This weekend Heritage Winnipeg is inviting Winnipeggers to explore the rich history of our city.

Doors Open Winnipeg has been happening the last weekend of May since 2004. The event is meant to encourage people to discover heritage treasures, cultural institutions and other buildings of interest not normally accessible to the public, all completely free of charge. This event is both entertaining and educational, attracting tourists and local residents, and increases our civic and community pride by proudly displaying Winnipeg’s architecturally, culturally and historically significant buildings.

This is a great opportunity to really bask in the vast, rich history of Winnipeg. Prior to 1911, Winnipeg was the third largest city in the country, and was known as the “Gateway to the West.” There are many buildings that were built around the turn of the 20th century when Winnipeg was the rail hub of the country; all of them  built with an attention to architectural strength and beauty.

For Heritage Winnipeg Executive Director Cindy Tugwell, this is a chance to enjoy some comradery and enjoy what the stewards of the buildings have done to keep them maintained. “All the stewards of the dozens of buildings and tours that we showcase…whether it cultural, historical, architectural…I think we all come together,  and we all love our city, and we all want to showcase the beautiful assets, so it’s kind of an invigorating time for me to understand what we are doing is really worthwhile,” says Tugwell.

There are many buildings that will be open to the public that they would not have regular access to during the year such as the Legislative Building, Government, House, The Mint; libraries and historical churches will be open so visitors can enjoy the architecture of the buildings. All of the tours will be led by tour guides who have an intimate knowledge of the history of the structure and the historical stories that the building was part of.

Click here to see a list of building that are taking part in Door Open Winnipeg

There are also outdoor walking tours that will take place where people can explore locations such as the Exchange District, The Forks, and public arts and architecture, amongst others.

Tugwell says of the event, “It [Doors Open] is just an opportunity for everybody to just get out…have a great time…it costs nothing…learn about your city, and even learn about some of these small businesses, so when friends or relatives come and visit you’re well versed about your city’s history…but moreover you can talk about some these hidden gems that are not so obvious that really tell a story of why our city truly is so important.”