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Doors Open Winnipeg 2018: Celebrating the Stories Our Buildings Tell

Wrapping Up: Doors Open Winnipeg 2018

This past weekend, May 26th and 27th, was Heritage Winnipeg's 15th annual Doors Open Winnipeg event. We are also celebrating Heritage Winnipeg's 40th year! This FREE community event celebrates our city's architectural, historical and cultural heritage, but also helps us promote the restoration, rehabilitation, and preservation of Winnipeg's built heritage. This would not be possible without our enthusiastic sponsors and participants. Our office at Heritage Winnipeg, in the heart of the West Exchange District, was happy to see all the photos, posts, and emails about the buildings and events! Doors Open Winnipeg is about "celebrating the stories our buildings tell" - but it's also about giving the Winnipeg community a chance to hear and learn those stories.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights from this weekend:

VISITORS AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: This year we had 94 buildings and tours with 14 new participants!, including the 6000 Years In 60 Minutes tour, Kinsmen Sherbrook Pool, Gibraltar House, HSM Temple, and Meet Canada's First Woman Voyageur Walking Tour, to name a few. 

Below are some of the inspiring comments about Doors Open Winnipeg:
"It was amazing, way too many places to visit (which is a great problem). Will definitely be attending again next year!"

"The guys at Minto who keep that museum running are amazing people! They stressed that we sign the guest book so they saw how many people were going to possible assist them in earning grants, please help them anyway you can! They knew so much and the tours often included personal stories and actual personal items that they had donated! Amazing stories. Amazing people. Amazing cause"

"Amazing experience, already marked my calendar for next year so I'm free to experience more places that I didn't have time this weekend to see..."

"Every year I go and every year I enjoy myself. Thanks for running a wonderful event, again and again."

"WOW! Visited 5 different tours today and it blew away all expectations. Lines moved quickly, every single volunteer greeted with a smile and you could see they actually caed to share and teach all of us..."
(All quotes anonymous from survey feedback, edited for length)

And some from our building and tour participants:
 "Participating in Doors Open was rewarding not only for myself but also everyone involved...Overall, my aim was to highlight our building as having two stories separated by time but connected by space. As the day went on, it was not only great to witness the hard work pay off but to also see it reflected in the enjoyment of everyone who decided to grace our space with their presence that day. A few times I was able to hear stories from people who could recount some of the changes that I attempted to portray in the tour. These moments also reminded that the people who walk through these buildings play a large part in how we remember and view them. If one of the goals of the event was to explore "stories our buildings tell us" then I think everyone involved on that day accomplished that mission. Artspace's story, then, is one where Art and Architecture intersect and, as result, a true Artspace emerges"                    - Dylan Jones, Artspace 

"It was a thrill to have people come in and for one thing, meet the Mayor of Albert Street...just to experience people coming in and wanting to know more about the building, about my own space, and the kind of art that I sell here...framing and everything,and I told them about my family history, picture framing, I come from a family of six generations in custom framing which started in Germany in the late 1800s...I really love my space...the Hammond building is my favourite"  - Jeff Gasenzer, Fleet Galleries 
(quotes edited for length)

An enormous thank you to all our wonderful volunteers, buildings owners, organizations, community groups, sponsors, ambassadors, and tour guides who helped make this event possible! Their enthusiasm for our city's built heritage is the heart of Doors Open Winnipeg - we couldn't have done it without them. Understanding our past is key to a successful future!

LOVE WINNIPEG'S HERITAGE: Heritage Winnipeg hopes to see more of your photos of the Doors Open Winnipeg events - we would love to feature some of them on our social media accounts! Winnipeggers should be very proud we have such rich history to enrich our lives today and for future generations.

Local photographer Kyle Didur (Instagram: @didurdesigns) was out at Doors Open Winnipeg this weekend taking lovely photos for Heritage Winnipeg! Here are some of the gorgeous shots:

Bank of Montreal

Burton Cummings Theatre

City Hall

Fire Fighter's Museum of Winnipeg

Government House

Winnipeg Railway Museum

DECIDE THE WINNERS: Buildings or tours that participate in Doors Open Winnipeg can win awards for their buildings! Venues compete in 5 categories for Best Restoration, Best Architecture, Best Programming, Best Experience, and finally which venue was the real Hidden Gem of Doors Open. Click on the link here to go vote! Voting closes on June 1st at 11:59 pm.

NEW! SOCIAL MEDIA CONTEST: Heritage Winnipeg is trying something interactive this year - we're hosting a social media contest! The contest is open until this Friday, June 1st at 11:59 pm, so you can still enter! We would love to hear from you and know why you love Doors Open Winnipeg and your city's heritage.

To enter a submission for our social media contest:

  1. Post a photo of yourself enjoying one of our Doors Open Winnipeg venues to any one of our social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
  2. Caption the photo with the completed phrase "I love #doorsopenwinnipeg because..."
  3. Follow & tag us so we can find your post! 

We very much look forward to seeing all your submissions. The winner of this contest will receive our amazing Downtown Prize Pack, featuring prizes from Aveda Institute and Salon, Bronuts, Mariaggi's Theme Suite Hotel & Spa, the Mere Hotel, WOW Hospitality, PLUS tickets to events from Prairie Theatre Exchange, Royal Manitoba Theatre Company, and Burton Cummings Theatre!

THEN & NOW - ON THIS SPOT APP: This Doors Open weekend, Winnipeg was added to the app "On This Spot", which combines historic photos with interesting information about our city's history, along with other Canadian cities. Even though Doors Open is over for this year, you can still use the On This Spot app to learn about Winnipeg's history! There are also currently 2 self-guided walking tours integrated into the app: Bullseye of the Dominion: The Boomtown Era 1870 - 1912, and The Challenges of Modernity: The Era of Upheaval 1913 - 1945. Go on a historic walk through the Exchange and compare over 100 historic photos to today's views!

COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Last but certainly not least, Heritage Winnipeg extends a most sincere thanks to our Sponsors! As a not-for-profit charitable organization, Heritage Winnipeg would not be able to put on this fantastic free event without their support. Please head on over to the Doors Open website for a full list of sponsors.

What was your favourite part of this year's Doors Open Winnipeg? Let us know in the comments!

Written by Natassja Brien for Heritage Winnipeg


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