You may never get to go where no one has gone before, but this weekend, Ottawa residents can tour places that aren’t normally open to the public.

Some of the national capital’s most important and interesting buildings, landmarks and attractions — 108, to be exact — will not only be opening their doors to all residents and tourists this weekend, they’ll be doing it for free when the city hosts its seventh annual Doors Open Ottawa.

The event — expected to attract between 40,000 and 60,000 people over two days — “is the best way for a tourist to get to know and explore the city,” said Marcelle Kimberley, event coordinator for Doors Open Ottawa.

 

But it’s great for locals as well, she said.

“It gives us an appreciation for what we pass by everyday,” said Kimberley. “Under normal circumstances, they wouldn’t give a tour of the building. Once you get in, you hear the stories. They talk to the public about what goes on within the walls, and about the architecture and history. It gives you a new appreciation for your surroundings and a greater connection to the city.”

Among the 108 locations are 15 new participants, said Kimberley.

These include the K.W. Neatby building — “it has the largest insect collection of its kind in the world with over 16 million bugs on display. Not my cup of tea, but people will be interested,” said Kimberley — the Gordon Harrison Arts Studio; the Gladstone Theatre, St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts and Humanities; and the new building for the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, which Kimberley suspects will “have a lot of visitors.”

Others attractions include the Beechwood National Memorial Centre in Vanier, which will have the architect on site Sunday; the city’s traffic operations headquarters on Loretta Street, which allows visitors to be “the eyes in the sky”; and the Canadian Conservation Institute, “which will show people how they preserve works for art and how they use science and technology to preserve cultural pieces,” Kimberley said.

Those interested in green initiatives can check out Inspiration, the Minto Eco-house, the greenest home in Canada, and the government’s C.D. Howe building, the first federal office building in downtown Ottawa to have a green roof.