Ever wonder what goes on at MaRS? Come one, come all—and come prepared with questions! MaRS is proud to participate in Doors Open Toronto 2012 on Saturday, May 26, and Sunday, May 27, 2012, welcoming the public to tour the facility, learn about its history and find out more about what we do.

Originally developed from a European model, Doors Open Toronto began as a millennium project for the City of Toronto in 2000, a weekend during which buildings that are normally closed to the public—or which charge an entrance fee—open their doors and welcome visitors to look around for free.

The first Doors Open Day (La Journée Portes Ouvertes) took place in France in 1984. The idea soon spread to neighbouring countries, including the Netherlands, Sweden, the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Scotland. Since 2000, Doors Open Toronto has attracted over 1.7 million residents and tourists, celebrating Toronto’s history and heritage through the exploration of historic, architectural and cultural gems.

MaRS is one of approximately 150 buildings featured during the Doors Open weekend, and the public is encouraged to visit, tour and ask questions they might have about the building, its history and its current purpose.

MaRS will be staffed with volunteers who will facilitate self-guided tours of the building for all visitors, including stops at featured tenants Martin Prosperity Institute and the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab. Other stops of interest include a visit to the auditorium, where videos will help tell the MaRS story; an interactive station spotlighting a successful technology startup mentored by MaRS; a close-up view of the MaRS Centre Phase 2 construction site; and a look at the Commemorative Insulin exhibit.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of Doors Open Toronto:

  • Plan your Doors Open schedule ahead of time. Check out the building guide, which is separated by district, here.
  • You don’t have to be a heritage expert to enjoy a Doors Open adventure. Select the sites that interest you most. Doors Open allows you to tour stunning sites that may not normally be open to the public—free of charge!
  • Confirm the dates and times when your chosen sites will be open. Most sites, including MaRS, are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which gives you plenty of time for visits, tours, meeting friends, lunch and refreshment breaks, taking photos and travel time. (Note about photography: Some restrictions may apply. Check with the host community before your visit.)
  • Allow enough time to travel between sites. Look for sites clustered together to save time. If you have special needs or are touring with children, allow yourself more time to get through the buildings and to get from location to location.
  • Plan to visit a maximum of five to eight sites a day—any more than that and you’ll be rushing. Most site visits take about 30 minutes.
  • Some sites may offer guided tours, special lectures or exhibits. Confirm the length and time of the tours you’re interested in so you can schedule them into your day and not be disappointed.
  • Ask questions. Not everyone knows the difference between Art Deco and Art Nouveau. Volunteers are happy to explain or find the answer for you.

Hope to see you at MaRS!

Janet Grant

Janet Grant is responsible for all aspects of events and meetings held within the MaRS Centre, where in-person connections are a key part of how MaRS’ convergence innovation model drives economic and societal prosperity. Since joining MaRS in 2008, Janet has helped to grow the number and range of meetings and events held at MaRS, delivering an exceptional customer experience to our diverse community. See more…