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May 2, 2011
Doors Open Toronto 2011 focuses on photography

This year's 12th edition of Doors Open Toronto will be held on Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29 and will focus its lens on photography in order to capture the multifaceted panoramas within Toronto's history.

This popular annual city-wide celebration will feature free public access to 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings. This year, a number of locations will present photography exhibitions and open special photographic studios, and will give the public the opportunity to meet with Toronto photographers.

This year's roster also includes rare access to 40 new buildings including the R.C. Harris Water Filtration Plant, Fire Stations 311 and 227, the TTC's McCowan and Roncesvalles Carhouses, the Toronto Harbour Commission Building, the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, the Empress Building, the High Park Club and Corus Quay among others.

A complete list of venues is now available at Most of the participating buildings are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please check the website for individual venue details.

Additionally, this year's Doors Open Toronto will be holding an online public photography contest as well as featuring free downtown performances by five ensembles drawn from Toronto's internationally acclaimed Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (more information on the contest and the performances will be announced at a later date).

Many of the venues, including the following sites, will have photography programming and exhibitions:

Fort York National Historic Site visitors will be able to discover the magic of black and white pinhole photography through a special exhibition by documentary photographic artist Tod Ainslie. Using traditionally-built, replica pinhole cameras with varying focal lengths, Ainslie captures views of fortifications and buildings at War of 1812 sites around the Great Lakes and Eastern North America. Images and reproduction cameras will be on display and the artist will be on hand to interpret the work and technology.

Visitors to Gilbert Studios will be able to meet renowned portrait photographer Al Gilbert, who is a member of the Order of Canada. On view will be 80 of his portraits, including those of Oscar Peterson, Nathan Phillips, Jean Beliveau, A.J. Casson, Robertson Davies, Golda Meir, Kenneth Thomson, Seymour Schulich, Joseph Biden, Lincoln Alexander and Pope John Paul II. Visitors will also see a fully-functioning photographic dark-room and a six-minute video biography created to honour the Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed upon Gilbert by the Professional Photographers of America, of which he is a Fellow.

The National Film Board Mediatheque has assembled a digital photography exhibit from its collection from the 1940s to the present day, and will have a cinema program featuring historical and current films on photography and architecture. This location will also have family activities including animation workshops featuring a vintage Toronto scene with a streetcar, and a digital storytelling workshop for children and families who can bring in their photos to be shown how to make a digital story with sound and images.

Canada's National Ballet School visitors will be guided through the Celia Franca Centre and will be able to observe community, recreational dance classes. In addition, Joel Bernard's photo exhibition "Grounded", featuring NBS professional ballet program students, will be on display in Mona Campbell Square.

Cannon Design on University Avenue will mount an exhibit of photography that explores how architects view the city, entitled “Toronto: City in Focus.” The large scale photographs will be displayed throughout the studio for visitors to view as they experience Cannon Design’s studio space. Models and images of completed projects as well as projects at every stage of design and construction will be displayed.

The Association of Registered Interior Designers new home (designed by modo) at the Toy Factory Lofts in Liberty Village features exposed beams, sleek touches of steel and glass and furnishings by design icons. Visitors can view 75 years of interior design photos as well as speak with interior designers.

Diamond+Schmitt Architects will host a number of talks by architectural photographers and designers. Talks will be by Tom Arban, one of Toronto's top architectural photographers (May 28 at 2 p.m.), designers from Cicada Design, who will talk about architectural rendering (design interpretations that often look like real photography), and Jon Soules (one of the firm's principals), who will talk about architecture water colour painting.

Toronto Hydro Corporation's vintage art deco head office will be part of Doors Open Toronto for the first time for its 100th anniversary. It will feature historical photographs and captions that tell the Toronto Hydro story and the impact that electricity has had on Toronto.

The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives will have a special exhibition from its collection depicting early Pride celebrations in Toronto while Central Neighbourhood House will have an archival photo exhibit showcasing the first four decades of its historic 100 year old location. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto will feature photographic works from aboriginal youth from 7th Generation Image Makers.

In addition to the photography programming, Doors Open Toronto is launching a new program initiative called "Ask A Photographer." At select venues throughout the city, expert photographers will be available to offer advice on architectural photography. Details to be announced shortly.

More photography programming and venue information is available at

Doors Open Toronto will officially launch on Friday, May 27 when the Royal Ontario Museum opens its doors to the public for free from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. (excluding its ticketed event "Water: The Exhibition").

Doors Open Toronto has attracted more than 1.9 million visitors since it began. Toronto was the first North American city to launch a Doors Open event and has advised similar programs like Doors Open Ontario and Open House New York. The award-winning Doors Open Toronto is produced by the City of Toronto and sponsored by The Toronto Star. Media sponsor: Citytv and OMNI Television.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
Shane Gerard
Senior Communications Coordinator



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