One of the Capital’s most impressive heritage buildings provided an apt backdrop to this morning’s launch of Doors Open Ottawa. Inside the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, which overlooks the Rideau Canal, Mayor Larry O’Brien, U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson, and Ottawa architect Larry Padolski heralded the beginning of Ottawa’s favourite architectural weekend.
Describing Ottawa as one of the most beautiful and dynamic cities in the world, Mayor O’Brien said that Doors Open has been a unifying force for Ottawa, cultivating a collective sense of pride and encouraging residents to appreciate their built heritage.
“This event allows everyone to play tourist in their own town. Getting up close and personal with Ottawa’s architecture and heritage gives us all the chance to see the familiar through an entirely different lens. With Doors Open Ottawa, I feel like we’re giving the “˜key to the city’ to each and every resident.”
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons is just one of 18 new buildings of the 119 slated to open their doors free of charge this weekend. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to let their curiosity loose and unabashedly explore buildings from Carp to Cumberland and all points in between. For the first time in the event’s nine-year history, the Embassy of the United States of America will also be opening its doors. Pre-registered visitors will see first-hand the Embassy’s distinctive architecture, art and history. Due to an overwhelming response, the 500 available spaces were filled within hours.
“I’m excited that we’re participating in Doors Open this year for the first time. Open government and transparency are a key goal for the Obama Administration and for me. This is one way we can demystify the work we do in Canada,” said U.S. Ambassador Jacobson. “I love coming to work in our Embassy everyday and I can’t wait to show our neighbours why our building is so special.”
Since 2002, more than 400,000 visits have been recorded to Doors Open. Inspired by the success of Doors Open Toronto, Ottawa was the second city in North America to launch this prestigious event based on a successful European program dedicated to built heritage, architecture and design.
For a full listing of 2010 participating buildings visit http://www.ottawa.ca/doorsopen or pick up a Doors Open Event guide at any Bridgehead location.