There is nothing shocking or clandestine hiding in the basement of the U.S. Embassy, insisted Ambassador David Jacobson yesterday.

The 600 people who get to tour the Sussex Drive offices this weekend for Doors Open Ottawa will be able to vouch for such.

“Hopefully, opening our doors to friends and neighbours here in Ottawa is going to help build on the relationship of trust and confidence between the United States and Canada that, I do not think, is rivalled anywhere else in the world,” said Jacobson at a Doors Open Ottawa launch event at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons office on Echo Drive.

The RCPS building, which is one of 18 new buildings open to the public this year, was originally built as a convent for the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood in 1923. The RCPS purchased the property and renovated it in 1991 after the number of nuns living there dwindled to just 11.

In total, 119 embassies, including places of worship, galleries, and other buildings that are normally off-limits to the public, will be open for public tours this weekend.

Getting up close and personal with the local, sometimes hidden, architecture and heritage give everyone a chance to play tourist in their own hometown, said Mayor Larry O’Brien.

“This weekend, thousands of people will be roving the streets of Ottawa with their event guides in their hand really looking at the city in a way they’ve never done before,” said O’Brien.

Among the 18 new buildings added this year are two new science labs, the Parks Canada Conservation Laboratories, home of the National Underwater Archaeology Service; and the Transportation Safety Board Engineering Laboratory, which investigates marine, railway, pipeline and aviation accidents.