Special experiences await Calgarians at the upcoming Doors Open YYC

Unique, behind-the-scenes access and experiences at some 40 sites city-wide (representing science and technology, sports, history, culture, arts, local business and more) await Calgary residents at the eight annual Doors Open YYC this September 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. With over 12,000 site visits recorded to date, Doors Open YYC is an exciting and growing event that offers free entry and an insider’s peek at city spots that the public doesn’t usually get to see.

Doors Open YYC Board President Josh White says the event enables Calgary residents to see the city from a new perspective, discovering places they didn’t even know existed. Have you ever wanted to check out the quirky, fun projects that artists and tech geeks create at Protospace (Calgary’s original makerspace)? Think 3D printers, laser cutters, wood and metal shops and more.

How about finding out why Buddhists bow and chant—even tour the prayer hall–at the city’s majestic Avatamsaka Monastery? Or sample the locally-made (using sustainable, fair-trade cocoa) chocolate delights at Cococo Chocolatiers? A tasting tour and suiting up in coats and funny hairnets to see the factory team in action is part of the adventure here.

“Businesses and organizations are keen to show off what they do. The volunteer-run event is great for both residents and site hosts,” explains White. “While people may shy away from a Mosque, Jewish Community Centre or Monastery because it’s not part of their faith, these organizations are anxious to welcome fellow residents.” At Doors Open YYC, the Baitun Nur Mosque (one of the largest in North America) will offer visitors a guided tour and even a chance for one-on-one discussions.

Likewise, curious Calgarians who want to know how clean water shows up in their taps will want to check out the pumps and pipes at the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant—a rare glimpse into the historic structure (which supplies 40 per cent of the City’s water) and its 24/7 operations.

“Every site has its own vibe, but all are prepared to engage with residents, providing education, entertainment and enjoyment. There are no boring sites,” laughs White. “There’s something for everyone—from a chance to play freestyle soccer with players at Urban FC, to tech-based sites that may pique the interest of millennials and university students, to a tour of the behind-the-curtain fabrications and scenery at the internationally celebrated F & D Scene Changes.”

Calgary’s frontier, local spirit is evident in setting Doors Open YYC apart from others like it elsewhere in the world. While other cities tend to have a municipally-run weekend event, Calgary’s is produced and managed by a local volunteer board and community/business support and sponsors. Along with site volunteers and fund-raising efforts, title sponsor and local success story Fiasco Gelato does the heavy lifting in getting Doors Open YYC off the ground. The City of Calgary and Enmax are partner sponsors, with several other private and public entities on board too.

Plan your visit to Doors Open YYC by checking doorsopenyyc.org for the full list of sites, locations, schedules and whether they offer drop-in or pre-registration. Be sure to sign up on the homepage for news.

written by lucy haines