Doors Open Vancouver is back for its second year on Saturday, October 3, which means more behind the scenes fun in our beautiful city. With 18 venues to choose from, it can be hard to decide. Luckily we’re here to help you plan your day.
Here are three ways to see and explore Doors Open Vancouver 2015. The full list of venues is available at doorsopenvan.ca.
For the young (and the young at heart)
Start the day in the False Creek Flats at the Vancouver Animal Services Shelter. Pets of all shapes and sizes are there to be seen (last year there was even a snake!) and many are available for adoption if you find one you particularly love.
Next, make your way to Vancouver Fire and Rescue Training Centre. A family favourite from last year, you’ll want to get here early as tours here last year filled by early afternoon. Another popular site for kids is the National Works Yard, where you can see behind the scenes at the facility that keeps this city running. Plus there are planned architectural tours to keep any stray parents busy as well.
Finally, make your way across the city and visit the Stanley Park Miniature Train. New to Doors Open this year, this tiny railway will be taking visitors on free rides all day! Afterwards you can easily walk to the Vancouver Police Department Mounted Unit Stables where officers and their equine companions will do horse training demonstrations throughout the day.
- National Works Yard; 701 National Avenue; Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Architect tours will take place with Scott Kemp and Michael Hickman.
- Stanley Park Miniature Train; Stanley Park (access from Stanley Park Bus Loop); Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Vancouver Animal Services Shelter; 1280 Raymur Avenue; Hours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Vancouver Fire and Rescue Training Centre; 1330 Chess Street; Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Limited capacity tours offered throughout the day (Check @doorsopenvan on Twitter of day-of capacity updates)
- Vancouver Police Department Mounted Unit; Stanley Park on Pipeline Road (Across from the Transit Loop); Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bonus: Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation Office
Before you head home make a stop at the Board of Parks and Recreation Office. Leslie Knope won’t be there, but they will be selling hundreds of young trees for the very low price of $10 each. You will also be able to make delivery arrangements with the Urban Forestry staff and possibly take part in a planting demo.
- Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation Administration Office; 2099 Beach Avenue; Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For the architecturally inclined
Start your tour at a building that is new to Doors Open this year, the Roundhouse Community Centre. Architectural tours will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that will give the highlights on how the building was transformed in the 1990s from a disparate trainyard to one of the most memorable community centres in the city.
Next, the Canada Line will make excellent transportation from Yaletown to the Orpheum. Designed in the Spanish Baroque Revival style, this vaudeville theatre built in 1927 is a must see with tours from Proscenium Architecture.
Now make your way on foot to the Vancouver Public Library to see the new Inspiration Lab and the garden space on level 8. Expert tours will be led by Varouj Gumuchian every hour between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Finally, be sure to check out the Woodward’s building. In addition to architectural tours from Henriquez Partners, Simon Fraser University is also offering tours of their ‘Hidden Pasts, Digital Futures’ exhibit as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival.
- Roundhouse Community Centre; 181 Roundhouse Mews; Hours Hours 10am – 5pm; Architect tours 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with Graham McGarva of VIA Architecture
- The Orpheum; 601 Smithe Street; Hours 1 to 5 p.m.; Tours of this site will be led by designers from Proscenium Architecture + Interiors
- Vancouver Public Library; 350 West Georgia Street; Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Expert tours will be led by Varouj Gumuchian of Varouj Gumuchian Architecture
- Woodward’s; 149 West Hastings Street; Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; May So from Henriquez Partners Architects will be leading limited capacity tours at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; ‘Hidden Pasts, Digital Futures’ must be registered for separately on the SFU Woodward’s webpage
Bonus: Queen Elizabeth Theatre
If you want to visit the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, be sure to get there early! The site will only be open until 2pm with tours led by Proscenium Architecture. New this year local artist, Emily Crewe will lead two public art tours outside the venue.
- Queen Elizabeth Theatre; 650 Hamilton Street; Hours 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Designers from Proscenium Architecture + Interiors will be leading specialty tours at this site; Artist and tour guide Emilie Crewe will lead one-hour public art tours nearby at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
For the community minded
Those who love to feel involved can get started early for Door Open this year at Vancouver City Hall! In addition to its Saturday hours, City Hall will also be open to the public on Friday from noon until 5 p.m. where you’ll be able to see the Mayor’s ceremonial office and learn about how to get involved in city programs.
The next tour stop will get you two for one as CityStudio and the 3-1-1 Call Centre are located in the same building. City Studio is home to the Keys to the Streets program along with many other innovation and interesting projects. Meanwhile, the call centre knows more about the City of Vancouver than anyone as they field any and all kinds of calls about the issues and operation of our fair city.
Finally, a pair of very different community centres near, and on, Main Street. First, the state-of-the-art Creekside Community Centre will be hosting free classes and tours throughout the day and you can also check out their boating centre and restaurant – did someone say, ‘Lunch stop’?
Then, if you’ve already pre-booked your tour (all spaces are full now!), you can see the Carnegie Community Centre, known as the living room of the downtown Eastside, you’ll see first-hand how amazing staff members and community members come together in community spirit to look out for each other and create a welcoming and supportive environment for those who need it most within the city.
- Carnegie Community Centre; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Advance registration is required for this venue and unfortunately the tours are already sold out!
- City Hall; 453 West 12th Avenue; Friday, October 2, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, October 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 3-1-1 Call Centre and CityStudio; 1800 Spyglass Place; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Creekside Community Centre; 1 Athletes Way; Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Expert tours from Nick Milkovich and Neil Prakash from Nick Milkovich Architects as well as Alain Prince from Francl Architecture are planned for this site.
Bonus: City of Vancouver Tactical Training Centre
If you’ve already pre-booked your tour—all spaces are currently full–here you’ll learn what it takes to keep our city safe. Tours inside will showcase the two firing ranges, classrooms and simulation rooms, meanwhile a parade of police fleet vehicles will be on display out front.
- City of Vancouver Tactical Training Centre; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Advance registration is required but unfortunately these tours are already sold out! Visitors will be asked for ID when entering and a criminal background check may be required in order to participate.
For the independent
Don’t like being told what to do? Plan your own day. Visit the Doors Open Website for a full listing of participating locations, along with additional information on guided tours and pre-registration.
A chance to win
Use the hashtag #DoorsOpenVan on the day for a chance to win a behind the scenes tour of the Museum of Vancouver. Additionally, you can also win by using your Doors Open Program Guide as a passport and then filling out our visitor’s survey!
Be sure to walk, bike, or take public transit to Doors Open, as parking is limited at almost all locations. However, bicycle parking will be plentiful as BEST’s Bicycle Valet will be offering secure bike parking at City Hall, False Creek Flats, and Stanley Park.
Vancity Buzz is a proud media partner of Doors Open Vancouver