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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Doors swinging open for final two months of open houses in Ontario

   One-Tank Trip for Sept. 1/12

  (c) By Jim Fox

   Ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors?
   Well, they will be swinging open as Doors Open Ontario enters its final two months of this season.
The 1840’s-era Port Burwell Marine Museum and Historic Lighthouse is on the Door Open location list.
   The province-wide program has heritage buildings, cultural sites and other interesting places welcoming the public free of charge to have a look around.
   There will be events in 32 communities this month including Brant, Chatham-Kent, East Elgin, Lambton, London, Middlesex, Oxford and St. Thomas.
   Doors will be open at hundreds of historic buildings, places of worship, private homes, industrial areas and heritage gardens, “some of which are rarely accessible to the public,” said Jennifer Jarvis of the Ontario Heritage Trust.
   Doors Open visitors in East Elgin can learn about the Erie Shores Wind Farm's 66 giant turbines on Lake Erie.
   Many sites offer special activities, such as tours, exhibitions and demonstrations.

   Knock, knock
   Things get underway next weekend with Cornwall-Seaway Valley (Sept. 8, 9) where visitors can check out the Lost Villages Museum.
   This is a collection of 11 heritage buildings from six villages lost in 1958 when the area was flooded to construct the St. Lawrence Seaway.
   Doors are open in Mississippi Mills-Carleton Place and Thunder Bay on Sept. 8 and Kawartha Lakes, Sept. 9.
   Joining the program is Algonquin Highlands on Sept. 15 and 16 where visitors can view Ontario’s last remaining log chute originally built in 1861 at Hawk Lake and restored in 2005.
   There’s also Haldimand County, King Township and a new location, Quinte West, all on Sept. 15.
   At Quinte is Research Casting International, a facility dedicated to preserving the world’s rarest and most valuable paleontological specimens.
   A new attraction in Waterloo Region on Sept. 15 is Waterloo Central Railway’s Locomotive Restoration Shop.
   At South Bruce Peninsula, Sept. 15 and 16, visit the former Canadian National Railway station built in 1904 in Wiarton.

   Who’s there?
War of 1812 topics and a battle re-enactment in Brant are part of Doors Open events. (Ontario Tourism photo)
   Things get busy in Brant County on Sept. 22 with a War of 1812 Battle of Malcolm's Mills re-enactment by Norfolk Militia in Oakland and tours of the Canadian Military Heritage Museum in Brantford.
   East Elgin on Sept. 22 includes some horse play at Farmtown Canada with an1850 heritage log cabin and hobby farm in Aylmer.
   Get blown away with power facts at the Wind Interpretive Centre Information Kiosk in Port Burwell and visit the Marine Museum and Historic Lighthouse, an 1840’s wooden structure that guided Lake Erie ships to safety.
   Oxford County joins the party on Sept. 22 where visitors can sample some fruity vino and pick apples at the 1800’s farmstead of Birtch Farms and Estate Winery at RR 7, Woodstock.
   Also open among 16 sites are the Blenheim Trout Farm, Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum and Kempen Goat Dairy Farm.
   Also on Sept. 22, events are being held in Grimsby, Markham, Oshawa and the Walkerton area.

   Let me in
   Lambton County joins the fun on Sept. 29 and 30 with a huge list of 91 sites including Nemo Hall, an 1870’s mansion with floor-to-ceiling windows, five fireplaces and gargoyles, in Petrolia.

Nemo Hall mansion in Petrolia, can be toured at Doors Open.
   Visitors can also tour the Fairbank Oil Properties in Oil Springs, marking 150 years as the world's longest-operating oil field and see the Silvester Collector Car Store in Brigden.
   London has 10 sites including the Brick Street Cemetery with “about a dozen” graves of War of 1812 participants, the First Hussars Museum and the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum.
   There’s also Eldon House, London’s oldest residence built in 1834, the Jet Aircraft Museum and the Secrets of Radar Museum.
   Middlesex, Sept. 29 and 30, has tours at Battle Hill, the Battle of Longwoods’ site in Wardsville, the site of “one of the bloodiest skirmishes” of the War of 1812.
   Other events on those dates are in Halton Hills, a new location where visitors can hike along Hungry Hollow Trail through a wetland providing habitat for 454 plant and 134 fauna species.
   That’s also the weekend for Gananoque, St. Thomas, Vaughan and Windsor while Sept. 29 has Ajax, Mississauga, Oakville, Parry Sound and Port Stanley-Sparta, with Kenora on Sept. 28 and 29.
   Winding up the program is Huron County on Oct. 13 and 14 including museums and churches as well as the Maitland Trail hike.

   If you go:
   Hours are generally 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with some locations on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.).
   Details at www.doorsopenontario.on.ca or call 1-800-ONTARIO (1-800-668-2746) for the guidebook.


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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