Doors Open Toronto 2024 will have 163 sites across the city for exploration

Nick Westoll looks at Doors Open Toronto and has more on the new additions to the 2024 edition of the city-wide event.

A huge sugar plant on the Toronto waterfront and a signature downtown brewery are among the new places that will be free for exploration at this year’s Doors Open event.

There will be 163 sites open at various times on Saturday and/or Sunday, and of those properties 50 are new in 2024 compared to the previous year.

“(This opportunity is) very rare. Obviously, we’re not open to the public, so people can’t just come off the street and visit our site,” Rob Gentilcore, the general manager of the Redpath Sugar plant on Queens Quay East, said.

“This is an excellent opportunity for people to understand not only what we produce but what we mean here on the Toronto waterfront.”

Redpath Sugar participated in a handful of Doors Open Toronto events, and it last invited the public onto the property in 2019.

“I’ve been here coming close to 30 years and the transformation of this area has been immense, has been amazing,” he said, noting the company’s presence has shrunk to 11 acres with considerable development nearby.

“Redpath will do anywhere from 27 to 32 vessels per year here … each vessel carries roughly 20,000 to 25,000 metric tons of sugar per vessel that we offload.”

Gentilcore said people will be able to see and learn how plant staff unload and handle sugar from ships that come from South America, view and participate in baking demonstrations, visit the photo booth, and have the ability to ask the staff any sugar-related questions.

If you head west along Queens Quay and head up to Roundhouse Park, you will be able to go behind the scenes at Steam Whistle Brewing as the company marks 25 years since first moving into the heritage railway property.

“We’re going to be taking people into our private event spaces where you can see all those original brickwork, all the original pipes, all the original beams that you wouldn’t get to see on a daily basis,” Rachel Horkan, the general manager of the company’s taproom and restaurant, said during a tour of the property.

“It’s a historic building built in 1929. People walk by it every day, don’t realize what it has to offer, so we want to encourage people to come down, see what it’s like and come down here and … see the gorgeous architecture.”

Kristine Williamson, the City of Toronto’s programming lead for Doors Open, said the annual event is meant to promote buildings and those who help keep the properties operating.

“Some of these spaces do not ever open their doors to the public generally outside of Doors Open,” she said, adding it particularly caters to families and photographers.

“It is absolutely a celebration of architecture, but it’s really a celebration of Toronto and every single corner of Toronto from Etobicoke to Scarborough to North York to downtown.”

In addition to all the new properties, the 2024 event will have fan-favourite spots such as the Ontario legislature, Osgoode Hall and the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant.

At Toronto city hall, the rarely accessible 27th-floor observation deck will be open for visits as will Mayor Olivia Chow’s office and the council chambers.

“All of which will have some lineups, so definitely get there early,” Williamson said while encouraging patience.

She said this year’s theme is “hidden histories” and encouraged people to head out to try something new.

“Go see a space you’ve never seen before and I think you will really walk away with a new appreciation of everything that Toronto has to offer,” Williamson said.

Click here for a full listing of sites. Certain locations will have limited parking on site.

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