This weekend, June 8-9, 2013, is the inaugural Doors Open Halifax and I’ll be joining visitors in checking out what is behind the door of some of Halifax’s most interesting buildings. I’ve been hankering to go to an event like this for some time, ever since I first heard of it in Ottawa. Simply put, it is a tremendous opportunity to see things that are normally off-limits, for free!

Revisiting favourites

In the past, I’ve talked about my love of Halifax architecture and have already featured a couple of stops that are included in Doors Open Halifax. When the list of participants came out, I was delighted to see one of my favourite buildings in Halifax, the Bank of Nova Scotia Main Branch on Hollis Street. I’m definitely planning on going back, because I can’t get enough of the interior and I really want to seize the opportunity to learn more about this history of the building. If I could recommend a must-see, it’s this one!

Bank Nova Scotia Scotiabank Hollis St Halifax

Another Doors Open Halifax stop that is on my re-visit list is one I discovered last year while on an epic east-west walk on Halifax’s Chebucto Road. A symbol of the city’s changing culture, the Ummah Mosque and Cultural Centre is brand new, but many residents have never stepped inside. I learned a bit about mosque architecture during my travels in Morocco, and I’m looking forward to learning how Halifax’s Muslim community balanced its spiritual requirements with the secular community around it.

Ummah Masjid Halifax

My Doors Open Halifax plan of attack

Armed with my bus past and list of participants, I’m heading out determined to see as many places as I can. However, good project management requires priority-setting, so I’ve set some priorities for the weekend. Be sure to print out the handy, downloadable PDF guide for Doors Open Halifax with information and addresses for every destination.

Zone 1: Downtown Halifax:

  • Bank of Nova Scotia: Like I said before, I love this building. It’s gorgeous and not to be missed.
  • City Hall: I basically work across the street and have never stepped foot inside. That changes this weekend.
  • Dominion Public Building: despite the name, this building is usually off-limits to the public. I’ve been inside once for work and it has some extraordinary seahorse sculptures inside.
  • Government House: I’m hoping to meet Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable J.J. Grant and see the room where  Queen Elizabeth II sleeps when she comes to town.

Zone 2: South End Halifax:

  • Beth Israel Synagogue: this one is in my neighbourhood and I’ve been dying to see the inside of it for years. (Sunday only)

Zone 3: North End Halifax:

Unfortunately, I’ll be on foot and bus, so I probably won’t be able to get over to Dartmouth to see the Canadian Hurricane Centre. It’s really too bad, because the first named storm of the season has formed and there will be a chance to see it in action – even if it is far away.

For me, Doors Open Halifax is a lot like Open City and Nocturne, a great opportunity to see our hometown in a brand new way. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join me!

What are you looking forward to seeing during Doors Open Halifax? Fire away in the comments!

See for yourself:
Doors Open Halifax
Various locations in Halifax and Dartmouth
June 8-9, 2013
10 am-4 pm

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