Must Attend: Doors Open YYC

Have you ever wondered what the story is behind the Calgary tower or some of the heritage homes that sit in the city’s beltline?

From September 27 to 29, Doors Open YYC is organizing an event that will make it possible to explore some of Calgary’s key landmarks. The second annual Doors Open YYC event begins on Friday with a kick-off party at Theatre Junction Grand. Over the weekend, some of Calgary’s most interesting buildings will be opening their doors to the public and offering free tours. This is a great chance to learn more about spaces in the city that carry historical, architectural, environmental and artistic significance. If you attended the event last year, you’ll be happy to know that several new spaces have been added; the CBC Broadcast Centre, The Glenmore Water Treatment Plant and the Burnsland Cemetery are just a few of the new spaces that people are encouraged to discover.  

Ralph Klein Park (located at 12350 84 St. S.E) is also new to the event. The park sits atop one of Canada’s largest man-made wetlands. The building that sits on the grounds is LEED certified and has been built from mostly local materials.

The Colonel Walker house (located at 2425 9 Avenue SE) is another gem on the tour. The staff of the Walker house will walk you through the history of the many important people who lived in the house and re-tell the story of how the bird sanctuary came about. Space is limited on this tour, so make sure to pre-register. 

If you are looking for something a little bit different, perhaps the Shepard Landfill (12111 – 68 Street SE) is the place for you. The landfill is spread across 960 acres of space, and while garbage may not seem that interesting, checking out the innovative waste management programs in use might be worth the visit. You’ll also get a chance to learn about windrow composting and methane conversion. 

For the history buffs out there, you’ll definitely want to see the Lougheed House (707 – 13 Avenue SW). The house was built in 1891 and is one of the only historical sites left standing in Calgary’s beltline. The house has served as the headquarters for the Canadian Women’s Army Corp. and the Red Cross Blood Donor Clinic. Make sure to check out the gift shop if you visit the house.

Perhaps one of the most interesting spaces to visit will be the Theatre Junction Grand (608 – 1 Street SW). The Grand is an iconic building that has been part of Calgary for over a hundred years now. It’s hard to imagine this building standing in Calgary’s downtown when the city was still very much a Wild-West town. The Grand has served the city as a space for theatre, opera, ballet and symphony over the last century. Sadly, as time went on, other intuitions like the Jubilee Auditorium replaced the need for the Grand and in the early 2000s the building was being used an indoor driving range. It was quite fortunate the Theater Junction Company made a bid to save the building before it was turned into a parkade. That would have been a mistake! 

Doors Open YYC is run by the Doors Open Calgary Association with the intention of connecting people to their local heritage and culture. To view all spaces that will be featured in the event, and to get directions, you can visit the website. You can also customize your tour by searching spaces in quadrants of the city or by category, including: cultural, educational, historical, sacred or outdoors.