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May 8, 2008
Ninth annual Doors Open Toronto, free admission to 150 buildings - Renew your faith in Toronto architecture May 24 and 25
From Aboriginal centres to a Zoroastrian temple, the 9th annual Doors Open Toronto will feature the city’s Sacred Spaces, Sacred Circles. This city-wide celebration of Toronto’s built heritage and design excellence showcases 150 venues of architectural, historic, cultural and social significance on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25. Among the 42 new sites on this year’s roster are many of the city’s finest churches, chapels, temples, synagogues and mosques, including Toronto’s oldest Black institution, First Baptist Church on Huron St., the Kiever Synagogue in Kensington Market, Friends House (Quaker Meeting House) in the Annex and the Masjid Toronto, a busy mosque in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Several free concerts will be presented as part of the Sacred Spaces, Sacred Circles collaboration with Tafelmusik Orchestra and The Toronto Consort, including Tafelmusik String Quartet at Church of the Redeemer and the Gardiner Museum on May 24; and Tafelmusik Chamber Group, East Meets West - Sympathetic Strings and Sacred Indian Classical Music at the Heliconian Hall on May 24. City Hall will host Sacred Sounds of the East, featuring Hindu, Muslim and Sikh musicians, on May 24; and The Voice of My Beloved - Music from the Song of Songs with Jewish Cantor Gershon Silins and the Toronto Chamber Choir on May 25.

First Nations House at the University of Toronto and the Native Canadian Centre on Spadina Rd. will welcome visitors on May 24 as well Archaeological Services Inc., with rare artefacts and Aboriginal leaders discussing archaeologists’ work with First Nations traditionalists. Also new is the breath-taking temple at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, with glistening domes and ornate marble pillars (near Finch Ave. W. and Highway 427). Toronto’s oldest church, Little Trinity Anglican (1843-44) on King St. E., and its newest, the award-winning Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church, designed by Teeple Architects, represent traditional and modern architecture. Toronto-area Zoroastrians will open the doors of their temple, Mehraban Guiv Darbe Mehr, housed in a 1922 mansion near Bayview and Steeles Aves.

Among the downtown churches joining this year’s program are: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church; Saint-Simon-the-Apostle, an 1887 Arts-and-Crafts edifice; the neighbouring St. Paul’s Bloor Street Church; as well as two edifices designed by architect Henry Langley: St. Luke’s United Church (1872), which is located opposite Allan Gardens (also on the roster); and Toronto Chinese Baptist Church (1886) on Beverley St. Yorkminster Park Baptist Church will feature a public rehearsal by The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir on May 24 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and nearby Grace Church on-the-Hill will host a talk and tour by world-renowned stained-glass artist, Sarah Hall on May 25 at 2 p.m. Architect Sander Gladstone will be at the completely renovated Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church of St. Archangel Michael. The University of Toronto downtown campus features 12 buildings, including the intimate St. Catherine’s Chapel, Massey College, linked to the Sacred Spaces, Sacred Circles theme with a self-guided walking tour.

Other new additions to Doors Open Toronto this year include the only private residence on the roster, Courtyard House, the newly opened Chef School at George Brown College, the Malabar Ltd. Costume Warehouse, the home of Canadian Blood Services, Central Ontario, the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf - Evangelical Church of the Deaf and The Manor. Three evocative sites (without doors) are: the Toronto Public Labyrinth, Ireland Park and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Historic Walls, built by unpaid patient labourers at the then Provincial Lunatic Asylum on Queen St. W.

Popular favourites returning this year include: Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist Temple; Don Valley Brick Works; Palais Royale Ballroom; the Horse Palace at Exhibition Place; the TTC’s Lower Bay station; and several National Historic Sites, such as Osgoode Hall; Old City Hall; the Distillery Historic District; the John Street Roundhouse, with tours of Steam Whistle Brewing and displays by the Toronto Railway Historical Association; the Royal Alexandra Theatre; the Arts and Letters Club; St. Anne’s Anglican Church; and the Chapel of St. James-the-Less, with tours of its historic cemetery. In conjunction with Doors Open Toronto, Parks Canada will launch National Historic Sites Urban Walks: Toronto ( - a new website that will highlight Toronto’s 35 National Historic Sites.

Doors Open Toronto kicks off on Friday, May 23 at the Royal Ontario Museum; free admission from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Join Mayor David Miller at 6 p.m. for the celebrations, which include Tafelmusik and The Toronto Consort with Sampradaya Dance Creations. At 7:30 p.m., Pecha Kucha Toronto Vol. 2 will deliver a high-energy showcase with architects, designers, former mayor John Sewell and Jeanne Lamon of Tafelmusik, presenting their sacred spaces.

Note: Most buildings are open on one or both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., however there are always exceptions. Confirm times for each venue. No pre-registration or tickets are required. The complete program is available at The official program guide will be in the Toronto Star on Thursday, May 22. Public event information: 416-338-3888. The Doors Open Toronto Weekend Information Centre is located at CBC’s Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front St. W. and is open Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Doors Open Toronto is presented by the Toronto Star and is a Signature Event of Toronto Culture and Live with Culture. CBC Radio One and CBC Television are the official media sponsors. Program sponsors: Toronto Society of Architects; Woodcliffe. Toronto Culture promotes the development of arts, culture and heritage throughout the city, providing direct cultural services through its museums, historic sites and visual arts centres, and supporting the entire cultural sector of the community. Visit and

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Jane French, Project Manager, Doors Open Toronto, Toronto Culture, 416-338-0496,
Christopher Jones, Doors Open Toronto, Toronto Culture, 416-392-6832,



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