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June 18, 2008
Record-breaking attendance at 9th annual Doors Open Toronto
More than 240,000 visitors, inspired by a special focus on Toronto’s Sacred Spaces, Sacred Circles, toured 150 Toronto venues of architectural, historic and cultural significance on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25. Attendance surpassed last year’s total by 10,000 visitors.

At the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (near Finch Ave. W. and Highway 427), 17,000 visitors toured the exquisite new marble temple in two days - the highest attendance ever recorded at a Doors Open Toronto venue. According to BAPS spokesperson, Haresh Bhatt, “On Saturday we had a huge line of visitors . . . it was truly spectacular . . . visitors’ feedback was great and people enjoyed the architecture and experienced the divinity and peace in the building.”

Other Sacred Spaces, Sacred Circles venues that drew large crowds included St. James’ Cathedral (4,049) and Church of the Redeemer (3,300), where free musical performances by members of Tafelmusik enhanced the visitor experience at both sites. Metropolitan United Church attracted 2,200 and the Kiever Synagogue in Kensington Market, a first-time Doors Open Toronto participant, was visited by 2,100 people in one day. Toronto’s only Zoroastrian Temple, Mehraban Guiv Darbe Mehr, hosted close to 1,000 visitors at this unique sacred space.

Old City Hall was the busiest of the National Historic Sites featured on this year’s roster with 10,415 visitors, followed by Osgoode Hall (9,000), the Ontario Legislative Building - Queen’s Park (6,067), the John St. Roundhouse (6,000), the Distillery Historic District (5,000), the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (2,632), Fort York (2,066) and the Arts and Letters Club (1,500 in one day).

“Doors Open Toronto has entered the heart and soul of Toronto. Everywhere I went that weekend I saw Torontonians discovering something new about themselves, their city and each other through encounters with the old, the new and the sacred spaces in our city. It really was a great opportunity to renew our faith in Toronto’s architecture,” said Rita Davies, Executive Director, Toronto Culture.

Perennial favourites that proved to be popular again this year included Black Creek Pioneer Village (7,771), City Hall (6,000), Canada Life Building (5,500), Casa Loma Hunting Lodge, Potting Shed and Stables (5,209), Toronto Botanical Garden (5,194), Don Valley Brick Works (5,000), Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (4,731 in one day), Spadina Museum: Historic House & Garden (4,514), CBC’s Canadian Broadcasting Centre (4,000), Campbell House Museum (3,509), Royal Canadian Military Institute (3,145), Gardiner Museum (3,027 in one day) and TTC Bay Lower Subway Station (3,000 in one day).

The University of Toronto downtown campus drew a total of 12,000 visits at 12 featured buildings, from Annesley Hall (National Historic Site) to Wycliffe College, which included a self-guided walking tour developed by students in the Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative at the Centre for the Study of Religion.

The Doors Open Toronto free kick-off event, hosted by Mayor David Miller at the Royal Ontario Museum on Friday, May 23, drew 8,418 visitors that evening.

Other new additions to Doors Open Toronto this year included the only private residence on the roster, Courtyard House (1,100), the newly opened Chef School at George Brown College (1,344 in one day), the Malabar Ltd. Costume Warehouse (1,012), the home of Canadian Blood Services, Central Ontario (490 in one day), the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf - Evangelical Church of the Deaf and The Manor (700). Three evocative sites (without doors) were: the Toronto Public Labyrinth (1,625), Ireland Park (200) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Historic Walls (300).

Presented by the Toronto Star and the City of Toronto, Doors Open Toronto is a Live with Culture signature event. CBC Radio One and CBC Television are the official media sponsors. Program sponsors include: Toronto Society of Architects, Woodcliffe, and Wright Real Estate Ltd. Program partners include: Tafelmusik, The Toronto Consort, Parks Canada, Royal Ontario Museum, Pecha Kucha Toronto, and Toronto Youth Ambassadors Network. 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

The 10th anniversary of Doors Open Toronto will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24, 2009 with a special focus on Literary Toronto. LIT CITY 2009, a new initiative engaging Toronto’s authors and architecture, books and buildings, pages and places, celebrates Toronto’s 175th anniversary in March and culminates with the Doors Open Toronto weekend.

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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