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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 2018 event will take place on Saturday, April 21, 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
404- 147 Wyndham Street North
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4E9

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

This Year's Event - Saturday, April 21, 10am - 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.

What buildings will be open for Doors Open Guelph?

2018 site information will be published on Doors Open Ontario's website http://www.doorsopenontario.on.ca/ and below as it becomes available.  



176 Morris Street
Guelph Little Theatre 

N1E 5M7 
Guelph Little Theatre
In 1935, the first Little Theatre opened at Guelph City Hall, the first of many homes over the years. A fire in 1993 forced it from its 26-year home in the Salvation Army Hall on Dublin Street. In 1997, it moved into a former welding shop. The large space holds a 288-seat raked auditorium, large raised stage, gracious lobby, rehearsal hall, workshop, dressing rooms and storage areas. The tour will take visitors to the stage set for its current production.

Parking, full wheelchair access, washrooms, fun for kids.

44 Short Street
Church House in the Ward

N1E 5T9 
Church House in the Ward
In 1899, the Knox Presbyterian Church established a Sabbath School Mission in the Ward. In 1909, the St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church was organized and constructed as a modest Edwardian building with Gothic windows and an impressive Douglas Fir ceiling. In 2002, the church was sold and extensively renovated over five years into a spectacular residence. It is also the headquarters of Sage Solutions, a strategic planning and facilitation company.

86 Glasgow St. North
The Churches of St. Matthias & St. James the Apostle 
N1H 4W2 
St James the Apostle
Built in 1891-92 in Gothic style, St. James is the newest of Guelph’s stone churches, the last built with local limestone. The church was downsized from its original traditional plan resulting in an unusual orientation. The nave was eliminated leaving the north transept as the nave. The roof slates came from Cornwall, England. The original fine wood ceiling and elaborate vaulting remained in the building’s final form.

Parking, full wheelchair access, washrooms

161 Norfolk Street
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church 

N1H 4J7 
St Andrews
The original Church was built in the market grounds in 1832, but was demolished to make room for Guelph’s City Hall. The new Gothic Revival church built in 1856 was designed by William Hay of Toronto. The open timberwork ceiling and fine stained glass windows memorialize church leaders and a plaque pays tribute to John McCrae who attended the church in his youth. The south-side addition is built of stone salvaged from Guelph’s demolished Opera House.

Full wheelchair access, washrooms

55 Delhi Street, top floor
Intrigue Media

N1E 4J3 
55 Delhi St winter
The Forsyth-Hepburn Home was constructed in 1910 of red brick in Georgian Revival style as a residence for nurses working at Guelph General Hospital. It served that purpose until the late 1950s. Vesterra Property Management acquired it in 2013 and renovated it retaining all original exterior wood trim, bay windows, front porch with Tuscan columns, and the interior staircase. Intrigue Media, a full-service digital marketing company, occupies the top two floors. 

Parking, partial wheelchair access (alternate entrance), washrooms.
55 Delhi Street, main floor
Two Rivers Health 

N1E 4J3
Two Rivers Health building front inlay
On the main floor of the former Nurses’ Residence is Two Rivers Health, an integrative health clinic. Helping women and families to create abundant, vibrant lives, the all-female clinician team brings the original vision for this iconic building full circle. Interior design by Michele Levy-Kodarin inspires calm and connection to wellbeing, and retains many original elements of exposed brick, entranceway, and restored hardwood.

Parking, partial wheelchair access (alternate entrance) washrooms
55 Delhi Street
First Steps  

N1E 4J3 
Daycare building front inlay
In the lower level of the former Nurses’ Residence is an after-school child care service that fills its four bright rooms with activity. The lower red brick walls have been beautifully restored to give the children a lesson on our city’s heritage. The rustic furnishings and bright windows create a welcoming, enriched and safe atmosphere.

Parking, washrooms.
385 Waterloo Avenue
Guelph Orange Hall

N1H 3K3 
Door Open LOL 1331 Guelph Cover Photo
The Loyal Orange Association of British America has had a continuous presence in the City of Guelph since 1837, having a total of seven different Loyal Orange Lodges and three Ladies Orange Benevolent Associations. Prince Arthur L.O.L. 1331 was first established in Guelph in 1871, but moved into its present building in the late 1940s. Displays will demonstrate various aspects of its history and community involvement.

Parking, washrooms.

15 Wyndham Street North, Suite C
Hunch Manifest Inc. 

N1H 4E5 
The New Petrie
The New Petrie incorporates the remaining pieces of the former Western Hotel built on the site in 1847. Its back wall and portions of the former stables are preserved in the offices of Hunch Manifest, a Semantic Search Marketing company helping digital marketers to translate their content into the language of search engines. This pairing of innovation and heritage demonstrates Jane Jacobs’ words, “New ideas need old buildings.”

Accessibility: please note that there is an elevator to assist between floors, but steps in the entryway currently preclude wheelchair access. Any changes will be updated here. 

