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, not only from the outside but from the inside as well - all free of charge!

Our next Doors Open event will be held in September 2020.

2018 event details

Our 2018 event was held Saturday, Sept. 8th. Visit Doors Open Ontario/Thunder Bay to learn more about the sites featured in 2018. You can also follow future events on the Doors Open Thunder Bay Facebook Page.

View the 2018 Doors Open Event Guide.

Sponsors

Thank you to our 2018 Doors Open Thunder Bay Sponsors.

sponsor logos

Participating sites for 2018

Thunder Bay South

East End

Innova Business Park

Thunder Bay North

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 - free of charge!
  3. Confirm the dates and times your chosen sites will be open. Most 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 a day - more than that and you are rushing. Most site visits take 30 minutes. You may have to wait at some sites.
  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. Enjoy other places of interest in the picturesque community.
  10. Plan a Doors Open Ontario day-trip or overnight getaway in another community. Most of all ... have fun!

 

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

Volunteer

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 of charge! 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 will review our sponsorship opportunities and 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 2016

The tenth Doors Open Thunder Bay event was held on Saturday, Sept. 10th, 2016 and featured 16 sites of historical significance and representing the theme of Medical Science and Technology.

Doors Open 2014

The ninth Doors Open Thunder Bay event was held on Saturday, Sept. 6th, 2014 and featured 16 sites of historical significance and representing the theme of World War 1.

Doors Open 2012

The eighth Doors Open Thunder Bay event was held on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 and featured 13 sites of historical significance.

Doors Open 2010

The seventh Doors Open Thunder Bay event was held on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 and featured 12 sites of historical significance.

Doors Open 2008

The sixth Doors Open Thunder Bay event was held on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008, and featured 12 sites of historical significance.

Doors Open 2007

The fifth Doors Open Thunder Bay event was held in September of 2007.

Doors Open 2006

The fourth Doors Open Thunder Bay event was held on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006, and featured 15 sites of historical significance.

Doors Open 2005

The third Doors Open Thunder Bay event was held on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2005, and featured 11 site of historical significance.

Doors Open 2004

Buoyed by community interest and enthusiasm from its first experience, the second Doors Open Thunder Bay event was held on Sept. 11, 2004 and featured 12 heritage sites.

Doors Open 2003

In 2002, the Heritage Advisory Committee had learned of the Doors Open Ontario event coordinated by the Ontario Heritage Foundation and decided to participate by launching a Thunder Bay Doors Open event.

The very first Doors Open Thunder Bay event was held on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2003. With 12 participating sites of heritage and historical interest, the event attracted over 2,500 visitors.

 Save the date Open Doors Poster

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