Community Learns - The Kawartha Lakes Arts & Heritage Trail Impresses - NORTH END TOUR

Submitted by Ray Marshall

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On April 29, Day 2 of the Kawartha Lakes Arts and Heritage Trail tour in the north end of Kawartha Lakes aboard a DeNure Tour Coach, we started at KAWARTHA SETTLERS VILLAGE in Bobcaygeon to view the collection of pioneer buildings that have been moved, restored, refinished and taken care of since 1990, by a talented team of volunteers.  An excellent experience for families, groups, and an entertaining trip back in time. 

Onto STUDIO 358 on Bolton Street in Bobcaygeon, owned and operated by jewellery designer Shawna and her woodworker partner, Thomas. Additional artwork by other local artists comfortably fills this bright and inviting exhibition space.  Kudos to the carvings of Michael Bonk from Oshawa - ask the owners about his story.

Next, coffee and a chat at KAWARTHA COFFEE COMPANY, oozing with great vibes and atmosphere created by owner Kathleen Seymour-Fagan. This downtown destination is filled with music, Mexican art and features some of Toller Cranston's art. The eclectic patio, craft beer and focus on local produce add to its appeal.  A larger than life outdoor mural created by artist Penni Holdham tells its own story of Bobcaygeon.

The BOYD MUSEUM has been opened since 1998, three years after the Big Boyd House burned.  The feelings of family, tradition and community are wonderfully alive as one walks around the collection of late 1800s antiques, dresses, and furniture in rooms large enough for groups to tour.

Back on the coach, we travelled to SIX HUNTER STREET STUDIO in Kinmount. For three years, Alison Heacock has showcased her art on her bright front porch, featuring handmade dolls, watercolours, crafts, magical wands, fairy sticks and much more.  The flutes made out of sunflower stalks were particularly impressive – detailed work with tremendous sound. A warm welcome to Kinmount certainly!

KINMOUNT ARTISANS MARKETPLACE is a true co-op run by over 35 members, now celebrating their 20th anniversary. It has many rooms with a friendly and casual energy, and a particularly impressive variety of inventory. Parking is limited.

Two drive-bys included the AUSTIN SAWMILL and the KINMOUNT TRAIN STATION circa 1870, built by Sir William McKenzie. This rail hub survived two fires in the village. Now it functions as a tourist information stop, showcasing an operating railway display. Here you will find a trailhead of the Victoria Rail Trail. The Burnt River is a great canoe route to Cameron Lake, south of Kinmount.

Just up the road, Mark and Judy Spurr met us at their amazing QUAKER OAKS FARM in Sebright. A place for rescue animals and a full to the brim store and deli/veggie counter with displays of cheese, stuffed olives, award winning butter tarts, bread. Don’t miss the trendy gift ideas and sweet treats of all kinds. Definitely a true Canadian experience!  We sampled their delicious catering for lunch served at the Dalton Community Centre.

The KIRKFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM has an amazing story!  This is an good example of how a community saves a church, creates a museum, a concert hall and an all purpose facility.  Keep this location on your trip planner and check out their schedule of events for the year.

Back in Fenelon Falls, we stopped at the MARYBORO LODGE where the Fenelon Falls Museum has been on the shores of Cameron Lake for some time. The rooms are ample, perfect outdoor grounds for picnics, and groups of all sizes. The school room, the drive shed, wood stoves and the entire upstairs are impressive with amazing antiques, costumes, and furnishings from the late 1800s.   The Museum is walking distance to downtown, and many wonderful attractions in Fenelon Falls. 

COLBORNE STREET GALLERY is a bright new gallery and interior design company owned by Tim and Chris with two beautiful display rooms. The gallery had an exhibition celebrating the SPARK Photo Festival with an upcoming new show by artist Leanne Baird.  Always a welcoming space, especially if Hudson the dog is there. 

Our tour would not be complete without a drive on Balsam Lake Drive to the DRY STONE WALLS. Since the1860s, over 4000 acres of the Laidlaw Family Ranch has been the site of dry stone walls with over 3 kilometres to view in awe. The walls were built for ranch enclosure and protection of the livestock. Family members still work with professionals on occasional repairs.

Thanks to Lady Flavelle, STURGEON POINT CHURCH has been the summer worship and celebration location for the residents and guests of Sturgeon Point since 1915.  The octagonal structure is constructed in georgian pine with windows on all sides. A lovely place of peace - quiet, inviting and very special.  "…if these walls could talk".

We enjoyed visiting CHERRY TREE LODGE, the first cottage on Sturgeon Point.

It was built in the late 1800s and owned by the artist W.A.Goodwin.  The cottage is opened officially to the public once a year when people can come to hear the stories and see a few pieces of Goodwin’s artwork.

JEAN WATSON STUDIO showcases Jean's work, which has been shown around the world. She works in a wonderful old barn on her inspiring 15-acre property. We couldn't visit the studio today due to very damp conditions.  We will be back again soon. Studio is open May to October the 1st Saturday of the month.

Next we had a very warm welcome from Sandy Cogar to her home and outdoor studio, GARDEN ART BY SANDY.  A wooded trail walk revealed many of her stone and metal sculpture installations as well as lovely wooden and metal fire pit benches. Located just east of Bobcaygeon.

Our arts community is close at hand, very welcoming and extremely talented.  Pick up a Kawartha Lakes Arts & Heritage Trail Guide and take a drive to enjoy an adventure of discovery right at our doorstep, just like we did.  This is no secret and it is yours (ours) to enjoy.