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Contents: (click to skip-to)
This Year's Event
Doors Open Background
Volunteer Information
Doors Open After Dark


Doors Open Background

What is Doors Open Guelph?

Doors Open Guelph is a day-long celebration of Guelph's finest buildings, creative spaces, and artistically or architecturally relevant sites. The program aims to showcase and celebrate the hidden gems as well as the great resources, businesses, and creative spaces in Guelph.

Doors Open Guelph is a program of Guelph Arts Council. Guelph Arts Council is a not-for-profit, charitable community arts council dedicated to the encouragement, stimulation and co-ordination of arts and heritage activities in Guelph and surrounding areas. 

What is the History of Doors Open Guelph?

Doors Open Guelph was launched by Guelph Arts Council in partnership with Heritage Guelph and Guelph Tourism in 2002 to celebrate Guelph's 175th anniversary and to increase awareness of the City's tremendously rich architectural and historical heritage. Since 2002, Guelph Arts Council has delivered the annual program, recording an average of some 6,000+ site visitors per year to many of Guelph's finest buildings whose owners have generously opened their doors for free public tours. Between 25 and 50 per cent of those attending each year have been visitors to Guelph. One of the main reasons for the past success of Doors Open Guelph events has been the enthusiasm and hard work of close to 150 volunteers who have served as tour guides, sweeps (following along behind the tours), greeters, counters, researchers, sign crew, photographers, and more.

Since its inception, Doors Open Guelph has been part of Doors Open Ontario, an Ontario Heritage Trust province-wide initiative that was also launched in 2002 to celebrate community heritage. The intent of Doors Open Guelph is to build awareness of creative, artistic, cultural, built, and natural heritage among community residents and visitors by providing free access to buildings and properties of architectural and historical value. Doors Open Guelph has had the distinction of being the kick-off event for Doors Open Ontario, opening the province-wide initiative for several years.


When is Doors Open Guelph?

The 2019 event will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Once again, it will be the first of more than 50 such events taking place across the province.


Who runs Doors Open Guelph?

Doors Open Guelph is delivered by Guelph Arts Council and supported by a steering commity of community stakeholders. As a charity, Guelph Arts Council is supported by operating funds from the City of Guelph and the Ontario Arts Council. However, most of our funding comes from donations, sponsorship, our members, events, and the delivery of programs like Doors Open Guelph, Art on the Street, and our Historical Walking Tours.

As a membership-based organization, we ask that businesses and participants in Doors Open Guelph consider contributing to the success of Guelph Arts Council and Doors Open Guelph by becoming a member or by showing your support of our mandate and mission by becoming a sponsor, making a donation, providing site-specific volunteers or by helping us promote Doors Open Guelph throughout your own networks and community.

Who is Funding Doors Open Guelph?

Doors Open Guelph is funded by Guelph Arts Council with the support of the City of Guelph. Additional funding and support is sourced through sponsorships, donations and in-kind contributions from community businesses.

Where can one get more information?

Patti Broughton, Executive Director
Guelph Arts Council
10C Shared Space, 42 Carden Street, Guelph N1H3A2

(519) 836-3280 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This Year's Event - Saturday, April 27, 2019, 10am - 4pm*

*The last tour departs at 3:40pm or earlier if required by lineup, in order to allow sites to close at 4pm.

Doors Open is a free community event and no tickets or registration are required. The hours are 10 – 4, and you can begin at any featured site and visit as many as you like over the course of the day. There may be line-ups at some sites. 

This year Doors Open Guelph will be enhanced by Telling Guelph’s Stories, an event-within-an-event that will increase the role the arts play in Doors Open. Visitors can experience dramatic storytelling at the Gow Bridge with artist Jay Wilson, guided public art and downtown gallery walks, and arts activations at Doors Open sites.

What buildings will be open for Doors Open Guelph?

2019 site information will be published on Doors Open Ontario's website http://www.doorsopenontario.on.ca/ and below.


Site 1:
Marcolongo Heritage Farm
2162 Gordon Street

4. Marcolongo Heritage Farm

Settled in 1833, this was one of the first farms in Puslinch Township. In 1878, James Blair built the granite fieldstone house. The original timber-framed small barn and the large bank barn built in the 1880s or 90s have been restored. Protection of theproperty as a Cultural Heritage Landscape under the Ontario Heritage Act has been proposed.

