2023 Winners

Best Tour

2023 - Best Tour

Essar Anything to See Here?

Located at Essar Avenue at Kildonan Drive

On this tour we are in a quiet little gem of a neighbourhood. We will hear the “tale of two bridges,” a history of the Kildonan Canoe Club circa 1930, the North Kildonan Municipality office and the Reeve S.R. Henderson who is the namesake of Henderson Hwy. We will end with a short walk under Kildonan Settler Bridge to the north side where we will see the outlet of McLeod Creek, our “hidden” area waterway, into the mighty Red River.

Best Overall Experience

2023 - Best Overall Experience

Vaughan Street Jail

Located at 221 Memorial Boulevard

Visit Winnipeg’s very own Victorian gaol and hear true crime stories about rapscallions, bootleggers, soiled doves and murderers. Stand in cells that held the undesirables from the Winnipeg General Strike, the infamous Gorilla Strangler, solitary confinement and more! For 50 years this building and the people who passed through it changed both local and Canadian history for the good and the bad. Join us for this unique experience and discover Winnipeg’s darker side of history!

Best Architecture

2023 - Best Architecture

Seven Oaks House Museum

Located at 50 Mac Street

Step back in time at the oldest home in Winnipeg, and experience life as it was for a wealthy Scottish-Metis family throughout the 1800s. Tour the oldest building of any kind in Winnipeg, as you visit the Inkster family’s General Store and get a taste of the fur trade. Learn about Red River’s unique heritage as you view a stunning collection of beadwork, embroidery, locally-built furniture and Victorian finery. Brave visitors will even hear tales of the Spirits of Seven Oaks, who linger on the property to this day.

2022 Winners

Best Tour

2022 - Best Tour

Université de Saint-Boniface

Located at 200 Avenue de la Cathedrale

The Université de Saint-Boniface is the oldest educational institution in Western Canada, tracing its origins back to 1818. The present building, designed in the Greco-Roman style by architect J.O. Turgeon of Montreal, houses the University since 1922, after a fire cost ten lives and razed the 1880 building to the ground. Mainly recognized for its majestic dome, the building is the setting for many interesting stories. It is said that the cupola was once the perfect place for students to hide and socialize with beer and cigarettes. A unique opportunity to visit our dome!

L’Université de Saint-Boniface est le plus ancien établissement d’enseignement de l’Ouest canadien et retrace ses origines à 1818. Le bâtiment actuel, qui a été conçu par l’architecte J.O. Turgeon de Montréal dans le style gréco-romain, héberge l’Université depuis 1922 et ce, en raison d’un incendie qui a coûté la vie de dix individus et qui a rasé l’édifice construit en 1880. Sa coupole majestueuse aurait apparemment été un lieu convoité pour les collégiens qui cherchaient à boire et à fumer en cachette. Une occasion unique pour visiter la coupole!

Best Overall Experience

2022 - Best Overall Experience

Vaughan Street Jail

Located at 221 Memorial Boulevard

For the building’s 140th birthday, join inmates and other troublesome characters and learn about the famous, infamous and notorious who graced these somber halls. Witness a silly escape attempt, new props and characters!

Best Architecture

2022 - Best Architecture

Dalnavert Museum and Visitors' Centre

Located at 61 Carlton Street

Choose-your-own-adventure through Winnipeg’s Victorian Past! Built on Treaty 1 land in 1895, Dalnavert is now a national historic site and one of the finest examples of Queen Anne Revival architecture in Western Canada. The fully furnished family home of the Macdonald’s is filled with period artifacts and antiques featuring a day in the life of an affluent family in 19th century Winnipeg. At Doors Open, you will be treated to a unique and in depth tour of 3 rooms of your choosing.

2021 Winners

Best Overall Experience

2021 Best Overall Experience

Vaughan Street Jail

Located at 221 Memorial Boulevard

Walk around this 140 year old foreboding former gaol (jail) and hear tales from yesteryear that will surely shock and surprise you into improved attendance at work or school. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but the improvement will definitely be noticed during the tour as you listen to stories of famous Canadians from both sides of the bars, inmate treatment, 19th century law, see a flogging rack, walk into solitary confinement, and visit the lunatic cell.

