Open doors and welcome mats will line the town soon as Doors Open Whitchurch-Stouffville returns.
Every year, as part of the province-wide Doors Open Ontario, local businesses, organizations and private buildings put out the welcome mat so that people can experience the unique story contained within the building that might not be accessible throughout the year, whether it is an historic building, unique use venue or community centrepiece.
First begun in France in 1984, the idea of opening doors spread across Europe, with the City of Toronto taking up the tradition in 2000. In 2002, the Ontario Heritage Trust took up the cause of “bringing our story to life” across the province in various municipalities on select weekends between April and October.
The Whitchurch-Stouffville edition, which this year runs Saturday June 4 between 10 am and 4 pm, has been enthusiastically embraced as hundreds of individuals and families have jumped on board.
Back again this year is a demonstration by the Richmond Hill Live Steamers Club, in its 3.75-acre site in the York forest at 15922 McCowan Road. Exact small-scale replicas of classic steam engines blast their mini whistles down 3 ½” and 4 ¾” and 7 ¼” gauge tracks and offer rides to big and small kids alike. Tended to by dedicated “Railfans”, some of these steam, diesel and electric engines can pull up to 20 adults. The Steamers are always popular, so go early.
Those looking up will also see Tree-Trop Trekking at Bruce’s Mill, which joins Schell Lumber Sash and Door Shop’s historic machine display. Some health sector businesses, like Stouffville Optometry and Renew Integrative Health on Main Street will be participating as well, as will the Richardson Masonic Lodge on Second St.
A walking tour titled “Remembering Drugstores in Stouffville” also meets at 19 Civic Avenue from 10-11am. Pause Awhile Equestrian at 13243 McCowan Road will give demos and let you meet farm residents of the furry and feathery kind, up close. And if you are not done walking, the newly opened Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship & Education Centre at the Hollidge Tract in the York Forest at 16389 Highway #48 is offering guided and self-guided tours of the building and the forest.
Some more unique offerings include the Holy Theotokos Greek Orthodox Convent at 4369 Faulkner Avenue that includes a beeswax candle factory and the Greenbelt Greenhouses, a state-of-the-art certified organic greenhouse at 12859 Woodbine Avenue. Tours start every hour on the hour.
Once you are done, consider a rest at the library at 2 Park Drive. Yes, that library. It’s officially on the tour, but, of course, open almost everyday for your enjoyment.