There is a place where one can go to discover the beauty and history of rural Ontario. The Dufferin County Museum and Archives is located right at the north-east corner of Highway 89 (accessible from Hwy 400 and Hwy 10) and Airport Road. Everyone knows Airport Road, as it becomes Airport Road just north of the Toronto International Airport.
One weekday or weekend, may I suggest you get in your car, and head towards Dixon Road. Follow Dixon west past the airport, grab a drink at Coffee Time, perchance view the planes coming in and out at this point as they are SO close, and then head north. You will travel at a reduced speed of 50 km per hour as you drive through the residential area of Brampton. After a few kilometres, the road starts opening up to 80 km per hour, and you'll find time passing quickly as you start to see more open areas. Then you'll notice that you are climbing higher over the Niagara Escarpment and soon you will be surrounded by open fields, farmland and small business areas. You will pass through Caledon East, a lovely little area, again with reduced speed limits. Then you will be climbing higher and higher. It's gorgeous country. Rolling hills, cattle grazing, fresher air...amazing. You will still be climbing higher until you finally feel like you are on top of the world.
As you reach the top, ahead of you will be the most breathtaking view of this area. You will see a very large barn and silo, but as you get closer you'll notice that this barn is very modern and you'll see the sign that reads Dufferin County Museum and Archives. Continue through the lights at Highway 89 and turn your indicator on for a right hand turn and enter onto the Museum property.
We have a very large public parking area, so no worries in finding a spot. As you get out of your car, take a deep breath and take in that fresh country air. Notice the area around you for its lovely country, with rolling hills, farm fields, old barns, and green trees.
Come through the front entrance where you will be greeted with a smile. You will be amazed at the Main Gallery -- it's cavernous. Beautiful stained glass windows hang from the ceiling and two actual log buildings are right inside the area. Glass displays of animal art and sculpture, shelves of folk art, Victorian place settings and jewelry, displays of antique gasoline memorabilia, and displays of exquisite china and glassware are all here. One may take their time perusing the displays as there is so much to take in.
Presently exhibited in the silo is the most incredible art by local high school students. Their offerings are beyond talented, these works are truly unique, and as you climb up to the top of the silo, you'll pass by the windows with more breathtaking views. Pause at the top and think about how high up you actually are!
On the second floor balcony is a gorgeous exhibit of W.J. Hughes Corn Flower glassware. The displays are just lovely as the light reflects off the pieces and shimmers. Antique wedding gowns are included in the displays, as this glassware was always popular at marriage events. Take your time perusing the displays. You may even recognize some of the items, as most people in Ontario, back in the day, had at least one Corn Flower piece.
Wind down the stairs, past the main floor, and head to the lower level. On the left are the Archives. Personally one of my favourites, as one can find anything one is curious about here, and the staff is so very helpful in finding what you need. Notice the antique clocks spread throughout the Archives Reading Room, and take in the stained glass windows with the light pouring through. They're stunning. As you make your way down the hall, on your right is a huge room housing rows and rows of antique furniture, machinery, horse carriages and buggies, old doctors' chairs, old church benches and pulpits, something around every corner. Spend some time really looking at the way they made things back in the day, as true craftsmen built these items, hence why the items are still with us.
When you have toured the main building, saunter over to the little white church which is Corbetton Church. It was relocated from the Melancthon village of Corbetton in 1999. This is where we hold storytelling events, concerts, including our annual Christmas concert and special presentations. This little church is a peaceful place, and one can easily imagine going to a Sunday service or community event back in the day, as the church was always the place to gather.
Before you leave the museum premises do come back inside the main building, and have a look through the gift shop. Whether you are looking for anything or nothing, it's bound to be here, from homemade local honey to museum T-shirts and hats to local crafts which are stunning. Lavender sachets, antique jewelry, oodles of old cookbooks, there is something for everyone.
Just remember to keep checking our website, as we have events happening every week. From vintage car shows, to celebrating Queen Victoria's birthday, from the Maple Syrup Festival in the spring, to classical and contemporary music concerts. We have events for kids, learning sessions for teens and adults, and wonderful bus tours in the spring and fall. With art exhibits, fundraising auctions, and storytelling in the Corbetton Church, I guarantee there is something for every age and taste.
It's well worth the drive!