American Embassy opens doors to public
The concrete barricades outside the United States embassy are visible in this file photo of then-U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff taking in the sights during a visit to Ottawa on Wednesday April 9, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tom Hanson)
The American Embassy will be one of 119 buildings opening their doors to the public as part of this year's Doors Open Ottawa campaign.
It's the first time the American Embassy will participate in the weekend event, which aims to show off the architecture and historical significance of various buildings in the capital.
U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson says opening up the embassy to the people of Ottawa is long overdue.
He told CTV Ottawa he represents a president who believes in openness, and he hopes to expand the program next year.
The embassy, located at 490 Sussex Dr., is offering 20-minute guided tours to 500 people who pre-register on their website. Tours will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 5.
Although pre-registration is required, signing up doesn't guarantee a visit. Rather, visitors will be selected from a pool and only those who are awarded a tour will receive an email confirming their visit. Anyone who arrives late won't be allowed in.
All visitors must undergo strict security screening, including metal detectors. All personal items will get inspected by X-ray machines and other security equipment.
Visitors are advised the following items are prohibited inside the U.S. Embassy:
- Mobile phones
- Backpacks, bags, luggage, or purses
- Food and beverages
- Weapons of any kind, including mace or pepper spray
- Tools, including any sharp or bladed objects
- Any oil or chemical-based sprays, liquids or lotions
- Electronic or recording equipment of any kind, including, but not limited to: laptop computers, MP3, CD, or cassette players, pagers and keyless remotes.
Strollers and baby carriages are also not allowed on the tour and must be left outside the Embassy's gates.
Doors Open Ottawa takes place on June 5 and June 6.