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Doors Open Toronto is back. Here are the top 10 sites to check out

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Toronto’s annual Doors Open event is back offering visitors a chance to explore more than 160 of the city’s most historical, architectural, and socially significant buildings for free on May 25 and 26.

The event, which started in 2000, invites members of the public to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of Toronto’s most iconic landmarks.

This year, there are some new sites on the list to complement the “Hidden Histories” theme, as well as some other favourites that have been featured in years past.

Here are the top 10 sites to check out at this year’s edition of Doors Open Toronto:

The RCLUB Motoring Club, located in midtown Toronto, will open its doors to non-members to show off their “legendary” collection of automobiles.

“We’ll be welcoming public guests between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. all weekend, and members are invited to hang out and show off their home-away-from-home,” the club said in a Facebook post.

The city says that guests can explore the private clubhouse, take pictures of the cars, and watch the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.

You’ve probably driven by Todmorden Mills, but may never have ventured inside the 19th-century industrial and domestic buildings.

Visitors to Todmorden Mills, which is nestled in the Don River Valley, will be transported back to the 1800s for a peek at the daily lives of those who made the lumber, flour, beer, and bricks that built the city.

“Feel the breeze of a warm spring day through the Wildflower Preserve and grounds, take a break in Café Club Django, enjoy a live manouche jazz performance while sipping a cold toddy or other mocktails inspired by Todmorden’s history and Toronto’s diversity,” the city wrote.

Check out the legendary El Mocambo and get a backstage look at one of the city’s most iconic music venues.

The Rolling Stones, Blondie, and Stevie Ray Vaughan all played at the Spadina Avenue venue in its heyday.

Since then, the property was purchased by Toronto businessman Michael Wekerle and tuned up to carry the “Elmo” into its 75th year.

Our Lady Peace play to a packed crowd as they mark the re-opening of the iconic Toronto music venue The El Mocambo on Saturday, October 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ever wondered what goes into running one of the largest animal-welfare organizations in the province?

The Toronto Humane Society will open its doors to the public this weekend and guests will be guided through the historic facility that cares for the city’s most vulnerable pets.

Visitors are encouraged to take pictures during the tour, but flash photography is strictly prohibited due to its impact on the animals, the city said.

A returning fan favourite, the City of Toronto Archives is an 11,000-square-foot records centre at Davenport and Spadina roads. It will be open to the public for one day only on Saturday.

The facility holds a whopping 130,000 boxes of records, all of which are stored in a secure, climate-controlled facility known as the Spadina Records Centre.

If you’ve seen the movies “Total Recall,” Resident Evil,” or “The Recruit,” you’ll want to check out the TTC’s Bay Lower Station on Saturday.

“Visitors are invited to take a self-guided tour of the station, where the likes of Michael Douglas, Bruce Willis, Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg, The Weeknd, Drake and many others have come to work,” the city said.

Bay Lower Station is seen in this undated photo.

History buffs will want to check out the Foy-Smith House, an 1888 Victorian mansion in The Village and residence of Ontario’s former Attorney General James Joseph Foy.

“Experience one of Toronto’s rare Victorian mansions with heritage-designated interiors: a grand carved staircase, stained-glass windows, etched transoms, plasterwork medallions and elegant fireplace mantels recall a high society of bygone elegance,” the city wrote.

Shoe lovers should head to the Bata Shoe Museum, the only museum in North America dedicated to exploring the history and cultural significance of footwear.

Guests are invited to take a self-guided tour through 4,500 years of shoes, including exhibitions like Exhibit A: Investigating Crime and Footwear, Dressed to Impress: Footwear and Consumerism in the 1980s and In Bloom: Flowers and Footwear.

See where the province’s laws are made at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Stand on the floor of the Chamber, meeting place of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario since 1893, and marvel at the building’s architecture, originally created by British-born architect Richard Waite, with later work by Toronto architects E. J. Lennox (Casa Loma, Old City Hall) and George Gouinlock (Canadian National Exhibition).”

Self-guided tours start at 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday with last admittance at 4 p.m.

Queen’s Park in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 20, 2023. The Ontario Legislative Assembly resumes sitting tomorrow. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The Gibson House is a 19th-century farmhouse tucked away amid the high rises in North York.

Guests will be transported to the 1850s at this Doors Open site and see how David Gisbon, a Scottish immigrant, land surveyor, farmer and politician really lived.

It should be noted that some of this year’s Doors Open sites are only open on Saturday or Sunday. For a full list of this year’s locations click here

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