Best Architecture

2021 Best Architecture

Dalnavert Museum and Visitors' Centre

Located at 61 Carlton Street

Go back in time as soon as you step into this small mansion in the heart of Downtown. One of the finest examples of Queen Anne Revival architecture in Western Canada, the house has an impressive collection of 19th century decorative arts all out on display as they might have been back in 1895. A national historic site, it feature rooms on the main floor such as the Kitchen stove with built-in waffle iron, and the parlour with its papier-mâché chess board table!

2020 Winners

Best Tour

2020 Best Tour

Haunted History Tour

Located at Memorial Provincial Park

Join one of Winnipeg’s most experienced guides, Matthew Komus, author of the book Haunted Winnipeg: Ghost Stories from the Heart of the Continent, on a tour of haunted history. The walk combines historical fact with ghost stories connected to three well-known Winnipeg buildings. Starting at Vaughan Street Jail, the tour proceeds to the Manitoba Legislature Building and concludes at Dalnavert Museum.

Best Overall Experience

2020 Best Overall Experience

Vaughan Street Jail

Located at 221 Memorial Boulevard

Open to the public for only two days a year, walk through this former jail where you will hear tales of famous Canadians from both sides of the bars, inmate treatment, 19th century law, child criminals and executions. The Jailer will surely shock and surprise you into improved attendance at work or school! And don’t miss your chance to learn about the 1918 “Spanish flu” – a pandemic of the past!

2019 Winners

Best Overall Experience

2019 Best Overall Experience

Vaughan Street Jail

Located at 221 Memorial Boulevard

The Vaughan Street Jail was built in 1881 by architect Charles Osborne Wickensen, and was later modified by Samuel Hooper in 1909. It is the oldest provincially owned building still standing within the City limits. There are significant local and Canadian historical figures connected to this building, and yet unfortunately, there is still no heritage designation.

2018 Winners

Best Restoration

2018, 2017, 2016, 2015
Best Restoration

Dalnavert Museum and Visitors' Centre

Located at 61 Carlton Street

The Dalnavert Museum and Visitor’ Centre has undergone an incredible transformation through detailed restoration that is immediately visible to guests as they enter the 1895 home of Sir Hugh John MacDonald, son of Prime Minister John A MacDonald. The grand old house was nearly lost in the 1970s, and was slated for demolition. Thanks to dedicated volunteers and philanthropists, restoration to the house began almost immediately after the purchase.

Then again in 2014 Dalnavert Museum was closed and in risk of being lost forever. The Friends of Dalnavert Museum was formed and took over ownership with a new business model. In 2015 the museum officially reopened stronger than ever, guaranteeing it will be part of our social and architectural fabric for generations to come.

Best Guided Tour/Programming

2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013
Best Guided Tour/Programming

Vaughan Street Jail

Located at 221 Memorial Boulevard

The Vaughan Street Jail was built in 1881 by architect Charles Osborne Wickensen, and was later modified by Samuel Hooper in 1909. It is the oldest provincially owned building still standing within the City limits. There are significant local and Canadian historical figures connected to this building, and yet unfortunately, there is still no heritage designation.

2016 Winners

Best Architecture

2016 - Best Architecture

Manitoba Legislative Building - Roots, Rights, Democracy & Design

Located at 450 Broadway

The Manitoba Legislature formally opened on July 15th, 1920 on the 50th anniversary of Manitoba’s confederation. The impressive architecture in Beaux Arts style and the intriguing interior and exterior art have only become more renowned with time. The building is well known for the famous Golden Boy, who stands on top of the building’s domed ceiling. The statue was first installed in 1919, originally called Eternal Youth, and sculpted by Parisian artist Georges Gardet.

The Legislature is open for tours all year round, but that doesn’t detract from the building’s popularity during Doors Open. It’s always popular, and this year it also attracted nearly 2,000 visitors over the weekend.

