Doors Open Peterborough May 7, 2022

full bike rack

Heritage building on George Street

Peterborough, ON - After two years presenting virtually, Doors Open Peterborough is welcoming visitors into buildings once again.

Doors Open logoThis annual City of Peterborough celebration of architectural heritage gives the community a rare chance to see inside buildings not normally open to the public. Doors Open is a free day of fun for people of all ages.

On Saturday, May 7, 2022, five buildings will open to the public and three walking tours will be offered. This year’s event is being sponsored by the Peterborough & Kawarthas Association of Realtors (PKAR). Kate Kidd, current President of PKAR says the association is pleased to support the project:

“PKAR is sponsoring Doors Open because we value the opportunity for our community to discover hidden architectural gems, be inspired by our heritage and to see behind some doors that are rarely open to the public."

In keeping with this year’s theme “design and adaptive reuse”, Doors Open Peterborough is presenting some new and some familiar venues: Y Lofts, Peterborough Collegiate, Peterborough Theatre Guild, King George Public School and the Peterborough Museum and Archives. 

Themes for the walking tours include the 1916 Quaker Oats fire and explosion; the repurposing of buildings in the block at the top of Hunter Street East; and the civic buildings surrounding Confederation Square.

Most sites will require visitors to wear masks while exploring the interiors.

For more information, please visit the Doors Open Peterborough web page:  An interactive map of the sites is also available:

Doors Open Sites:PKAE Logo

Y Lofts (formerly Peterborough YMCA)

475 George St. N

This will be the first and possibly last chance to see the only heritage suite and the stunning view from the rooftop terrace of this modern new apartment complex. Y Lofts is an exemplary model of adaptive reuse by Atria Development. Modern residential lofts now fill the old YMCA where the exterior of the 1896 façade and corner tower have been preserved. Free parking is available at the PCVS lot, or City Hall. Masks are required.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

King George Public School

220 Hunter St. E

This building was one of four “Royal” schools constructed in Peterborough early in the 20th century. It was designed with children’s health and safety in mind, with state-of-the-art heating, ventilation and sanitary systems. The building closed as a school when its replacement opened next door in 2021. Doors Open visitors will be treated to a multi-arts festival called Erring at King George, hosted by Public Energy. There will be exhibits, and after 3 p.m., on-site performances.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Peterborough Theatre Guild

364 Rogers St.

After fire gutted St. Luke’s Anglican Church in 1959, Robertson Davies, then editor of the Peterborough Examiner, spearheaded a fundraising drive to buy and convert the building into a community theatre. The guild staged its first play there in 1965 and has been entertaining audiences ever since. Come for a behind-the-scenes look at the costume wardrobe, set building workshop, lighting and sound booths, and stay to watch actors rehearse a play reading. For something extra, venture into the Gwen Brown Studio at the back of the building to view an exhibit by six local artists. Masks are required.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Peterborough Collegiate

201 McDonnel St.

Built in 1908, this school is a significant example of collegiate architecture, melding Romanesque Revival and Beaux Arts styles. Its main entrance faces George Street and blends with the civic buildings surrounding Confederation Square. In 1927, a wing was added and in the 1970s, a modern cafeteria and gym. Follow in the footsteps of famous alumni Serena Ryder, Jim Balsillie and Lester B. Pearson and step through the arched doorway to view the original grand staircases, woodwork, terrazzo floors and stained glass of this heritage gem, now home to Peterborough Alternative and Continuing Education (PACE). Head downstairs to see the school’s Downtown Youth Space, open to mark National Youth Week (noon to 4 p.m.). Free parking is available at the PCVS lot, or City Hall. Masks are encouraged.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Peterborough Museum & Archives

300 Hunter St. E

The PMA tells the story of Peterborough/Nogojiwanong and the surrounding area. Constructed in 1967 to mark Canada's centennial, the building at the top of Armour Hill was expanded and refurbished in 2017. During Doors Open, see the new exhibit Home and Away: Stories of Travel from Peterborough and Beyond, curated by Fleming College's Museum Management and Curatorship students. It features artifacts, stories and interactive displays about tourism. The Heritage Pavilion (salvaged from an early Peterborough church) offers a place to picnic and a playground for children. Free Parking. Masks are required.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Walking Tours

Ashburnham from the top

90 Hunter St. E.

Join local historian Elwood Jones for a 45-minute walk around the block at the top of Ashburnham. Learn how local landmarks – Immaculate Conception Church, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Westclox, St. Luke’s Church and others – have evolved or been adapted for reuse into apartments, office space and a theatre. Meet at the corner of Armour Road and Hunter Street East on the lawn of King George Public School.  Parking available at King George School.

Tours at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Around the Block, Around the Town

501 George St. N

Join local historian Don Willcock in Confederation Square to learn about the buildings framing this civic space. Playing on the theme Community in a Nutshell, Don will discuss the former YMCA, PCVS, Carnegie Library and many other largely early 20th century structures around this block. Hear how they have provided recreation, education, civic administration, worship space, places to work and places to live. Tours last about one hour. Parking available at the PCVS lot, or City Hall.

Tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Hunter Street Bridge and the American Cereal/Quaker Oats Plant

Driscoll Terrace and Hunter Street East

In 1902, American Cereal, later Quaker Oats, began producing breakfast cereal, baking flour and farm feed at its new Peterborough plant. In 1916, a fire and explosion destroyed the twice-expanded eight-storey mill. Twenty-four men died. One hundred years later, local historian Gord Young published a book about this devastating event. Take a 30-minute walk with him to learn more about it – and how Quaker Oats rebuilt on condition the City construct an improved Hunter Street Bridge. Free parking is available at Kawartha Credit Union, meet in the lot near the sidewalk as you approach the bridge.

Tours hourly between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.


For more information please contact the undersigned:

Jennifer Guerin, Heritage Researcher

Arts, Culture & Heritage Division, City of Peterborough