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Culture & Heritage - Open Doors

Acquaint yourself with the unique character of our historic towns. 

Doors Open Northumberland June 7 & 8, 2014


         Take a step back in history at Doors Open Ontario in Northumberland, June 7 & 8, 2014. The Doors Open concept is a simple one: buildings of architectural and historical significance, many of which are not normally open to the public, open their doors to visitors for a day or the weekend. Many provide guided tours, special exhibits, displays or performances. All free of charge.

Click here for a printable PDF of the 2014 Doors Open brochure

Explore Doors Open Northumberland at themed sites; WW1, Industrial Heritage, Town & Country and Churches. You can view by towns, municipalities, themes or stay the weekend and visit all the sites! Preview this year’s sites below and visit the Doors Open Ontario website for more details about each site.


Port Hope

Antique Machinery Centre, Canton – Industrial Heritage
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Hope Agricultural Heritage Club keeps agricultural history alive by preserving and displaying antique farm machinery including a beautifully restored wooden horse-drawn grain drill, a 1923 wooden threshing machine, antique sleds, and handheld farm implements. The collection includes a tree planter from the 1940s that assisted with planting more than 50 million trees in the Ganaraska River Watershed!

Molson Mill – Industrial Heritage
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Molson Mill, established in Port Hope in 1851, was once part of the Molson distillery and brewing empire. The building was used as a flour mill producing 300 barrels of flour a day. In 1924, after the mill had ceased operations it was used as a summer school by the Ontario College of Art under the direction of artist J. W. Beatty. Art students continue to attend each summer, now operating as “Journey Through the Arts”.

Kirkpatrick’s Leather Shop – Industrial Heritage
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Located in historic Downtown Port Hope Kirkpatricks’s Leather Shop is an original manufacturer of quality leather goods since 1881. See their display of heritage tools and equipment then prepare to embrace the smell of new leather as you step into their showroom.


Old St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – Churches 
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Old St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, designed by Archibald Frazer in a plain and classically proportioned Georgian style, built in 1830 of local stone.  A new roof, featuring projecting eaves supported by paired brackets was added in the early 1900s, giving the building an Italianate character. Local war hero Charles S. Rutherford, MM, MC, VC was a childhood congregant here. 

Veterans Monument, Victoria Square - WW1
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Veterans Monument at Victoria Square in Colborne is a symbol of respect to all community members who fought for our country. In memory of two WWI heroes, hear the stories of Charles S. Rutherford, a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, and Miss Eliza Padginton, the longest-serving postmistress in Canada, who corresponded with young Colborne area soldiers in four different conflicts.

Royal Canadian Legion – WW1
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visit the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 187, Charles S. Rutherford, MM, MC, VC and hear the story of Captain Rutherford, a Colborne area boy who joined the war and came home with the Victoria Cross. A painting portrays the scene the storyteller will describe the events.

Trent Hills

Westben Arts Festival Theatre, Campellford – Town & Country
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Westben Arts Festival Theatre is nestled amongst the peaceful hills of Northumberland County, near Campbellford in Trent Hills. Westben's primary performance venue is a custom-built, 400 seat timber-frame barn. On sunny days from June to August massive walls and doors roll away allowing music to waft over the surrounding meadows. 

St. George’s Anglican Church, Hastings – Churches
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The present day St. Georges Anglican Church is a fine example of Arts and Crafts architecture and features superb stained glass windows by the Robt. McCausland Ltd. studios in Toronto, the oldest stained glass company in the western hemisphere. From 2 to 4 pm on both Saturday June 7 and Sunday June, special guest artist Angelica Ottewill, Trobairitz, Harpist and Storyteller 8 will be performing.  The public is welcome to come to services at 11 am on Sunday but are asked, if they do, to stay for the service.

Schoolhouse Gardens, Warkworth - Town & Country
Sunday: 10 a.m to 4 p.m.

Schoolhouse #6 was built in c.1850, won a beautification award in 1942 and closed in 1961. Since 1987 the current owners have transformed the 4 acre site and created manicured gardens including peonies, day lilies, and hostas, herb gardens and a vegetable patch. Schoolhouse Gardens is featured in the 2010 book “Private Gardens of Northumberland.”


Victoria Hall – Town & Country 
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Victoria Hall is a National Historic site of Canada. Its grand neoclassic design has an imposing entrance portico with four Corinthian columns, Greco-Roman roofed porch and Speaker’s  balcony. The symmetry of the building is emphasized by its 96 ample multi paned windows and its splendid crown topped cupola, weathervane and four crested clock faces. Inside features a ‘sunken court room, the James Cockburn room, the Concert Hall and the Art Gallery of Northumberland on the 3rd floor.

Cobourg Police Services (Armoury) – WW1
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Cobourg Armoury was built in 1904 in an Edwardian institutional style. The Armoury was the most pivotal site during the war effort.  All men/women who participated in the WW1 passed through these doors to enlist. Over the years, a grand staircase, 2 of 3 exterior bay doors were preserved along with exterior of the building. A fireplace in the social room is grand in its simplicity. View several historical photographs that are on display in halls and a display of historical police artifacts, the kids can visit the Children’s Safety Village. 

