In another sign of life getting back to normal in the capital, Doors Open Ottawa is back this year, welcoming thousands to visit and explore hidden spaces and places across the city.

After being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then going virtual in 2021, this year’s Doors Open Ottawa event decided on a hybrid model, allowing people to return in person to many of its 90 buildings.

Yvonne Weigers, of the Enriched Bread Artists on Gladstone in Little Italy, say they are thrilled to be throwing their doors open to visitors again.

“What’s really great about the Doors Open event is that we are getting a lot of people who are coming here for the first time and so a lot of them say I did not know this was here,” Weigers said. “When we have theses public events, it gives us a chance to hear back from the public as well. It’s a wonderful opportunity to talk about art, to explain what we do and make ourselves.”

At the Dominican University College on Primrose Hill, overlooking LeBreton Flats, visitors are treated to the sounds of singing and neo-gothic architecture designed to cloister occupants from the busy world outside.

Wayne Murphy was out taking a stroll with his daughter, exploring his neighborhood. He says having the opportunity to visit places like the college is a privilege

“Lots of people drive by on Somerset or Bronson and they have no idea this is here at all. It’s a gem,” Murphy said. “It’s great, people need to get out and it’s also nice to have something to do that’s free.”

Amy Kudrinko, the coordinator for Doors Open Ottawa, says that this year, they wanted to make the event welcoming to everyone, including those who are still uncomfortable being in groups. Many of the buildings this year have virtual as well as in-person tours.

“It’s fantastic,” Kudrinko said. “I think there has been a real appetite this year for people to get out, enjoy this beautiful weather, and just become a tourist in their own city.”