Trails Open: The Guelph Hiking Club will run 15-20 minute hikes throughout the day at Marcolongo Heritage Farm.

On site parking (parallel parking, long driveway)
Accessibility: unpaved paths, house not wheelchair accessible.  

Volunteer training day: Wednesday, April 3, 4pm

Volunteer >

Site 2:
Trails Open - 2162 Gordon Street, from Marcolongo Heritage Farm to Hall's Pond
14. Trails Open Marcolongo Farm Halls Pond

Unique one-off opportunity to view the most important natural area within city limits, Hall's Pond. 30 minute walks from the Marcolongo Farm back to this series of kettle lakes embedded within the Paris moraine ponds will take place throughout the day.

Hikes led by Guelph Hiking Trail Club, presenting the 10th year of Trails Open.

On site parking (parallel parking, long driveway)
Accessibility: poor due to unpaved paths

Volunteer training day: NA - thank you to Guelph Hiking Trail Club! 

Volunteer >

Site 3:
KidsAbility Centre for Child Development
503 Imperial Road North
11. KidsAbility Centre for Child Development

KidsAability has provided services to Guelph children and youth with special needs since 2000.  The present new hub has 20,000 sq. ft. of space customized to reflect best-care practices. The stunning Canadiana-themed rooms and hall decor create a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere where children can work to reach their full potential.

On site parking
Wheelchair accessible
Fun for kids

Volunteer training day: Wednesday April 10, 4pm

Volunteer >

Site 4:
92 Speedvale Avenue W
2. Greenbriar

Built circa 1865 - 67, this Neo-Classical Vernacular house set on its lot of heritage trees is a treasure trove of antiques and art. The house features original woodwork and glass. Art by local artists as well as many unique collections are displayed through the house.

Suggested parking: Kathleen Street
Accessibility: poor due to stairs.

No photography


Volunteer training day: Friday, April 12, 4pm

Volunteer >

Site 5:

Diyode Community Workshop
183 Dufferin Street

9. Diyode Community Workshop

Diyode is a Guelph-based collective dedicated to re-invigorating the do-it-yourself movement.  Situated in the former Carson Reid Homes office, the 2500 sq. ft. workshop contains tools and supplies for wood and metal working, electronics, prototyping and crafting. Diyode members will demonstrate uses of the tools and workshop areas.

On site parking
Fun for kids
Accessibility: poor due to stairs

Volunteer training day: Tuesday, April 2, 6pm

Volunteer >

Site 6:
The Victory School
135 Exhibition Street

1. The Victory School

Built due to a population spike, the school was named after the Allied victory that ended the First World War. It opened in 1919, with an addition in 1953. Its original brass rails and wooden floors enhance the gracious image presented by its red brick exterior and park setting.

On site parking
Fun for kids
Accessibility: poor due to stairs.  

Photography of architecture permitted 
No photography of students

Volunteer training day: Tuesday, April 2, 4pm

Volunteer >

Site 7:
Aberdeen House
17 Aberdeen Street

12. 17 Aberdeen Street

Built c. 1880, new owners hired Evolve Builders in 2016 to reconstruct the interior of this Ontario Cottage while leaving intact its external heritage appearance.  It is now among the most energy efficient homes in the city with an air-tight envelope, heat pump, and many water-saving devices to make this a  Blue Built Home. Presented in partnership with eMERGE Guelph.

Suggested parking; neighbourhood streets
Accessibility: moderate due to steps and ledges

Volunteer training day: Wednesday, April 3, 6pm

Volunteer >

Site 8:
Lornewood Mansion
125 Norfolk Street

3. Lornewood Mansion or The Mortgage Centre

Lornewood was built by Charles Raymond in 1867 and enlarged later with the Tuscan bays and tower. It was named after an 1879 visit from the Marquis of Lorne and his wife Princess Louise. The house has been restored with its original ornate black walnut trim, ceilings, lead-glass windows, carpets and elaborate furniture.

Suggested parking: neighbourhood streets, Baker Street Lot (pay-to-park)
Accessibility: steps and ledges, no flights of stairs. 

