Annandale House is a beautiful Victorian house (circa 1880s) that was the home of the first mayor of Tillsonburg (whose name, appropriately enough, was E. D. Tillson) and has been designated as a national historic site.
While the exterior doesn’t look too bad, it doesn’t do justice to the interior, which was been carefully restored. Annandale House represents the Victorian style of design called the “Aesthetic Art Movement”, a movement that encouraged the use of colour and decorative detailing in all parts of the house. In Annandale House, this movement is reflected in hand-painted ceilings, fancy inlaid floors, stained glass, and many other little features.
Annandale house is now a museum, with a newer addition serving as a tourist information centre. All three floors of the house can be toured; the rooms have been restored to the way they would have looked in the 1880s. The main gallery also features changing displays. Parking is available on site and there are picnic tables located on the grounds.
During the Christmas season (in 2011–12, November 25th, 2011 through January 11, 2012), all three floors of the museum are decorated for Christmas with decorations appropriate for the time period.
Admission rates are $4.50 for adults, $4 seniors, $3 students, $2 children, and $10 family. Hours of operation are 9:00 am–4:00 pm on weekdays, and 1:00 pm–4:00 pm on Sundays. Also open Saturday 12:00 pm–4:00 pm in July and August. Closed on most statutory holidays.
The Barnum House in Grafton. Photograph by Robert Taylor.
The Barnum House in Grafton (actually, slightly west of the village) has been described as the most beautiful house in Ontario. In the War of 1812, the Americans found that they couldn’t invade Canada with their troops, and afterwards had to settle for invading it with their architecture. The Barnum house was built in 1819 by American Eliakim Barnum in the Neoclassical style. This picturesque house became a museum in 1940.
The museum features guided tours of the rooms of the house restored as they would have looked nearly 200 years ago, including many period artifiacts. Admission is $3 (children and seniors $1.50). The museum is open daily between the start of June and Labour Day, from 10:00 am–4:00 pm.
Located east of Cobourg, on the former Highway 2.
At Scugog Shores Heritage Centre and Archives, you can find Scugog Township’s historical treasures and archives. The Heritage centre can be found above the second ice pad at the Scugog Arena. It is home to permanent galleries showcasing local First Nations history and local history, as well as a rotating gallery.
The Scugog Shores Museum is on Scugog Island, just across the lake from Port Perry. Found on the grounds is a historic village containing 12 restored buildings, heritage vegetable and flower gardens, and the Ojibway Heritage Interpretive Lands.
The museum village is open daily from Victoria Day to Labour Day, 10:00 am–4:00 pm for guided tours. Admission is $4 (adult), $3 (seniors/students), $2 (children 5–12), and free for children under 5.
The museum preserves, researches, interprets and exhibits artifacts illustrating the area’s cultural and natural history. The grounds of the museum feature 12 restored buildings in the heritage village, heritage flower and vegetable gardens and the Ojibway Heritage Interperetive Lands.
There is also an Ontario historical plaque honouring cartoonist James Llewellyn Frise in front of the museum.
The Clay and Glass, formerly known as the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, opened in 1993. The gallery contains award-winning exhibits of contemporary clay, glass, and enamel artwork; the collection emphasises Canadian artists. Its exhibits change quarterly. There is also a cute gift shop where you can find a unique gift.
Currently, admission is free (note that the gallery has had financial struggles of late, so if you want to take advantage of the free admission, you may not want to delay). Open Tuesday–Friday 11:00 am–6:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am–5:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm–5:00 pm. Free parking is available across the railway tracks at the Station lot, and in the Waterloo Towne Square lot (kitty-corner from the gallery).
The collection is not large (giving yourself an hour to view it should suffice) so it should leave you lots of time to check out other attractions right next door, including the Waterloo Central Railway, Waterloo Park, the Perimeter Institute, and Uptown Waterloo.
Ruthven Park is the location of the Thompson Mansion, a striking 1840s Greek Revival mansion. The site also features beautiful natural and rural landscapes. The mansion is located in a beautifully-manicured setting, and elsewhere can be found Carolinian forests, grand views of the Grand River, and more.
The mansion is filled with original furnishings and is open for guided tours and special events. Guided mansion tours cost $10, with various discounts for seniors, students, and children. Tours are scheduled hourly from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Wednesdays through Sundays (and Holiday Mondays) between Victoria Day and Thanksgiving.
The grounds are open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily; admission is by donation.
Ruthven Park is located about a kilometre south of the ghost town of Indiana. It has been designated a National Historic Site.
Ansley Wilcox House.
After U.S. President William McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901, he appeared to be recovering, but then died suddenly on the 14th. Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt was then sworn in as president in an impromptu ceremony at the Ansley Wilcox house in Buffalo. The house, a National Historic Site, has now become a museum.
There are hourly guided tours of the museum between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm on weekdays and 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm on weekends, a rotating set of exhibits, and occasional lectures. Make sure to check out the gardens outside as well. General admission is $10 ($7 students/seniors, $5 children). Free parking is located behind the site off of Franklin Street.