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June 29, 2004
5th ANNIVERSARY DOORS OPEN TORONTO
  
From historic places to contemporary spaces - a resounding success

It's official -- 185,000 visits to 155 buildings of architectural and/or
historic significance took place on this year's Doors Open Toronto weekend on
Saturday and Sunday, May 29 & 30. Admission to all participating venues was
free during the Doors Open Toronto weekend. Osgoode Hall topped the list with
9,500 visitors in two days. In its first five years, Doors Open Toronto has
attracted over half-a-million visitors; visitation in 2003 totaled 147,000,
plus an additional 50,000 visits logged at the opening of the Distillery
Historic District.

As part of the 5th anniversary celebrations, organizers with the City of
Toronto's Culture Division put a spotlight on post-1945 architecture, a theme
that inspired visits to dozens of venues throughout the city that represent
design innovations of the past six decades. The newly opened Sharp Centre for
Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design, with its distinctive
black-and-white checkered 'tabletop' and towering multi-coloured steel 'legs',
attracted 5,200 visitors over the weekend. Over 3,600 people lined up to see
the original 54th floor Board Rooms at The Toronto-Dominion Centre, built by
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and John B. Parkin Associates, 1964-71, while
Toronto's 'new' City Hall, a modern masterpiece by Finnish architect, Viljo
Revell completed in 1965, attracted 4,000 visitors. BMW Toronto, designed by
Toronto's Quadrangle Architects, welcomed 2,600 people.

Among the more intimate venues that opened their doors were the 1952 Trend
House bungalow in Etobicoke, the Noor Cultural Centre in Don Mills and McKinsey
& Company's downtown offices. Hugh MacDonald, original owner and occupant of
the Trend House, welcomed close to 900 visitors in two afternoons to his
1000-square-foot home. "I really enjoyed talking to people. They appreciated
seeing this unique place." Internationally respected Toronto architect
Raymond Moriyama paid a special visit to the Noor Cultural Centre on the Doors
Open Toronto weekend along with over 400 visitors. Director of the Centre,
Karim Lakhani, said Moriyama shared stories about his original design for the
building (the first Japanese Cultural Centre, 1963) and his current work
restoring and adapting it for its new owners. Another popular location was the
exquisite McKinsey & Company building, designed by Taylor, Hariri and Pontarini
in 1999. This building hosted almost 500 people in one afternoon.

"We're extremely pleased with the overall response to this year's Doors Open
Toronto," says Karen Black, Manager, Museums & Heritage Services, Culture
Division. "Not only did 155 buildings, up from 133 last year, agree to open
their doors, our new tourism initiative attracted visitors from Ottawa and
throughout Southern Ontario, British Columbia, and south of the border from
Buffalo, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and beyond. The special focus on
post-1945 architecture reinvigorated the program for its 5th anniversary. And
the cultural diversity of Toronto was reflected in both the roster of buildings
and the audience who participated."

Perennial favourites this year included: Old City Hall (8,300 visitors); the
Roundhouse: Steam Whistle Brewing/Toronto Railway Historical Association
(8,125); Black Creek Pioneer Village (7,000); Ontario Legislative Building
(4,500); St. James' Cathedral (4,500); Canada Life Building (4,480); Casa Loma:
Pellatt Hunting Lodge/Stables (4,100); Gooderham Flatiron Building (4,000 one
day only); Spadina Museum (3,775); Carlu (3,300 one day only); Elgin and
Winter Garden Theatre Centre (3,300); Le Royal Meridien King Edward (3,300);
Commerce Court North (3200); Campbell House (2,600 one day only); Canada
Permanent Building (2,500); CBC Broadcasting Centre (2,500); Redpath Sugar
Museum (2,040). On the downtown campus of the University of Toronto, thousands
of visitors toured an inventory of buildings that spanned three centuries, from
University College (1856-59) to the Woodsworth College Residence, designed by
architectsAlliance in 2004.

Joe Lobko, Chair, Toronto Society of Architects, and program advisor for the
5th anniversary says "Doors Open Toronto is a tremendous affirmation of the
passion that people feel about their city and the character of its architecture
and urban design, and a signal to all of us involved in the making of buildings
and urban spaces, that we need to continue the effort to strive for excellence
in everything we do."

Doors Open Toronto is proud to acknowledge the generous support of the Canada
Council for the Arts and the Province of Ontario and Granite Level corporate
sponsors Taylor Hazell Architects Ltd. and Trump International Hotel & Tower
Toronto. Doors Open Toronto also thanks title sponsor, the Toronto Star and
media sponsors CBC Radio One and CBC Television. Greektown on the Danforth BIA
and North Country Slate, as well as Program Partners, Doors Open Ontario,
Heritage Toronto, Toronto Society of Architects, Harbord Street Association BIA
and Bike Week are gratefully acknowledged for their contributions. This year
the Volunteer Executive Committee organized 229 special Doors Open Toronto
volunteers, including 52 high school students, from 17 Toronto schools, who
represented 15 different languages.

Doors Open Toronto is a Signature Program of the City of Toronto Culture
Division. The 6th Annual Doors Open Toronto will take place on Saturday and
Sunday, May 28 & 29, 2005.

Media Contacts:
Jane French, Project Manager, Doors Open Toronto, Culture Division,
416-338-0496; Kristen Juschkewitsch, Media Relations, Doors Open Toronto,
Culture Division, 416-338-0495



 

 

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