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30 May, 2018

Doors Open Ottawa 2018: the Art Bank and a few other places we might hit up this year

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Ottawa

Last night I attended the media launch of the 2018 edition of Doors Open Ottawa. We’ve participated in Doors Open for a few years and I’m so pleased that this amazing event has gained more and more traction every year. As Mayor Jim Watson put it in his opening remarks, Doors Open represents a unique opportunity to see a side of Ottawa that we haven’t seen before. I totally agree! If you haven’t heard about it before, Doors Open can be summarized in this way: dozens of buildings, places and spaces, open their doors to the public for tours. And it’s free! Some of the places on the list are ones you can see anytime on your own, like Maplelawn in Westboro, and others are the kinds of places you’d probably NEVER get to see otherwise, such as the Canada Council Art Bank, where the media launch took place. I had heard about the art bank, but until now I never fully grasped what they do and never truly understood the important role they play in Canadian art and culture. (Sidebar: this is only the second year the Art Bank has been part of Doors Open. So if you love art and can only visit one place, GO HERE. Here’s a bit more information about what’s in store for visitors to the Art Bank during Doors Open.)

The Art Bank took my breath away. This is the largest collection of contemporary Canadian artwork in the world: 17,000 works by over 3,000 artists. The Art Bank buys artwork from emerging Canadian artists, which they then rent to various businesses and organizations. Money raised from that goes to buying more art, etc.

A group of us had a guided tour through a giant warehouse of art – all kinds of art. It was wild.  Honestly, you have to see it to believe it. These photos do not do this place any justice whatsoever but will hopefully give you a tiny idea of what’s in store if you choose to visit.

Our guide was Claudio Marzano. He’s a curator of contemporary art and an art consultant at the Canada Council for the Arts / Art Bank and is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about art. He was the best guide, and I think he’s got the best job. Imagine being assigned to select some cool new art for the upcoming G7 summit? And being able to promote new/upcoming/diverse voices in the art world while you’re at it? #DREAMJOB

Doors Open Ottawa guided tour of the Canada Council Art Bank

Doors Open Ottawa guided tour of the Canada Council Art Bank

Doors Open Ottawa guided tour of the Canada Council Art Bank

Doors Open Ottawa guided tour of the Canada Council Art Bank

Doors Open Ottawa guided tour of the Canada Council Art Bank

Anyone recognize those tall white sculptures at the back there?

It was an amazing visit and I hope a few of you Fishies go see the Art Bank this year. I feel very fortunate I had the opportunity to see it. Here are a few other Doors Open stops I’d like to check out this year:

  • Beechwood Cemetery (New to Doors Open Ottawa!)
  • Canada Aviation and Space Museum Reserve Hangar
  • Bank of Canada
  • Flora Hall Brewing
  • Geomagnetic Laboratory of Natural Resources Canada
  • National Research Council Canada, Temple of Science
  • Hydro Ottawa’s new hydroelectric facility at Chaudiere Falls
  • OC Transpo Bus and Train Simulator Training Facility (although I have a feeling it’s going to be packed)
  • Ottawa Art Gallery
  • Saint-Francois d’Assise Church
  • The Royal Canadian Geographical Society

Phew. That’s a bit of a list, eh? At the very least I think it gives you an idea of the kinds of places that are represented. It’s not just churches, embassies, and heritage buildings, although there are plenty of those.

These are some places we’ve been and enjoyed in the past, in case you’re new to Doors Open and are not sure where to begin:

  • Dickinson House in Manotick
  • Ottawa Main Mosque
  • The Diefenbunker
  • Embassy of the Czech Republic
  • Enriched Bread Artists
  • HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel
  • Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards
  • Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre
  • Parkdale Food Centre
  • Piney’s Point Historic Site
  • Rideau Hall
  • Rogers TV
  • Royal Canadian Mint
  • Supreme Court of Canada
  • Thomson Hall a.k.a. Keg Manor (and Maplelawn garden)
  • Watson’s Mill
  • Westboro Masonic Hall

Here’s the entire 2018 Building List and handy Doors Open Ottawa 2018 Interactive Map. You can also view or download the 2018 Building Guide as a PDF. (This one is a bit easier to read.)

Good things to know before you go:

  • Doors Open Ottawa 2018 takes place June 2 and 3.
  • Make sure you check the list before heading out! Some places, such as the Art Bank, are only hosting tours on one of the two days.
  • Some places require advance registration online.
  • Driving and parking can be a challenge. One year we covered off a bunch of places that were biking and walking distance from our home. Did you know there’s a shuttle? It’s free, and it goes to nearly 50 different sites. Take a look at a PDF of the shuttle map right here.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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