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Doors Open Toronto

For one weekend at the end of May every year over 150 public buildings in Toronto throw open their doors to the public. It’s a unique opportunity for people to see inside buildings that are important to the life of the city but which are normally closed to them. Many of the buildings are fascinating heritage sites with great architecture and interior design while others are simply everyday workplaces.

I managed to visit nine sites in one day. The buildings I saw included the Mayor’s office, the law courts, a television studios, a theatre, a police station, a fire station and a bank. If I’d had more time, I could have visited a hospital, a college, a university, a water treatment plant, a library and various community projects. What brought these visits to life was actually talking to the volunteers and people who work in these places. You learn such a lot from people’s career stories.

It set me thinking…

Why don’t some of our UK cities have a ‘Doors open’ weekend each year? In Toronto this is the fifteenth year that they’ve done this and judging by the crowds of people it attracts it is a great success. Every year they opt for a different theme. This year it was ‘explore Toronto’s secrets and spirits’. I’ve got a suggestion for next year’s theme: ‘explore Toronto’s workplaces’!

I’ve been to many careers fairs in schools and exhibition centres but I’ve never been to a city-wide one before. It’s one of the ways that the careers inspiration policy could be made to work, but it needs organisers and sponsors. To see how Toronto do it, have a look at www.toronto.ca/doorsopen

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