Written by Charlotte Evans

The theme this year is “15 Decades of Canadian Architecture,” and MaRS is a perfect fit, given that it’s a blend of modern and historical styles, from the heritage building — which formerly housed the Toronto General Hospital — to the cutting-edge West Tower. Here’s a roundup of highlights that you can see throughout the weekend:

  1. Insulin: Toronto’s Gift to the World — In 1922, the first human trials of this life-saving medication were conducted on the very site where the MaRS Centre now stands. At the time, it was the diabetes clinic at the Toronto General Hospital. Check out the insulin exhibit here, which displays real artifacts, including Frederick Banting’s desk.
  2. Heritage Building — Learn the remarkable story of the former Toronto General Hospital. Insulin was trialed in (what is now) the Heritage Building almost 10 years after it first opened its doors in 1913. Heparin, artificial kidney and pacemaker technologies were later developed here as well.
  3. Autodesk Display — Between 12:00–4:00 p.m. on both days you can check out Autodesk’s VR headsets and 3D display, which offer a preview of their new office space at MaRS and “generative design” projects. If you’ve ever driven a high-performance car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a smartphone, or watched a great film, chances are you’ve experienced how millions of Autodesk customers use their software.
  4. Entrepreneur Highlight Reel (video montage) — Watch a highlight reel to learn more about what we do here at MaRS– in the sectors of health, finance & commerce, work & learning, and energy & environment – and the “Aha!” moments that sparked some of the startups we work with. MaRS startups raised $2.6 billion in capital and generated $1.3 billion in revenue between 2008–2015.
  5. West Tower — The 20-storey, 780,000-square-foot West Tower houses the Toronto offices of Facebook, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JLABs), Autodesk, PayPal, CCRM, among many others. The tower is LEED Gold certified and offers state-of-the-art laboratory and office space.
  6. PayPal Tours — If you’re here on Saturday, May 27 between 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., head upstairs to the 5th floor of the West Tower for a tour of the 7,800-square-foot PayPal offices. You’ll see art by local designers, as well as panoramic views across the city that take in Queen’s Park, the University of Toronto and the CN Tower.
  7. CCRM Tours — The 10th floor of the West Tower houses CCRM, the University of Toronto’s Medicine by Design and the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM) in one space. On Sunday, May 28 between 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. they will open their doors, allowing visitors a glimpse into the labs where groundbreaking research into regenerative medicine takes place. Take the elevator up to see videos and posters highlighting some of the cell and gene therapies, and regenerative medicine technologies being developed here.
  8. Revelo Electric Bikes — Say hello to Revelo, one of the startups in the MaRS ecosystem, and find out more about their e-bikes. If you’re around between 1:00–5:00 p.m. on Sunday, venture outside (weather permitting) to College Street to take a spin on Revelo’s award-winning FLEX, a lightweight, portable electric bike for urban commuters.
  9. Eve Medical — Focused on designing medical products for women, Eve Medical has just launched the Eve Kit: a smart, at-home HPV and STI screening service. Look out for them in the atrium.

The MaRS Auditorium will also play host to special events during Doors Open this year. On Saturday afternoon, job-seekers can head to the HackerNest Tech Job Fair, while Sofar Sounds will be bringing the magic of live music to the building with two performances (for ticket holders only) at 2:00 or 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Celebrate our history of innovation at this annual event! MaRS staff will be on hand to answer your questions.

Charlotte Evans is the Senior Associate, Communications at MaRS. 

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