Calling all explorers! If you’re looking for a fun weekend excursion, consider checking out a Doors Open event. This province-wide celebration runs from April until October, including over the summer months. If you are new to this series, participating Doors Open cities across Ontario have been opening normally closed doors to the public at no cost. There are all sorts of interesting sites to visit with a combination of contemporary and historical buildings, with some hidden treasures in the mix. In this blog, we are featuring Doors Open Loyalist Township, which is taking place over one day on Saturday, June 17, 2023, with 17 participating sites in Amherst Island, Amherstview, Bath, Kingston, Odessa, and Wilton!
At Teachers on Call, we have always been fans of family outings filled with learning, fun and teachable moments. This is a unique opportunity for students (and the adults who love them) to experience history, culture and architecture in their very own city, or an opportunity to take a daytrip somewhere new. In this blog, we’re featuring Doors Open Loyalist Township with 17 participating in-person options including Kingston’s St. Peter’s Anglican Church (known for their stained glass windows) to the popular tourist destination of Topsy Farms in Amherst Island, just to name a few!
What is Doors Open Ontario and how does it work?
Hello Ontario! Are you looking for a fun Saturday or Sunday activity filled with adventure and learning. The Ontario Heritage Trust has invited communities across Ontario to open the doors, gates and courtyards of special historical and modern sites which are not normally open to the general public. Over the next few months, our tutoring team at Teachers on Call will be featuring all the celebrations. Did you read our last feature on Doors Open Ottawa? If not, catch up here.
Participation is incredibly simple, no reservations required. All you need to do is check which Doors Open sites are available as well as when they are open and plan your trip to show up!
How to Plan for Doors Open Loyalist Township
It is unlikely a family will be able to visit all the sites in one day. The Teachers on Call online and in-person tutoring service recommends reviewing the list together as a family to map out your weekend plans with the sites you want to visit most. You may try for a target of five buildings per day for in-person trips.
We’ve curated a family-friendly list from the offerings you may be interested in visiting, but do visit their website to see all available locations!
A List of In-Person Sites for Doors Open Loyalist Township
Bath Museum & Visitor Information Centre - 434 Main St, Bath, Ontario K0H 1G0
The Bath Museum and Visitor Centre has served the Village of Bath in many different capacities since it was first built in 1861. Today, the building serves as the Bath Museum and Visitor Centre with exhibits that will take you on a journey through cherished Bath history from pre-colonial times all the way to World War II, beginning with an archaeological history of the First Nations in this region.
Layer Cake Hall - 193 Davy Street, Bath, Ontario K0H 1G0
Originally built in 1859, the Layer Cake Hall is an excellent example of Carpenter's Gothic Revival architecture and the only one of its kind in Bath. The Bath Chapter of the Mechanic's Institute commissioned the building; however, ownership of the building was transferred to local carpenter Abraham Harris in 1859 when the Institute could not afford to pay for the construction.
Babcock Mill - 100 Bridge Street, Odessa, Ontario K0H 2H0
The Babcock Mill was built in 1856 by the Saul Brothers, a firm of stonemasons, for Philip D. and John K. Booth. Originally, the mill was intended to be used as a gristmill, but it was never outfitted for this purpose as the Grand Trunk Railway brought in cheaper flour from Toronto and Montreal to the area, outpricing the mill. Instead, the mill was used as part of the Booth family's Woolen Mill. Later in 1907, the mill was sold to John Herbert "Herb" Babcock. John Babcock then outfitted the mill to make wooden baskets, installing line shafts, pulleys, and belts.
Second Chance Ranch - 6038 Hwy 2, Odessa, Ontario K0H 2H0
Second Chance Ranch is a special farm providing more than just the basic life requirements of food, water and shelter for animals needing care. They are committed to the rehabilitation of animals of all breeds by addressing behaviour and training challenges. This improves the quality of their lives and improves the chances of success in the ultimate goal of being their forever home or re-homing.
Wilton Cheese Factory - 287 Simmons Road, Wilton, Ontario K0H 2H0
Since 1867, the Wilton Cheese Factory has been producing delicious cheese in the hamlet of Wilton! In 1921, the business was taken over by a Farmers Cooperative venture, which is a business owned and controlled by farmers, ranchers, and growers. In 1978, the factory was purchased by Arne M. Jensen of Simcoe. Arne Jensen was a Master Cheesemaker from Denmark who established Jensen Cheese in 1925. The company continues to use the old-world curing process to produce their cheese products at the Wilton Cheese Factory. After all this time, the basic recipe used at the factory to make the cheese has not changed much.
Topsy Farms - 14775 Front Road, Stella, Amherst Island, Ontario K0H 2S0
In 1972 the farm was purchased by "a boatload of free-thinking, peace loving hippies," as self-described by the owners of the farm, who were seeking a different lifestyle. They formed a commune called Headlands Community. Today Topsy Farms is a popular tourist destination that offers hiking trails, self-guided farmyard activities, seasonal events, workshops, and classes. In May and June, the farm offers a Adopt a Foster Lamb program. The cost of fostering helps to cover the cost of bottle feeding the lamb, and allows the foster to name the lamb, receive a photo and have one free, staff supervised visit, with the lambs. Visit Topsy Farms on June 17 to visit their animals and also to experience the Drystone Walls of Amherst Island (which you can see in our feature photo)!
Dry Stone Walls, Amherst Island - 14775 Front Road, Stella, Amherst Island, Ontario K0H 2S0
When Irish settlers migrated to Amherst Island from Ireland, they brought with them a unique way of building walls. Using technical knowledge and skills, these Irish immigrants, most notably John Crowe, built walls using a technique called dry-stacking, where walls are layered without the use of mortar, instead using gravity as the glue that holds the stone wall together. The tradition of building and maintaining these stone walls has continued to this day. Learn more about Amherst Islands Dry Stone Walls through an interactive exhibit at Topsy Farms during Doors Open on June 17!
Loyalist Township Fire & Emergency Services - Amherstview Fire Hall, 363 Amherst Drive, Amherstview, Ontario K7N 1V3
The Emergency Services Department, formed during Loyalist Township's amalgamation in 1998, currently consists of four fire stations: Odessa, Amherst Island, Bath, and Amherstview! These fire stations protect 340 km2 of land and approximately 17,000 residents. The department also responds to assist neighboring municipalities under mutual aid agreements. See these amazing firefighters in action at the Amherstview Fire Hall during Doors Open on June 17!
We hope you enjoy learning about Doors Open Loyalist Township and wish you a great excursion with your family. Stay tuned for our upcoming features on Doors Open Kingston & Area and Doors Open Burlington.
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