Our Guide to Doors Open 2018

On June 2nd and 3rd, local buildings of architectural, historical and cultural significance in Halifax will open their doors to the public – for free – and invite them to view places not usually open. What’s not to love about that? We love free things, and we especially love anything that feels like a secret.

As always, the Doors Open Halifax Heritage Society has put together more venues than you can probably fit into your weekend – 29 this year. Most of them are in fairly close proximity, so you won’t have to do much driving. Better yet, take your bicycle. This is Bike Week, after all!

You’ll find a complete list of the venues on the official Doors Open website, along with some handy descriptions of each. But to help you plan your route, we’ve put together a list of our top 5 picks:

1. Dalhousie’s Steele Ocean Sciences Building

This would have to be our first stop, if only because it’s so darn interactive. Touch tanks! Mermaids! Your kids will probably love it too. This building’s only open on Sunday though, so plan accordingly.

 

 

2. Cathedral Church of All Saints

All Saints is local Gothic Revival architecture at its finest, and it’s got an odd origin story as well, detailed in this post by Peter Ziobrowski of Built Halifax. Note that due to services, it has shorter hours on Sunday.

 

 

3. City Hall

This is apparently one of Doors Open’s most popular venues, year after year. Not because anyone hopes to catch a glimpse of our local politicans – it’s actually got some pretty interesting history, and the staff conduct guided tours.

 

 

4. Sacred Heart

If you don’t have a child enrolled here, you probably haven’t had a chance to check it out, but this building has some gorgeous architectural details. Stephen Archibald from Noticed in Nova Scotia explored some of them in this post.

 

 

5. Government House

Everyone should visit the Lieutenant Governor’s digs at least once. Both Peter and Stephen have written about this residence (in Stephen’s case, at least twice), and of course there are opportunities to visit during levees and garden parties. But only Doors Open offers a chance to get a peek at the Royal staterooms.

 

Honourable Mention: Old Burying Ground

We’re not sure there are any actual doors in this outdoor venue, but it’s still always worth a visit, especially to check out the elegant Welsford-Parker arch, profiled in this Built Halifax post.

 

So that’s where we’re starting, at least. Now get out there and explore!

What: Doors Open Halifax 2018
Where: Various locations in Halifax and Dartmouth
When: June 2nd & 3rd 10am-4pm (except where otherwise noted)


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Life in Halifax. Events, food, movies, music, arts and culture, and local travel. An online magazine for and by the people who live here.