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Doors Open Winnipeg - 13 Things You Need To Know Before This Weekend

Article Laura McKay, on behalf of Heritage Winnipeg Corp.

To follow up on this or any other articles on the blog, contact Heritage Winnipeg's Executive Director.

Doors Open Winnipeg is coming up this weekend and we know you're exited too! 
Before you set out, here are some things you should know:

1. When

Doors Open Winnipeg happens once every year, usually on the last weekend of May. Many of the buildings, including Vaughan Street Jail, are only open and providing tours during this weekend. Doors Open 2015 is happening on May 30 & 31, 2015 and most buildings are open from 11:00am - 5:00pm, although this varies a bit from building to building. 

2. Where

Doors Open Winnipeg has participating buildings and sites all over the city of Winnipeg - over 80 as a matter of fact. These include building tours, walking tours of neighbourhoods or based on a specific theme, and events related to heritage. 

For a complete list of the buildings that are participating and details such as the address, when they're open, etc., follow this link to the Doors Open Winnipeg Featured Buildings page. Events and walking tours can be found here, on the Doors Open Winnipeg Events page. There is also an interactive Google map available here

3. How Much

If you see this symbol on a building's page, it means they have food and drinks!
Doors Open is a completely free public event - we want as many people from as many backgrounds as possible to enjoy and learn about our city's history! However, if you'd like to bring a bit of cash along, there will be food and drinks sold at select sites, as well as raffle tickets available for $5 from Heritage Winnipeg Representatives in the high traffic areas (more details below).

4. What About the Tours?

As there is a large variety of buildings, there are also a large variety of tours. Most sites have tour guides on hand to lead you through your exploration but a few are self-guided. Some have both. This information can be found on the building's information page on the Doors Open Website. Lastly, there are some buildings that ask you to book in advance for your tour:

5. New this year 

The all-important list of new things for you to try!  

NEW - the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre at 281 Donald Street
Visit the Metropolitan Theatre, now transformed into a state-of-the-art hospitality venue, breathing new life into one of Winnipeg's most beloved landmarks.

NEW - E.P. Leacock Estate/Marymound School at 442 Scotia Street
Originally the home of con artist E.P. Leacock, the uncle of famed author Stephen Leacock, the estate was owned by a lawyer and St. Agnes Priory before being converted to Marymound School.

NEW - Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church at 505 Watt Street 
Built in 1954, this church features stained glass windows and frescoes by famous artists Leo Mol, Kowal and Hordynsky, tied together by breathtaking hand carved Iconostas and a crystal chandelier.

NEW - Le Cercle Molière at 340 Provencher Boulevard
Since 1925, Le Cercle Molière theatre troupe has performed in various venues around Winnipeg. It's current home is an Environmental Design and Leadership in Energy certified building - get a backstage tour and view a photo exhibit celebrating 90 year anniversary.  

NEW - St. Matthew's Anglican Church (West End Commons) at 641 St. Matthews Avenue 
The most recent chapter of this church's century-long history is the conversion of its upper level into affordable housing, providing 26 residential units for families, and the creation of WestEnd Commons.

REOPENING of Dalnavert Museum at 61 Carlton Street
Closed since the fall of 2013, the Dalnavert Museum is now reopening its doors! Get a sneak peek before its official opening in June.  

100th anniversary for the Cornish Public Library at 20 West Gate
This historic library retains its original features - including extensive oak woodwork, a striking fireplace, and a widow's walk - while still providing the modern services of today's public libraries. 

Presentation & Discussion Panel - FRONTLINES: The Future of Heritage at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe (237 McDermot Avenue)
Contribute to a discussion about the future of our past. Panelists: Cindy Tugwell, Heritage Winnipeg Executive Director; Christian Cassidy, West End Dumplings Blogger; John Orlikow, Winnipeg City Council. Presentations from: Wins Bridgman, Bridgman Collaborative Architecture; Glen Manning, HTFC Planning & Design; Colin Neufeld, 54687096 Architecture.  

NEW - Haunted History Walking Tour at 61 Carlton (meet in front of Dalnavert)
Featuring three well-known Winnipeg buildings, this tour combines historical fact with the ghost stories linked to it. The tour is lead by Mattew Komus, author of Haunted Winnipeg: Ghost Stories from the Heart of the Continent.

NEW - Armstrong's Point Self-Guided Walking Tour at 20 West Gate (Cornish Public Library grounds)
Home to the only piece of boreal forest left in Winnipeg, this neighbourhood is over a century old. Many of the homes in this area are being evaluated for heritage designation, as well as the neighbourhood as a whole.

NEW - Ghost Signs Walking Tour at 133 Albert (meet at Old Market Square) 
Discover the Exchange’s fading promotional signage and learn about the companies that called these warehouses home.

