It’s that time of year for one of my favourite events in the region. Doors Open Waterloo Region (Doors Open) is a oneday chance to get inside architecturally and historically significant buildings you normally don’t have access to.

The annual, free event, this year happening on Saturday, Sept. 19, gives you backdoor access to your favourite heritage buildings, like the Waterloo Masjid and Galt Collegiate Institute.

Doors Open also selects different sites around the community based on a theme that changes yearly. Communitech was a stop last year, but won’t be participating this year, as we don’t quite fit the theme. 

As a salute to the 2015 PanAm and ParapanGames, Doors Open events across Ontario this yearcelebrate sports. Doors Open has selected community clubs, sports venues, professional teams, and innovative technologies and facilities that promote and commemorate sports.

Doors Open has 10 sport-themed sites in Waterloo Region, including three tech companies you need to see: Aeryon Labs, HockeyTech Analytics and Clearpath Robotics.

Aeryon Labs Inc., at 575 Kumpf Dr. in Waterloo, is the premier manufacturer of small, Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) that are often in the midst of major world events and developing media stories. Aeryon drones have military, public safety and commercial applications. Easily portable, they can take off and land where manned aircraft can’t. They are particularly useful for police investigations, wildlife monitoring and disaster response.

Drones with cameras are also becoming popular in more casual settings. Wedding photographers, sports teams and the average person can now fly drones with cameras to capture life-changing moments.

If you stop by Aeryon, you’ll have the opportunity to see where Aeryon sUAS are assembled and tested. You will also get to see the Aeryon Sky Ranger in action during live flight demonstrations. Access to the building is by guided tour only. 

HockeyTech Analytics hasn’t been in Waterloo for long. Formed in 2013 from the merger of RinkNet, ISS Hockey and NEXT Testing, HockeyTech is a leader in hockey-related technologies, analytics and information services.It opened its first office in Waterlo at 180 Columbia Street West in Waterloo this year.

HockeyTech wants to show off its amazing technology. Instead of heading to its offices, go to the University of Waterloo Columbia Icefield at 250 Columbia St. W.(at Hagey Boulevard) in Waterloo.

Dress warmly because you’ll be in the chilly ice arena to watch a 30-minute demonstration at 2 or 4 p.m. Players showing off the technology will be “tagged up” and tracked by a sensor array on the ceiling.

Visitors will see how this pioneering technology gathers data on speed, position, time on ice and more. It will make you want to trade in your Fitbit for something more advanced!

If you are stopping by, you should know there is free parking at the University of Waterloo Lot X right across from the arena.

Clearpath Robotics, at 1425 Strasburg Rd., Unit 2A, in Kitchener, is dedicated to automating the dullest, dirtiest and deadliest jobs with intelligent service robots. During the tour of the 25,000squarefoot facility, you’ll learn how land, air, sea and lab robots are made, and how they work

The visit is by guided tour only, running every 20 minutes.

Doors Open happens during Geek Week, an eightevent, actionpacked five days throughout Waterloo Region when visitors can sample all the ingredients of Waterloo’s thriving and dynamic innovation community through a diverse array of happenings.

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It’s backtoschool time. Our city is filled with new students of all ages. It’s not all back to the books, though. I see and hear that . . . On Sunday, Sept. 13, Bingemans Big Splash Waterpark (25 Bingemans Centre Dr., Kitchener) is going to the dogs, literally. Surf Dogs, brought to you by the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society, is back. Bring your furry best friend for an afternoon of splashing around. The event runs 1p.m.–4 p.m. and features a “best-dressed” and “Hang 20” contest. The cost is $10 per dog, but humans get in for free . . . HackerNest Kitchener-Waterloo Tech Social happens Monday, Sept. 14 at the Communitech Hub, 151 Charles St. W., Kitchener. The social is a laid-back evening for you to meet others in the tech world. There is a suggested $10 voluntary donation to help cover costs. This month, Communitech is the venue sponsor and Waterloo Codefest is the community partner.  The drop-in event runs8 p.m.–11 p.m . . . Are you a designer or creative-type in Waterloo Region? Then you should probably drop by the Brew Over Design Networking event at the Boathouse (57 Jubilee Dr., Kitchener) on Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 7 p. m–10 p.m. The free, noworkshop, setagenda or presentation event is designed for you to meet cool people in the creative field and check out their wares. You should remember to bring business cards and cash for some drinks and merchandise for sale.