Northumberland County Archives - Town & Country
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
200 Ontario Street, Cobourg

Visitors are welcome to a “behind-the-scenes” look at the Archives’ storage and conservation facilities to learn about the important role the Archives plays in preserving the County’s heritage. Historic documents and artifacts from the 18th to 21st centuries will be on display.


Harwood Fish Culture Station (Fish Hatchery) – Town & Country
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This is one of nine stations in Ontario at which the Ministry of Natural Resources breeds and nurtures native fish species-trout, salmon and more-for restocking purposes. It is open to the public for tours. It has an obvious link to our natural heritage, but is also connected to cultural heritage in that it uses the clear, cold-water springs so abundant in this neighbourhood. These same streams once ran the local creamery. In fact, this water supply (not the proximity of Rice Lake) was the key factor in determining the location of the facility.

Spirit of Canada Gallery - Town & Country
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Housed in what was once a pig barn, this little museum is a reflection of the owner’s abiding interest in local history and politics. A former MP, the owner documents Canadian history through portraiture and memorabilia. There is also a model of the ill-fated 1860 Rice Lake railway bridge, which was so technically flawed that it broke apart after just one winter.

St. John’s Anglican Church – Churches
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Since 1876, this hidden Gothic Revival gem has been nestled in its leafy hollow. Local supporters rescued and restored this little church in the early 1990’s. In addition to its pleasing traditional design, it features a heritage font, commemorative stained glass and a bell reputedly from the old Harwood train station. Attend a church service Sunday, June 8 at 10:30 a.m. 


Carman Historic Site – Churches/Town & Country
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Named after Rev. Bishop Albert Carman this charming Gothic church, built in 1879, has been beautifully restored by a dedicated congregation. A stroll through the cemetery reveals the names of families that settled the area and beside the church is a one room schoolhouse, formally S.S. #13 built in 1885.  Enjoy refreshments while viewing the displays and artifacts. 

Butler – Tobey House – Town & Country
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This large, classic Georgian Style home was built of local brick by the Butler family in 1848 to house the family plus hired men and servants. It has been lovingly restored by the Tobey’s and features many original details including two Rumford fireplaces, one with a functioning bake oven which will be demonstrated.

Brighton Township Hall – Town & Country
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This Vernacular Style hall, built in 1861, served as the Council meeting hall and office for Brighton Township until amalgamation with the Town of Brighton in 2001. A simple building it exhibits unusual rubble and ashlar stone construction completed by a local stone mason. Enjoy refreshments while viewing live demonstrations of wool carding and spinning and a blacksmith at his forge. Speakers will be on site to talk about local heritage.


Barnum House – Town & Country
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Eliakim Barnum emigrated from the United States in 1807. He built this house in 1819, and generations of the family lived in it until 1917. Enjoy a tour of this magnificent home, one of the finest examples of neoclassical architecture in Ontario, and now faithfully restored to how it would have been in the 1820-40 period.

Canning Factory – Industrial Heritage
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Cannery opened c.1904, close by was a new rail line. Operations ceased in about 1955 and it became a derelict for 60 years. A remarkable renovation has blended the original with modern to create a showroom for Vincent Sheppard indoor and outdoor furniture.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Grafton – Churches
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The yellow brick church, Gothic style, was built in 1875 on a four acre lot donated by Thomas Heenan, a local farmer. The red brick Manse was built 7 years later. The pioneer cemetery has 255 burials and internet details can be found by searching “St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery Alnwick/Haldimand Township”

Trails Open

Oak Hills Farm Prairie and Arboretum
Sunday only: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; one-hour Woods and Prairies tour at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., two-hour tour at 1 p.m. continues to a lookout over Rice Lake.

The tours of this beautiful 41-hectare (101-acre) site will focus on using native plants to recreate a historical landscape and natural habitat. The tours feature a recreated 1.2-hectare (3-acre) tallgrass prairie, an arboretum containing over 120 labelled native Ontario trees, and shrubs and a new woodland plantation. Problems related to alien invasive species will also be discussed.

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Cannon outside of Victoria Hall, Cobourg


Tools at Kirkpatrick's Leather Shop, Port Hope


Outside view of Molson Mill in Port Hope

Veterans Monument ,Victoria Square, Colborne Ontario


Inside view of Westben Theatre, Campbellford Ontario


Inside view of St. George’s Anglican Church, Hastings Ontario


Outside view of Victoria Hall, Cobourg Ontario


Man holding muskie on Rice Lake Ontario, Circa 1820's

 Outside view of the Spirit of Canada Gallery


St. John's Anglican Church, Harwood Ontario


Carman Historic Site - graveyard and old school building


Inside view of the Butler - Tobey House, Brighton Ontario


Outside view of Barnum House Museum


Scenic lookout at Rice Lake


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