Author Brian Darragh at the Winnipeg Railway Museum at 123 Main Street (inside Union Station) 
Brian Darragh, one of the last Winnipeg streetcar operators, will be on site selling his book, "The Streetcars of Winnipeg: Our Forgotten Heritage".

6. Planning your visit

Already planning what to do with your weekend? We have a few different tools to help you plan your visits:

1) The Winnipeg Free Press Insert - this comes out the Thursday before the event (so Thursday, May 28, 2015 is the date for this year) and has all of the information you need to know about each of the buildings including a photo, address, the dates and times that they are open, and a write up with details about each building and what its offering. These inserts are also available at the Millennium Library. 

2) The Doors Open Winnipeg website at - the website has all of the same information as the Free Press Insert but is available earlier in the insert. The buildings can also be sorted by date, location, or type, using the categories on the top left corner.

3) A Printable PDF is also available on the website here. This contains only the building names, addresses, and the times they are open.

7. What to Bring

When getting ready for your tours this weekend, you might want to remember the following:
  • Dress appropriately for the weather that day - be sure to check it in the morning before you leave! 
  • Bring good walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen and water, especially if you're intending to go on one of the walking tours
  • $5 to buy a raffle ticket from Heritage Winnipeg Representatives and some petty cash for snacks or drinks at some of the sites
  • Bring a camera! Just remember to ask before taking any pictures that might have people in them.
  • Grab an insert or print a PDF so you can refer to it during your visit - the website is not very mobile-compatible yet (we're working on it!) so it might not work on your smartphone
  • Bring a map or GPS if you're going places you are unfamiliar with

8. Accessibility, Food, Parking, & Washrooms

In the insert and on the website there are four symbols that might show up beside a building:

This symbol means there will be food and drinks available on site. These are likely for sale and vary widely depending on the location.

This symbol means that the building is wheelchair accessible.

 This symbol means there are washrooms available for visitors to use on site. 

This symbol means there is parking available nearby. 

These symbols can help you plan your visit so you don't end up stuck without food at lunch or with small children that need to use the washroom with none in sight.

9. Thank You! 

Doors Open Winnipeg is a fantastic success, with between 20 000 and 25 000 site visits each year. However, as a free event, we owe a large part of our success to the dedication of our volunteers and building owners, who take time out of their busy schedules to plan the tours and events you're about to witness. 

Be sure to thank them for their efforts if you get a chance and be patient with the tour guides if they fumble - most are everyday citizens like you and me who have taken on the role for the weekend! 

In addition, Heritage Winnipeg and Doors Open greatly appreciate the support of our sponsors, who help to make sure this event can stay free and accessible to all.

10. Remember to Be Respectful

Heritage buildings have many different uses, from museums, to places of worship, to the homes of businesses. Please remember to be respectful of the buildings and their occupants while enjoying your visit. 

11. Raffle

Heritage Winnipeg is a non-profit organization that relies exclusively on donations and grants for programs like Doors Open Winnipeg. This year we’re doing a raffle to help raise money for future heritage programming.

Keep an eye out for Heritage Winnipeg representatives at different Doors Open locations throughout the weekend to buy your tickets! They'll be wearing this badge to help you identify them:

For only $5 a ticket, you’ll be entered to win a package worth over $2300. All donations are from local downtown businesses and individuals.
  • One night's stay at the Delta Winnipeg Hotel and dinner for four in the Blaze Restaurant & Lounge
  • A package of products from Handmade with Love and gift certificates for services from Forever One
  • Dinner for two at The Peasant Cookery and 295 York, courtesy of WOW Hospitality Concepts
  • One night's stay and breakfast at the Fort Garry Hotel
  • Two hours of consultation from Plush Home & Design
  • One night's stay at the Fairmont Hotel
  • Two tickets to Cirque du Soleil, courtesy of True North Sports & Entertainment Limited
  • One pair of Merell footwear from Canadian Footwear
  • Gift card for The Keg, donated by Greg Agnew
  • Rona Home & Garden Winnipeg gift card
  • Warehouse Artworks gift certificate
  • Four passes to the Winnipeg Art Gallery's Olympus Exhibit
  • Two tickets to a production by the Manitoba Theatre for Young People
  • Four passes to a gallery in the Manitoba Museum
  • Haberdashery Girls & Guys gift certificate
  • Gift certificate from the Old Spaghetti Factory

12. Online Voting

In the interest of making our event a little more environmentally friendly and accessible to everyone, we've decided to move our People's Choice Awards online! There will be some paper ballots available at sites but we would encourage you to vote for your favourites using the survey online at Remember - you can only vote once from each device! Voting opens Saturday morning and will close on Friday, June 5 at 11:59pm. 

13. More Information/Social Media

Still want to know more? 

Doors Open Winnipeg website -
Heritage Winnipeg website -
Doors Open Facebook page -
Heritage Winnipeg Facebook Page -
Heritage Winnipeg on Twitter -

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