2014 Winners

Best Restoration

2014 - Best Restoration

Gabrielle Roy's Legacy

Located at 375 Rue Deschambault

La Maison Gabrielle-Roy is the childhood home of prominent Canadian author Gabrielle Roy. The house was built in 1905 by her father and features a gabled attic, sweeping veranda, and beautiful white Corinthian columns. Gabrielle Roy was one of Canada’s great novelists both in English and in French, as well as being an immensely important figure in French Canadian culture. One of the books she wrote Rue Deschambault, or Street of Riches in English, was based on her childhood in this home. This Doors Open site is one of many in the St. Boniface area of the city and provides tours in both French and English. The goal of the museum is to not only preserve the life, works, and personality of Gabrielle-Roy, but also to play an active role in the cultural life of Manitoba, particularly in the French-speaking community.

Best Architecture

2014 - Best Architecture

Launching into Aviation History at the Millennium Centre

Located at 389 Main Street

The Millennium Centre, built for the bank in 1912 by national architects Darling and Pearson. This magnificent landmark building features monumental granite, a tapestry room whose floor has recently been refinished, and a marble banking hall capped by a gorgeous dome of stained glass. Since the 2000 immense progress has been made in its restoration thanks to the non-profit organization – 389 Main St. Heritage Corporation, and a generous donation by Bill & Shirley Loewen. This year for Doors Open, the Millennium Centre also featured a beautiful exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada.

For 15 years our Executive Director has sat on the Board of the Millennium Centre to help preserve the building and continue to make it economically sustainability. The current business plan with Storm Catering facilitates events & gives much needed revenue for maintaining the building. Future plans include re-developing the upper floors, and Heritage Winnipeg creating a first-ever Heritage & Arts Interpretive Centre.

2013 Winners

Best Architecture

2013 - Best Architecture

Launching into Aviation History at the Millennium Centre

Located at 389 Main Street

The Millennium Centre (former Bank of Commerce) located at 389 Main Street had over 900 site visits in one day. This building was built for the bank in 1912 by national architects Darling and Pearson. This magnificent landmark building has been preserved for many years and is a grade one designated building. Since 2000, immense progress has been made thanks to the non-profit organization – 389 Main St. Heritage Corporation and a generous donation by Bill & Shirley Loewen. The centre features monumental granite and a marble-banking hall, capped with a stained glass dome 15 meters above.

For 13 years our Executive Director has sat on the Board of the Millennium Centre to help preserve the building and continue to make it economically sustainability. The current business plan with Storm Catering facilitates events & gives much needed revenue for maintaining the building. Future plans include re-developing the upper floors, and Heritage Winnipeg creating a first-ever Heritage & Arts Interpretive Centre.

2012 Winners

Best Architecture

2012 - Best Architecture

Manitoba Legislative Building - Roots, Rights, Democracy & Design

Located at 450 Broadway

The Legislative Building, or ‘ledge’ is one of the finest public buildings, not just in Manitoba, but across North America! The ledge formally opened on July 15th, 1920 on the 50th anniversary of Manitoba’s confederation. The impressive architecture in Beaux Arts style and the intriguing interior and exterior art have only become more renowned with time. While the Ledge provides tours year round, every year during Doors Open, Winnipegers flock to see the life-sized North American bison on the grand staircase, the Pool of the Black Star beneath the Rotunda antechamber and the other treasures within this Frank W. Simon and Henry Boddington III creation. For the second year in a row, Winnipegers have proudly proclaimed that this Manitoba landmark has the best architecture in the city.

2011 Winners

The Hidden Gem

2011 - The Hidden Gem

St. James (the Assiniboine) Anglican Church (Heritage)

Located at 525 Tylehurst Street (in the St. James Cemetery)

Best Architecture

2011 - Best Architecture

Manitoba Legislative Building - Roots, Rights, Democracy & Design

Located at 450 Broadway

The Legislative Building, or ‘ledge’ is one of the finest public buildings, not just in Manitoba, but across North America! The ledge formally opened on July 15th, 1920 on the 50th anniversary of Manitoba’s confederation. The impressive architecture in Beaux Arts style and the intriguing interior and exterior art have only become more renowned with time. While the Ledge provides tours year round, every year during Doors Open, Winnipegers flock to see the life-sized North American bison on the grand staircase, the Pool of the Black Star beneath the Rotunda antechamber and the other treasures within this Frank W. Simon and Henry Boddington III creation.