Uncover Local History at Loyalist Township’s Third Annual Doors Open Celebration

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Uncover Local History at Loyalist Township’s Third Annual Doors Open Celebration

Fans of Doors Open Ontario should definitely mark their calendars for the third annual Doors Open event in Loyalist Township! Scheduled for Saturday, June 15, 2024, from 10:00am to 4:00pm, this community celebration promises a fun and educational experience. Following the success of last year's event, which drew in 1,200 participants, this year's edition anticipates an even larger turnout, with over 1,500 visitors. To provide the inside scoop, Teachers on Call’s online and in-person tutoring service is sharing an interview with Amber Meyer, the Cultural Development Coordinator of Loyalist Township's Heritage Culture and Tourism division. Read on for expert highlights and recommendations around 16 in-person offerings across the charming locales of Amherstview, Amherst Island, Bath, Kingston and Odessa.

Teachers on Call’s online and in-person tutors in Loyalist Township are looking forward to the upcoming Doors Open event, which is part of the provincewide Doors Open Ontario program run by the Ontario Heritage Trust. Our tutoring team holds a deep appreciation for enriching family experiences that seamlessly connect fun and teachable moments. This upcoming event offers students and their families an educational opportunity to learn about this year’s theme of adaptive reuse. Last spring, our in-person and online tutoring service featured, Teachers on Call Celebrates Doors Open Loyalist Township, for the very first time on our blog. This year, we are featuring an interview with Amber Meyer, the Cultural Development Coordinator of Loyalist Township's Heritage Culture and Tourism division. Read on!

How to Plan for Doors Open Loyalist Township

If you are planning to visit Loyalist Township for the first time, it’s located in southeastern Ontario, between the Town of Greater Napanee and the City of Kingston. Since Doors Open Loyalist Township is a one-day event, it's a good idea to prioritize which sites out of the 16 options you want to visit to make the most of your time. Sites will be offering an array of fun activities and a mixture of both guided and self-guided tours. Creating a plan ahead of time can help ensure that you don't miss out on any must-see locations. Check out our interview with Doors Open’s organizer, Amber Meyer, to learn more about what this event has to offer!

An Interview with Amber Meyer from Loyalist Township's Heritage Culture and Tourism Division

What can first time guests expect to experience at Doors Open Loyalist Township?

Visitors can enjoy the lovely drive through and between each of our participating communities. Each community has a number of participating sites, and a great mixture of different experiences. A number of sites are hosting special activities as well, including live music, demonstrations, and hands-on activities.

Are there new sites participating this year?

Yes, we have two new sites this year. Both new sites are in Bath.

Hogans’ Honey and Maple Products 6605 Loyalist Pky, Bath ON K0H1G0

Their retail store and processing and packaging plant is located along the scenic Loyalist Parkway, four kilometres west of Bath, Ontario. Although their beeyards are located from Belleville to Gananoque, Ontario on various farms and other lands. Hogans’ Honey is a longstanding local, family owned and operated business. They produce and package honey and maple syrup products. During Doors Open, come and watch the production process, explore the buildings and enjoy samples. Current owners Ben and Nancy Hogan, and their son Tim and his wife Kayleigh, manage over 1,000 hives in 31 bee yards (nearly 50 million bees), generating approximately 60 tons of honey annually! 

St. Johns Church216 Church St, Bath ON K0H 

St. John's was one of the first Anglican churches built in Upper Canada. It is the oldest one standing and in use in Ontario. 

Do you have any educational sites to recommend that are geared towards students and families?

We have a number of historic sites, museums, and experiential sites that will provide educational opportunities for visitors of all ages.

Beyond your community in the Township, where do your Doors Open visitors come from?

Neighboring municipalities, as well as tourists that are looking for site specific history. 

Are there volunteer opportunities available? For students?

Yes, we always enjoy offering volunteer opportunities for students to be immersed within our history and culture. 

What is your favorite tip to share about your event?

Follow along our map to make your travel plans for the day, that way you can experience what each site has to offer! We have also created travel specific packages for those who are interested in history and culture, churches, and experiential opportunities. 

List of In-Person Sites for Doors Open Loyalist Township 2024

Amherst Island's Dry Stone Walls - 14775 Front Road (Topsy Farms), Stella, Amherst Island, Ontario K0H 2S0

You can see beautiful displays of dry-stone stacking throughout the Island. When Irish settlers first came to Amherst Island, 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.

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. Now, it is owned and operated by Loyalist Township. This season, for the first time in over 30 years, all three floors will be open for tours.

Bath United Church - 402 Academy St, Bath, ON K0H 1G0

Learn about the Bath United Church's story and architectural heritage during Doors Open Loyalist Township on June 15th.

Bath Museum & Visitor 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 including the Haudenosaunee, Michi Saagiig, and Omámíwinini Peoples.

Fairfield House - 4574 Bath Rd, Amherstview, ON K7N 1Z4

Fans of architecture, will not want to miss this location. It offers one of the best-preserved late-18th-century buildings in the province. During Doors Open Loyalist Township, learn about the Fairfield family and early Loyalist settlers. 

Layer Cake Hall - 193 Davy Street, Bath, Ontario K0H 1G0

Join the library staff at Lennox and Addington County Library at Layer Cake Hall. 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. Now owned by Loyalist Township, it houses the Lennox and Addington County Library, Bath Branch.

Neilson Store Museum and Cultural Centre - 5220 Front Rd, Stella, ON K0H 2S0

Come and learn more about the local history of the Neilson Store — and Amherst Island. The Museum highlights Island artifacts from Islanders and their history. 

Second Chance Ranch - 6038 Hwy 2, Odessa, Ontario K0H 2H0

Come visit with the animals at Second Chance Ranch, 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.

St. Albans Church - 67 Main St, Odessa, ON K0H 2H0

Learn more about St. Albans Church local history during Doors Open on June 15!

St. Paul's Church - 1955 Stella 40 Foot Road, Stella, Amherst Island, Ontario K0H 2S0

The congregation worshipped in a frame church erected in 1851 just west of the present church. The original structure was moved to the Tugwell Farm, where it still stands. Fun fact, the limestone for the current church was cut and prepared by inmates of the Kingston Penitentiary. 

St. Peter’s Anglican Church - 4333 Bath Rd, Kingston, ON K7M 4Z1

Explore this church and its unique history during Doors Open Loyalist Township.

Topsy Farms - 14775 Front Road, Stella, Amherst Island, Ontario K0H 2S0

Visit with farm animals and enjoy a scavenger hunt created just for kids during Doors Open. 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 15th to also experience the famous Drystone Walls of Amherst Island (which you can see listed above)!

Trinity Presbyterian Church - 9 Manitou Crescent W, Amherstview, ON K7N 1S3

Visit this church and marvel at its architecture, which includes a stunning wooden sanctuary built by local craftsman Jack Snelgrove.

Loyalist Township Fire & Emergency Services - Amherstview Fire Hall, 363 Amherst Drive, Amherstview, Ontario K7N 1V3

Take advantage of a unique opportunity to explore fire trucks and talk to the team. 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 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 15th!

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We hope you enjoy learning about Doors Open Loyalist Township. Remember to keep checking our blog for upcoming events this spring and summer. 

*Pictures provided by Loyalist Township.

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