15 Wyndham Street
The Robbie Group (MSISInc) 

N1H 4E5
The New PetrieThe New Petrie incorporates the remaining pieces of the former Western Hotel built on the site in 1847. Partly destroyed by a fire in 1854, it could be one of the oldest buildings left on Wyndham Street North. Its back wall and portions of the former stables are preserved in the Robbie Group offices. The company provides advice on pensions to individuals and businesses and also offers fee-for-service financial planning. 

Accessibility: please note that there is an elevator to assist between floors, but steps in the entryway currently preclude wheelchair access. Any changes will be updated here. 

15 Wyndham Street North


N1H 4E5
Sway building front inlay
Designed in 1882 by Guelph architect John Day, the building opened as a pharmacy for Alexander Bain Petrie with a unique stamped metal facade and iconic mortar and pestle. Since 2015, it was restored for several new businesses. Sway was founded in 2013 with a focus on becoming the best visual advertising agency via television commercials and online video. Sway is now an industry leader in brand management, marketing strategy, and unique content creation.

Accessibility: please note that there is an elevator to assist between floors, but steps in the entryway currently preclude wheelchair access. Any changes will be updated here. 

15 Wyndham Street
The Modern Bride 
N1H 4E5

Modern Bride building front inlay
Mr. Petrie wanted the tallest building on Wyndham Street, so he topped it with an empty shell that remained unused for 136 years until it was restored as an elegant showroom and stunning event space for The Modern Bride. Twenty-foot ceilings and eleven-foot windows looking on the Basilica create a beautiful backdrop for the wedding dresses. The Modern Bride is a carefully curated, appointment-only bridal boutique that offers a unique shopping experience for the contemporary bride.

Accessibility: please note that there is an elevator to assist between floors, but steps in the entryway currently preclude wheelchair access. Any changes will be updated here. 

795 Scottsdale Drive
Hospice Wellington 

N1G 3R8 
Hospice Wellington 004Founded in 1980, Hospice provides care and support to families facing a life-threatening illness. The former Kortright Presbyterian Church was built in 1983. In 2010, David McCauley, architect of the original church, redesigned the building with ten palliative residences in the upper level and community support programs in the lower level. The design includes a living wall, solar panels and rainwater collection system to support the pollination garden on the grounds.

Parking, full wheelchair access, washrooms, fun for kids. 
42 Carden Street
10C Shared Space 
N1H 3A2 

The Seed Warehouse was a two-storey stone structure built in the 1860s which later became Massey-Ferguson Farm Supply. Between 1924 and 1934, Ackers Furniture moved in, added the top two floors and remained until 2016. In 1955, a fire caused the huge safe to fall through the first floor to the basement where it remains today. Together with  Chalmers Community Service Centre, the building is now a thriving collaborative workspace and community hub.

Full wheelchair access, washrooms.
Speedvale Trail Underpass
Trails Open
Trails Open Speedvale Underpass
Often in the news last year, the City's upcoming trail underpass will complete a safe and scenic link above the riverbank between the TransCanada Trail, Riverside Park, and the Evergreen Seniors Centre. 15-20 minute hikes will be run throughout the day by the Guelph Hiking Trail Club. Parking off Riverview Drive, behind the Speedvale Ave. E. firehall.


8 Royal Road
Community Living Guelph-Wellington
N1H 1G3
Community Living Guelph Wellington
CLGW facilitates social inclusion and community engagement, supporting adults with developmental disabilities to have a full life, living, working and connecting in their community. Our vision to enrich, inspire and engage ensures we all belong and contribute as valued members. Tour CLGW, meet some of the 400+ people the organization supports and learn why Guelph is a caring community.  

Parking, wheelchair access, washrooms.

 Doors Open After Dark

After a day exploring Guelph’s finest buildings, creative spaces, and historically and architecturally significant sites on the Doors Open tour presented by Guelph Arts Council, save some energy for the after party at Guelph Civic Museum.  Celebrate Guelph’s 191st birthday with pop-up art and history installations at and around the museum.




Call for Volunteers: Doors Open Guelph

Sign up to volunteer!

Doors Open Guelph will be held this year on Saturday, April 21. 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:

February 28, 2018 -  in Room 112 at Guelph City Hall, 1 Carden Street, Guelph

5:00 p.m.

March 20, 2018 - in the Heritage Room, 10C Shared Space, 42 Carden Street, Guelph
5:00 p.m.

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. You need only attend the on-site training for your assigned site. Site assignments will be made in late March, and on-site training session details will be announced as confirmed. 



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) Sweepers to follow the tours and keep participants moving 
5) *New* Site Captains are assigned a single site for the day. They bring signage and materials to and from their site, ensure volunteers have the information and materials they need, act as liaisons with the organizers, and generally support volunteers. 

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 at 4 p.m., and act as liaison throughout the event day.


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 indicating your availability and interest. 

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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