 Site sponsor: Grinham Architects

Volunteer training day: Tuesday, April 9, 6pm

Volunteer >

Site 9:
The Sovereign
66 Macdonell Street

13. The Sovereign

Built in Second Empire style and designed by John Day, The Sovereign stands as an interesting neighbour to the Petrie Building. The mansard roof, ornate dormers, and false corner tower create an impressive presence. The original ballroom was once used by the Independent Order of Oddfellows, whose symbols survive in the restored offices. It is now the offices of Williams and McDaniel Property Management.

Site sponsor: Williams and McDaniel Property Management.

No Photography
Suggested parking: downtown street parking, downtown parking lots (pay-to-park)
Accessibility: partial - there are elevators, but one section of the tour has a step/ledge

Volunteer training day: Thursday, April 11, 4pm

Volunteer >

Site 10:
Provincial Offences Court
59 Carden St

8. Provincial Offences Court

Built in 1856, this building served as Guelph City Hall until 2009. Designed by William Thomas in the Victorian Renaissance Revival style, it features elaborately-carved stone features.  In 2009, it was beautifully rehabilitated as a courthouse, conserving original windows, crown mouldings, arched jail cells, and a grand performance hall.

Wheelchair accessible
Suggested parking: downtown street parking, downtown parking lots (pay-to-park)

No photography

Volunteer training day:  Friday, April 5, 4pm

Volunteer >

Site 11:
Spring Mill Distillery
43 Arthur Street

10. Spring Mill Distillery

The limestone building was built in 1835 as Allan’s Distillery, an addition to their grist mill.  The Distillery grew with the addition of several buildings. In 1876, the complex became the A.R. Wyatt Company which made lawn mowers and hardware. Over the years, several large manufacturers have used the buildings, now extensively restored to become a restaurant and distillery.

On site parking
Wheelchair accessible
Photography restricted to permitted areas

**Closed toe shoes required. No high heels**

Volunteer training day: Tuesday, April 9, 4pm

Volunteer >

Site 12:
Heritage Hall
83 Essex Street

7. Heritage Hall

Built in 1880, this building served as the British Methodist Episcopal Church.   Constructed in Gothic Revival Style with local limestone, it offered a place of safety and community for the black community, including descendants of runaway slaves.  In 2012, the building was purchased by the Guelph Black Heritage Society to create a cultural, historical and social centre.

Suggested parking: neighbourhood streets
Accessibility: poor due to stairs.

Volunteer training day: Thursday, April 4, 4pm

Volunteer >

Site 13:
Gow Bridge Stories
Gow Bridge (Speed River, near McCrae Blvd at Water Street)6. Gow Bridge Stories

Built in 1897, this stone bridge is one of only ten stone bridges remaining in Ontario.  Peter Gow built the first bridge in this location to bypass the toll gate at Gordon Street. Guelph theatre artist Jay Wilson will tell stories of the bridge, the Brooklyn area, and of some of the scandalous events that took place nearby.  Check schedule for performance times.

Suggested parking: neighbourhood streets
Accessibility: moderate due to mix of paved and unpaved surfaces.

Gow Bridge Tour Schedule:
  • 10:00-10:30 am
  • 10:45-11:15 am
  • 11:30-Noon
  • 12:15-12:45 pm
  • 1:15-1:45 pm
  • 2:00-2:30 pm
  • 2:45-3:15 pm
  • 3:30-4:00 pm

Volunteer training day: NA, volunteers will receive orientation at the beginning of shift on event day.

Volunteer >

Site 14:
St Mary's Ukrainian Church
115 York Road

5. St. Marys Ukrainian Church


The church was built between 1953 and 1962 with three onion domes added in 1963 and a parish centre in 1983. Beautiful painted liturgical icons are featured throughout the church. The active church community hosts several bazaars, a popular borscht festival, and a weekly mass.

Volunteer training day: [CANCELLED]

Volunteer at another site >


Art walking tours with artist collective  Ahmri + Abby

Join artist collective Ahmri + Abby on their free walking tours of amazing downtown art gallery spaces, artist-run centres. Tours leave at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, and 2:30pm from the People Information Network, 46 Cork Street.

Featured stops include 10C Shared Space, Renann Isaacs Contemporary Art Gallery, Boarding House Arts, Silence Sounds, Rosanne Morris, Arienne Wesley and Mary Karavos Studios and more!


Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing




 Doors Open After Dark

Launching the weekend, Guelph Museums’ Doors Open After Dark will celebrate Guelph’s 192nd birthday, and commemorate the 240th birthday of Guelph founder John Galt, with history and art activations at and around the Civic Museum from 9 pm April 26 to 1 am April 27. Artists and historians can respond to a Call to Artists for Doors Open Guelph and Doors Open After Dark by visiting guelphmuseums.ca.




Did you know that our Doors Open Guelph volunteers get a front-of-the-line pass to all the other Doors Open sites? 

Volunteer either morning (9:30-1) or afternoon (12:45-4:15) and spend the rest of the day touring buildings with incredible architecture, amazing facilities, and intriguing stories! Volunteer roles mostly involve greeting visitors and helping guide them through the space. Site Captains help support other volunteers throughout the day.

Training is provided to all volunteers. There will be a brief orientation session for each site, where you’ll have the chance to see the space where you'll be volunteering, get a sense of the tour, meet the other volunteers for that site, and ask questions. Orientation sessions are held in early April.


1) Tour Guides of historical buildings and creative spaces 
2) Greeters to meet the public and organize tour group 
3) Counters to assist the greeter and count participants 
4) Sweeps to follow the tours and keep participants moving 
5) Site Captains to put out event signs, welcome and support their site's volunteers, liaise with staff

Tour Guides are provided with pre-researched notes about their site ahead of time. On event day, guides lead groups of visitors on 15-20 minute tours, telling facts and stories to do with that site.  Guides are generally provided with more info than can be fit into a short tour time, so guides pick the points that resonate with them and bring their own flair and style to it!

Sweeps bring up the rear of the tour group and keep participants together and help the tour guides keep time so the to tour stays on schedule. Sweeps are the quiet heroes of the event, keeping the flow and supporting the whole group. 
Greeters meet the public, offer information and organize the next tour group. The Greeter-Counter team is the indispensable front line that welcomes our many excited visitors and sets the tone for the site. This team provides site and event info, encourages visitors to fill out brief surveys, and generally provide a friendly face for visitors. 

Counters assist the greeter and count participants on a clicker, recording the tally on a provided sheet, which gets placed back in the 'site box' at the end of the day, to be returned by the Site Captain to the GAC office. Beyond being a front line friendly face, Counters help us understand flow of visitors and without them, we can't brag about how many people came out to enjoy the day!
Site Captains pick up signage at the 'site box' ahead of time from the GAC office. The site box has volunteer materials like name tags and info packets, emergency contact info etc. It also has information for visitors, to be placed on the greeting table. Site Captains arrive before the first volunteer shift in the morning, put out the event signage, visitor info on the greeting table and welcome volunteers, ensuring they get their nametags and any other info they need. Captains assist where needed, cover breaks, liaise with GAC event staff if needed, help ensure shift change goes smoothly, and return materials to the office at the end of the day. Site Captains are a bit of magic that lets us 'be everywhere at once'!



Regular volunteer shifts on event day are 9:30 - 1:00 or 12:45 - 4:15. Site Captains deliver materials and install signs at 9 a.m., collect and return them after 4 p.m., and act as liaison throughout the event day.


Doors Open Guelph will be held this year on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Mark your calendars for a day-long celebration of Guelph's finest buildings, creative spaces, and artistically or architecturally relevant sites. Doors Open Guelph has the distinction of being the annual kick-off event for Doors Open Ontario. Presented annually by Guelph Arts Council since 2002, the program showcases and celebrates Guelph’s hidden gems, as well as our great resources, businesses, and creative spaces.


Please note there will be two general orientation and information sessions to choose from: March 5 and 7, 5pm at City Hall (1 Carden Street, Guelph)

There will also be on-site training sessions scheduled for early April to help familiarise volunteers with their assigned site and practice the tour. Volunteers of past events have found the on-site session extremely helpful and highly recommend volunteers attend their site's session, which typically takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

Doors Open Guelph’s success is due to the enthusiasm and hard work of volunteers who serve as tour guides, sweeps, greeters, counters, researchers, site captains, photographers, and more. Join us as a volunteer and help make Doors Open Guelph a true community celebration. Please fill out this short form to register your interest.  Site Captains will be contacted first. Regular shift volunteers will be contacted in February to select site, role and shift. 


If you have any questions, please contact Katie Wilde by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone at 519-836-3280


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