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May 25, 2009
10th anniversary Doors Open Toronto record-breaking weekend - 250,000 visitors
More than 250,000 visitors, young and old, discovered and explored Toronto’s buildings on Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24. They toured 175 Toronto venues of architectural, historic and cultural significance, shattering last year’s attendance record in celebration of Doors Open Toronto’s 10th anniversary.

At the ROM party on Friday, May 22, about 6,300 revelers including Mayor David Miller kicked off the weekend with readings, music and more. City Hall, the new Doors Open Toronto headquarters, welcomed 10,000 participants to the Mayor’s Office, the Council Chamber and the observation deck. Everyone wanted to go to jail this weekend, with long lineups for the Don Jail tour.

The public came out for architecture and also for authors, as “books met buildings” in the grand finale of Lit City - a three-month festival that celebrated writers who find inspiration in Toronto and use the city as a setting in their work. Robert Rotenberg read from his legal thriller, "Old City Hall," at this year’s most attended site, Old City Hall (12,280 visitors). Anthony De Sa read to a packed audience at the Factory Theatre from "Barnacle Love," with crowds of people waiting outside for his guided walking tour through Little Portugal - the Toronto setting of the novel. Union Station’s unforgettable “Journeys to the City” magical program of readings, theatre and spontaneous performances, presented by Diaspora Dialogues, brought smiles and tears to thousands passing through the great building.

Doors Open Toronto building highlights included the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple, drawing crowds with 10,751 visits to this masterpiece of hand-carved marble, limestone, sandstone and wood. The TTC Greenwood Maintenance Shop had 4,000 visits (Saturday), Fire Hall 423 Junction welcomed 1,000 people and the 1950s retro bowling alley, Shamrock Bowl, had 1,280 Doors Open Toronto visitors.

Perennial favourites that proved to be popular included Black Creek Pioneer Village (9,913 visitors), art deco darlings the Carlu @ College Park (5,094), Canada Permanent Building (3,855) and Commerce Court (3,448); Distillery Historic District (10,000), Gardiner Museum (3934), Gladstone Hotel (1694), MaRS Discovery District (3,870), Osgoode Hall (9,767), Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens (5,670), St. James Cathedral (4,027) and the Toronto-Dominion Centre (2,300).

A representative from St. Thomas’s Church summed up the weekend by saying, “The act of opening the church doors to the larger community to celebrate Eden Smith's beautiful architecture has both enriched the lives of the members of our parish and thrilled many of our visitors who are seeing the building for the first time. Thank you for the privilege of being involved with Doors Open Toronto.”

Doors Open Toronto was an incredible success thanks to volunteers and building owners. Feedback is welcome at - enter for a chance to win dinner at the Keg Steakhouse, movie tickets from Cineplex Entertainment and a one-night complimentary stay for two in a Fairmont Deluxe Guestroom.

Planning is already underway for the 11th annual Doors Open Toronto on May 29 and 30, 2010.

Doors Open Toronto is produced by the City of Toronto and Toronto 175, sponsored by the Toronto Star. Media sponsor: CBC; program sponsor: Woodcliffe

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. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto’s incorporation as a city. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Jane French, Doors Open Toronto and Lit City, 416-338-0496,
Vanessa Higgs, Program Development Officer, Cultural Services, 416-338-0045,



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