With all sorts of events happening year round in Ontario, there’s seriously never a dull moment in the province. And this upcoming fall season (which we're thoroughly pumped about – PSL and oversized sweaters, anyone?) is no exception.
Whether you’re into exploring nature, being wowed by architectural and historical sites, or just want to take in as much culture as possible, there’s something for everyone to check out this fall thanks to Ontario Heritage Trust’s special “Doors Open Ontario” event series!
In September and October, 22 different Doors Open Ontario events are happening province-wide, many of them within a two-hour drive from the GTA, making them super convenient to get to. This event series has been recognized among the Top 100 Festivals and Events in Ontario, so be sure to keep a few weekends free this autumn to pencil these awesome events into your calendar!
1. Wong Dai Sin Temple (Doors Open Markham)
Address: 378 Steeles Avenue East, Thornhill, ON
Why you need to go: Looking to admire prized architecture and reconnect with your spiritual self? Look no further than the modern Taoist Wong Dai Sin Temple. Encased in a stunning contemporary structure that won the 2016 Governor General’s Medal for Architecture, you can practice finding inner balance while trying your hand at tai chi and finding your inner calm. Visit this site on Saturday, September 7 from 10:00 AM–4:00 PM.
2. Research Casting International (Doors Open Quinte West)
Address: 15 Dufferin Avenue, Trenton, Ontario
Why you need to go: If you’re into palaeontology and ancient artifacts, this one’s for you! The RCI is opening its doors free of charge on Saturday, September 14 from 10:00 AM–4:00 PM to allow visitors to explore some of the world’s rarest and most precious palaeontological specimens. The RCI is one of the biggest providers of museum technical services, having worked with everything from mounting skeletons of dinos to those of the Blue Whale at the Royal Ontario Museum.
3. Tweed Visitor at Canopy Growth Corporation (Doors Open Smiths Falls)
Address: 1 Hershey Drive, Smiths Falls, ON
Why you need to go: You love chocolate and weed. This converted Hershey’s Chocolate Factory-turned-cannabis grow-op is the leading organization in our country’s cannabis sector, focusing on getting a productive conversation going about all things cannabis in Canada. Be sure to stop by their Visitors Centre on Saturday, September 14 from 10:00 AM–3:00 PM.
4. Faculty of Information and Media Studies (Doors Open London)
Address: Corner of Lambton Drive and Huron Drive (Western University), London, ON
Why you need to go: If you’re a student considering a future in media and communications, visit the University of Western Ontario on Saturday, September 14 from 11:00 AM–3:00 PM to experience a day in the life of a media professional. This is the place where many local TV interviews are conducted, including for TVOntario. You’ll have the chance to tour a real broadcasting studio and even be able to take a seat in the news anchor chair to read from a teleprompter – make sure to look your best for the camera!
5. Banting House NHS (Doors Open London)
Address: 442 Adelaide Street North, London, ON
Why you need to go: You love history and, specifically, medicine. Visit the Banting House National Historic Site of Canada to pay homage to Banting, the man who made one of the biggest medical discoveries of the 20th century: insulin. From Saturday, September 14 to Sunday, September 15 from 10:00 AM–4:00 PM, head to the home where Banting discovered his medical breakthrough for self-guided and expert guided tours where you can take in an exhibit honoring the Flame of Hope and the Royal Visit’s 30th anniversary.
6. Nelles Manor (Doors Open Grimsby)
Address: 126 Main Street West, Grimsby, ON
Why you need to go: If you love gorgeous, old, gigantic homes, this is for you. Nestled in between Niagara-on-the-Lake and Kingston lies Nelles Manor Museum, a centuries-old beautiful stone mansion. It was initially built Robert Nelles, a United Empire Loyalist Colonel (say that five times fast) in 1788, making it 231 years old! If you’re charmed by the history and romance of 18th-century architecture, stop by Nelles Manor on Saturday, September 21 from 10:00 AM–4:00 PM to tour the museum and heritage house.
