We hope you’ve been enjoying our Doors Open series across Ontario which kicked off in the spring! It’s hard to believe it’s the end of the Doors Open 2023 season, and only two events remain. Doors Open Niagara-on-the-Lake and Doors Open Dutton Dunwich happen this weekend on Saturday, October 21st and Sunday, October 22nd respectively. the Teachers on Call in-person and online tutoring team highly recommend you check it out, as there is a great line-up in store for the conclusion. Read on to learn more!
Niagara-on-the-Lake has a lot of classic museums, historical, and architectural features. Doors Open Dutton Dunwich sites, on the other hand, consist mostly of lovely natural gardens and wildlife preserves. It’s at least a 2.5-hour drive between both locations. You may only be able to visit one Doors Open Dutton Dunwich site on Sunday, but it will pair as beautifully with a day at Niagara-on-the-Lake as a nice vintage the NOTL vineyards are famous for (Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery is participating)!
What is Doors Open Ontario and how does it work?
During select weekends from April to October, participating cities across Ontario open heritage sites, modern and historic buildings to the public in an annual event called Doors Open Ontario. This is all done in partnership with Ontario Heritage Trust, local businesses, organizations, and volunteers.
While this is the final Doors Open weekend of 2023, many of these attractions do not open their doors to the public – or let you go on exclusive behind the scenes tours, so if you can’t manage to visit Niagara-on-the-lake or Dutton Dunwich, be sure to catch next year’s Doors Open events!
Here’s a curated list of a few of the most family-friendly sites to visit. Visit the Doors Open Niagara-on-the-Lake and Doors Open Dutton Dunwich websites to see the full list!
Doors Open Niagara-on-the-Lake on Saturday, October 21, 2023
There are 12 in-person sites scheduled for Doors Open Niagara-on-the-Lake, a town in southern Ontario famous for its wineries and the summer Shaw Festival. The Teachers on Call online and in-person tutoring service connected with a few of the Doors Open participants and have the inside scoop on the activities for visitors of Clare’s Harley-Davidson of Niagara and Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre in particular. You will not want to miss what they have planned, so read on!
Clare's Harley-Davidson of Niagara - 590 York Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, L0S 1J0
You might find it surprising to see a Harley-Davidson shop on a Doors Open list, but the dealership is a marvel of architectural details. Throughout the dealership are architectural touches composed of reclaimed and re-purposed materials including reclaimed brick, doors, and woodwork. There’s a vintage window in the sales office, a countertop in the ladies’ washroom from The Prince of Whales Hotel and Inn., and the art deco interior and fittings were reclaimed from Diana Sweets - a restaurant that operated for 75 years in the downtown core of St. Catharines. All in all, a great visit for kids who like motorcycles!
Teachers on Call in-person and online tutoring service reached out to their team to find out what they have in store for Doors Open visitors. Guided tours on Saturday are from 10am - 2pm where they are featuring a 1923 WW1 Harley-Davidson motorcycle with side car in the front entrance along with the retro gas pump and the unique architecture and the restoration of a local landmark.
If you can’t swing by, check out this digital adventure and history lesson they shared with us!
Niagara Apothecary - 5 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, L0S 1J0
When you visit the Niagara Apothecary, you’ll step through their doors and see how pharmacists practised their profession over 100 years ago. The apothecary opened in the late 1860s at this location and closed in 1964. After its closure, The Ontario Heritage Trust acquired the property, worked on getting it restored and opened it as a museum in 1971. Operated by volunteers from the Ontario College of Pharmacists.
Niagara District Court House - 26 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, L0S 1J0
Constructed in 1847, this courthouse served as the official county seat of Niagara District until the judicial courts were moved to St. Catharines in 1862. Its large courtroom interior was home to the Shaw Festival’s Court House Theatre until 1973. These days, Parks Canada and the Chamber of Commerce keep offices there. It’s a lovely old building, and for extra fun stuff to look at, the memorial clock tower is nearby!
Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre - 247 Ricardo Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, L0S 1J0
Located on the banks of the Niagara River is a heritage building that formerly supplied water to Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was converted into a visual arts center in 1994, and now acts as an art hub for the entire community, providing visual arts programs, exhibitions, and events. Be sure to check out the Walker Room to find the artwork of emerging and professional artists!
