Most people try to avoid the inside of a police station. But this weekend, those in Canada’s Capital Region will be flocking to see it.
On June 7 and 8, Doors Open Ottawa lets visitors tour more than 120 buildings in Ottawa, some of which don’t usually allow prying eyes. Admission is free, giving people a glimpse inside the workings of media outlets, embassies, places of worship and museums.
There’s plenty to see, with a free shuttle bus getting visitors within walking distance of 50 modern and prestigious buildings. If you’re still unsure which sites to explore, here are 10 locations that are worth a look.
The distinctive building that looks like the Sphinx in Egypt houses the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada Headquarters. Learn about Canada’s missions abroad and see astonishing art exhibits. As a special feature, there will be a “human library” where you can borrow a “book,” or in this case an expert, such as a diplomatic historian, a senior policy advisor or a trade commissioner, and have a 25-minute conversation with them. Tours are only available on June 7.
With the mouth-watering aroma of coffee filling the air, get your caffeine fix as you explore the Roastery of this staple for Ottawa coffee lovers. Originally a carriage stable in the 1920s, the building now supplies coffee to 15 Bridgehead locations in Ottawa.
Get the scoop with a behind-the-scenes tour of this newspaper. See the buzz of activity in the pressroom and how a daily newspaper is put together. Closed-toe shoes are required and photography is restricted.
It was originally built as an underground bunker for government officials to escape in the event of a nuclear attack during the Cold War. Now, the once top-secret building nicknamed after Prime Minister John Diefenbaker is open to tours.
Supreme Court of Canada
Decisions are made everyday in this building that change the law and affect the lives of all Canadians. See the grand entrance and courtroom of Canada’s highest court, with its art deco design and marble interior. Gowns are not required, but there are photography restrictions in place.
Britannia Yacht Club
It’s a sailor’s delight! With one of the best views of the Ottawa River, the Britannia Yacht Club has plenty of scenery to please the eye. Formerly an old sawmill, the Club has a large stone tower and a unique bar fashioned out of a dragon sailboat.
Ottawa Police Service
The walls of this building are usually only seen by those who work here or people charged with crimes. Find out how police are protecting Canadians and enforcing laws with a tour of the Elgin Street headquarters, which contains a 911 Communications Centre and a cell block.
The United States Embassy
Walking outside this building, you feel the presence of high security. Located in the Byward Market area, the United States Embassy has a distinctive architectural style and is an imposing building. Pre-registration is required to tour the site.
OC Transpo’s Integrated Operations Centre
Ever wonder why your bus is delayed? OC Transpo employees reveal how they keep up with Ottawa’s traffic, coordinate more than 800 buses and handle more than 300,000 trip-planning calls each year. Pre-registration is required.
As the oldest operating hydroelectricity generator in Canada, this generating station gives visitors insight into how water is used to create electricity that powers Canadians’ homes. Closed-toe shoes are required for tours.