7. K2 Milling (Doors Open Simcoe County)
Address: 120 Dayfoot Street, Beeton, ON
Why you need to go: Whiskey and vodka tasting. Family-owned K2 Milling is an artisanal flour mill that’s been around for the last 28 years – following a 128-year family legacy in flour milling – that produces some of the finest flour in the province. On Saturday, September 21 from 10:00 AM–4:00 PM, stop by the flour mill to taste test the mill’s whiskey and vodka that’s made from their very own flour!
8. Articus at Lot42 (Doors Open Waterloo Region)
Address: 41 Ardelt Place, Kitchener, ON
Why you need to go: Get ready for the circus! Articus Productions is a training centre for kids and adults alike who are interested in the art du cirque. Located at Lot42, an event venue and historical landmark, their aerial classes for people of all ages as well as performance shows by industry professionals will inspire you to, well, run off and join the circus. Pay them a visit on Saturday, September 21 at one of their sessions from 10:30 AM–11:30 AM, 1:30 PM–2:30 PM, or 3:30 PM–4:30 PM.
9. Carmel New Church (Doors Open Waterloo Region)
Address: 40 Chapel Hill Drive, Kitchener, ON
Why you need to go: To check out a one-of-a-kind architectural structure. Designed by John Lingwood, one of the most creative architects of the mid-20th century, Carmel New Church is a stunning prime example of mid-century modern architecture. What makes this building so original, however, is its origami interior which promises to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Visit Carmel New Church on Saturday, September 21 from 10:00 AM–5:00 PM.
10. Brampton Armoury (Doors Open Brampton)
Address: 12 Chapel Street, Brampton, ON
Why you need to go: If you’re into military history, you’ve gotta check this one out. The Brampton Armoury has been a recognized Federal Heritage Building since 1991 and is one of the 11 drill halls built in Ontario from 1876 to 1918. Although it’s a recognized Heritage Site, the Armoury is still used by the Lorne Scots to this day! Check it out on Saturday, September 28 from 10:00 AM–4:00 PM.
11. Intrepid Park, Camp X (Doors Open Oshawa)
Address: Meet at the monument off Boundary Road, south of Wentworth Street West Oshawa, ON
Why you need to go: You’re a WWII (or spy) buff. Intrepid Park’s Camp X is a site that’s crawling with historical adventure and allure. What once was a top-secret World War II spy training school is now a site that’s yours to explore, giving you the opportunity to bring your 007 dreams to life. Join a walking tour on Saturday, September 28 at 10:30 AM or 1:30 PM.
12. NUVO Network (Doors Open Burlington)
Address: 1295 North Service Road, Burlington, ON
Why you need to go: For the ultimate multimedia experience. If you’re looking to kickstart your creative juices, check out NUVO Network’s facilities on Saturday, September 28 from 10:00 AM–4:00 PM. Their ultra-modern facilities cover 13,935m² of studio space, providing the ultimate setup for any and all content creators, entrepreneurs, and innovators of all kinds.
13. Bench Brewing (Doors Open Lincoln)
Address: 3991 King Street, Lincoln (Vineland), ON
Why you need to go: Local beers. This craft brewery was once the former longest-running school in the province, having been in operation for 182 years. However, since 2014, Bench Brewery has been running these grounds, producing some of the finest quality craft beers that you can get in the province. Come and have a few brews on Saturday, October 5 from 10:00 AM–2:00 PM.
14. St. Thomas Elevated Park (Doors Open St. Thomas)
Address: Enter at the intersection of King and Centre streets, St. Thomas, ON
Why you need to go: For the live music and history. St. Thomas Elevated Park and the Michigan Central Railway Bridge are integral to Ontario’s history and heritage, as far as railway transportation is concerned. Come on down to Canada’s first elevated park on Saturday, October 5 from 10:00 AM–10:00 PM to experience live music, a twilight concert, and much more!
Fall isn't just a super cozy season loved by many; it's also the perfect time to rediscover your surroundings and embark on a few fun adventures with friends. These are just a handful of the 22 amazing events happening all across the province this fall as part of the Ontario Heritage Trust’s Doors Open Ontario series of events. So be sure to put on your comfiest sweater and tackle at least a few of these exciting options!