Teachers on Call online and in-person tutoring service reached out to Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre to find out more on the exciting activities available for Doors Open. Their staff have prepared a Halloween themed art takeaway kit available for early trick or treaters. They will also be hosting an interactive pottery demonstration.
Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum - 43 Castlereagh Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, L0S 1J0
The Niagara Historical Society, founded in 1895, opened the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum in 1907. The museum collects, preserves, researches, educates, and promotes the history of Niagara-on-the-Lake and its communities. Their permanent exhibitions chronicle the history of NOTL, and between June and September, they offer fascinating walking tours you may want to come back to enjoy. In October, the new temporary exhibition will be "Bound and Determined,” and during Doors Open, they’ll be offering special tours throughout the day!
Doors Open Dutton Dunwich on Sunday, October 22, 2023
The last event for the Doors Open 2023 series is in Dutton/Dunwich, a municipality located in western Elgin County in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Nature lovers will not want to miss this one!
Buttermilk Bog - 274 Currie Road, Dutton, Ontario, N0L 1J0
Located behind the Dunwich United Church, the Buttermilk Bog is a centennial project of the Dutton Dunwich Horticultural Society. The Buttermilk Bog is ¾ of an acre that began development in 1999. The ground had been saturated with whey dumped there from the old Strathcona Creamery and had a high salt content. Now it has been turned into an enchanting arboretum populated with salt-tolerant native plants to help rejuvenate the vegetation. You’ll find approximately 50 different species of trees, including magnolias, American chestnut, sycamore, pawpaw, sassafras, flowering dogwood, sawtooth oak, butternut, gingko and black cherry.
Dutton Dunwich Conservation Area - 14494 Coyne Road, Dutton, Ontario, N0L 1J0
The Dutton Dunwich Conservation Area was acquired in 1993 by the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority. Located on the floodplain of the Thames River, the area is a fishing hot spot during pickerel season. It provides an ideal spot to launch your canoe or kayak on the Thames River during warmer months, but there’s plenty of opportunities to hike and snowshoe too! While walking around, look for the Hackberry heritage tree, marked with a plaque.
Harris House Backyard Garden - 8947 Iona Road, Iona, Ontario, N0L 1P0
Come and explore this unique garden! The William Harris House, built in 1852, was Iona’s first post office, and built for their first postmaster, William Harris. In 1997, Guelph landscape architect, Brad Peterson, was hired to develop a landscaping plan to help naturalize this backyard. Over 16 years, he turned this site into a Carolinian forest area, a pond, vegetable garden, wetland and sauna. Areas were planted with native species, such as shagbark hickory, blue birches, elderberries, tulip and redbud.
Storey Wetlands Trail at John E. Pearce Provincial Park - 29424 Lakeview Line, Wallacetown, Ontario
Located in the Carolinian forest zone of Southwestern Ontario, it covers 67.9 hectares (168 acres). Named for Mary Patterson Storey, who received her land grant in 1809, this wetland supports many water-loving and water-tolerant plants and animals – including cattails, water lilies, turtles and herons. The park is a wonderful place for birding in spring and fall and features two 1.5 km trails, of which Storey Wetlands is one. Storey Wetlands Trail has many informational panels along the way for guests.
Southwold Earthworks National Historic Site - 7930 Iona Road, Fingal, Ontario, N0L 1K0
Southwold Earthworks is a rare and well-preserved example of an Aboriginal fortified village that is surrounded by earthworks. It was built by the Attiwandaron (Neutral Iroquois) who inhabited Southwold sometime around 1500, give or take 100 years. This ancient site is the only example of a double-palisaded village in Southern Ontario. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1923 and is open to the public with self-guided visits.
We hope you enjoy learning about some of the local history of Niagara-on-the-Lake and have a chance to visit some of these beautiful gardens and parks in Dutton, Fingal, Iona, Rodney and Wallacetown!
Did you enjoy our Doors Open series? While some of these locations are off-limits to the public or have special tours just for Doors Open, many of the attractions are open in some capacity at other times of year. It’s never too late to be a local tourist… just find a place in our series on our website!
Also, our friends from Ontario Heritage Trust have a pro tip to share with the Teachers on Call community. If you ever crave some off-season Doors Open Ontario, feel free to check out the digital offerings that run year-round. Many of these experiences are only available to people online … which makes them truly unique.
Picture provided by The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre.
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