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Event offers everyone a chance to be nosy

Maryhill Inn

Have you ever wanted to have a peek behind the curtains? Maybe it is a building that you walk by every day on your way to work, but never knew what went on in there.

Well, now is your chance to take a step backstage, into buildings and business operations that aren’t normally open to the public.

Doors Open Waterloo Region is back and the theme this year is “Inside Science and Technology.” Just over a quarter of the sites stick with the theme, inviting the public inside Google, Shopify, The Perimeter Institute and similar locations.

There are nearly 50 sites on the region-wide self-guided tour, and eight of those locations are in Woolwich. You can learn everything there is to know about farming or trains or the history of Maryhill and West Montrose.

Crowds will gather at the sites all over the region from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 17, and Karl Kessler with Doors Open Waterloo says there are some amazing stops right around the corner.

“There is the Stevanus Family Farm (in Bloomingdale), to show people how it works, how farming happens, where the farmers live, what they do each season – there will be field tours,” he said, adding that some new spots and some old favourites are on the list of places to visit. “There are two sites in West Montrose. There is an old church there that hasn’t been one of the sites before. It is a really nice little site along with a walking tour of the covered bridge area. It has been really popular before.”

The Waterloo North Hydro headquarters is another favourite stop from previous years. Visitors get to check out how the power grid works. In St. Jacobs, the Railway Museum is extending their hours to show off their repair shop-turned-museum. In Maryhill, Kessler revealed there is one corner in town that has three stops.

“We see it as the historic crossroads in Woolwich,” he said. “It is the old church, the historic house and the Maryhill Inn.”

The whole day is free, with sightseers able to stop at as many sites as they like. To Kessler, the region-wide event is all about sharing the stories that come along with buildings and their former inhabitants.

“There is a real interest from people who want to see these buildings that you go by everyday. You take them for granted sometimes, but when they are presented to you and opened up like this, you realize how interesting they are,” he said. “We use the buildings everyday, whether we are living in them or working in them, and it is definitely worth our while to think about how we use them and celebrate them.”

The event has been hugely popular in previous years, with hundreds of people making their way around the region.

“The public, they just love these places,” said Kessler. “We have 48 participating sites for the event and they get hundreds of visitors every time.”

For a full listing of all the buildings and sites participating in Doors Open Waterloo Region, click the Discovering the Region link at www.regionofwaterloo.ca.

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