Last weekend we went with some friends on a self-guided tour of Newmarket for Open Doors Ontario. We go there often to visit family and friends, but I’ve never walked around and seen it in such detail before. I couldn’t believe how much history there was that I had no idea about. There was a variety of public and private buildlings open for the public to wander through.
Built in 1866, this large brick home used to be the residence of Samuel Sykes, then it was a nunnery and now it’s a spa. Inside, you can still see the original word work, the rare tiger maple fireplace and even the old staircase to the tower.
I love the original stained glass transom window in the foyer.
Even a couple of private residences were open, including the Herbert Kinley home, which turned out to be a friend’s aunt and uncle’s home!
The whole front yard was done up for fall, complete with a sleepy cat on the porch.
There were incredible artifacts throughout the house, including this tomahawk that was found in the walls of their niece’s house when she started doing renovations. They think it’s about 250 years old and it even has a pipe in the handle!
One of my favourtie collections in the home was all the vintage rolling pins. I bet they all have seen quite a few pies in their lifetime.
I love when you have a piece of furniture that has a great story, but even better when you a photographic evidence of it. This is a picture of Sylvester Lundy, editor of the Aurora Banner, seated at his desk in December 1913.
And here is the desk now, one hundred years later. You can tell that it has been very well cared for over the years.
A couple of retro cars in the driveway too.
A highlight of the trip was getting to visit the Elam. W. Campbell Museum at the former North York Land Registry Office, built in 1884. I’d never been inside before and was amazed by all the displays they had showcasing the history of the area.
Inside was a book filled with land tax records from over 100 years ago, and we even recognized a few last names in there. Maybe our friends’ great-grandparents?
Dixon Pencils used to be made in Newmarket, and they have a large Ontario flag on display made completely of coloured pencils.
The detail and precision was incredible.
On one side of the museum there was a huge train display, showing the booming industrial area in the late 1800s.
Downtown Newmaket, which was recently used as the location for the new Carrie movie with Chloe Grace Moretz.
The model included the Newmarket Train Station from 1899. We had a chance to visit the real thing during the tour.
It now holds the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce, but back in the day this was the men’s waiting room in the train station. The large circle in the ceiling used to be for the stove pipe that heated the building.
The museum also had a replica of the Sharon Temple.
We went there a year ago this month for Garrett’s cousin’s beautiful fall wedding.
This model of St. Paul’s Anglican Church hardly does it justice. The detailed brickwork and gothic revival architecture is striking.
We were lucky enough to catch a private tour with a patron of the church earlier that day.
I’d never been inside it before and it was just as detailed on the inside as the outside. They almost lost it this year to a fire in the sound system, but thankfully someone noticed it before the whole building would have gone up in flames.
Our last stop was to Pickering College. Established in 1842 and built here in 1909, it is a private school that has been part of the community for years. I’ve driven by it many times and have friends who went there growing up, but I’ve never been there before. It was fun to wander the grounds a bit and do a little tour of the building.
Of course, the best part of the day was getting to walk around with this guy and explore this town like we never have before. I’m hoping that we can visit some more towns throughout Ontario next year!
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Doors Open runs in different towns every weekend from June-October, and there are still a few that are free to visit this season: