open Event Guide, contact the Archives at or (807) 625-2270. 

Participating Sites in 2018


Past Doors Open Events

Doors Open also took place during the years listed below. Some years had themes, which are noted. For a copy of the Event Guide or list of sites for any of the following years, contact the Archives at or (807) 625-2270. 

  • 2016: Medical Science and Technology
  • 2014: World War I
  • 2012
  • 2010
  • 2008
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003


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