Heritage Happenings - Fall 2019

History of Communications Explored With Doors Open Kawartha Lakes

Submitted by Margaret Cunningham

Doors Open Kawartha Lakes was held on September 8, showcasing a variety of sites to celebrate the importance of communications in our lives. Communications has evolved over the years and this public event allowed residents and visitors to witness the history of its development. From reading and writing in a one-room schoolhouse, to sending telegrams over the wire, to looking at the printed word that travelled over rail and water, our forebears laid a path for communication that still used today. Fourteen sites across the municipality opened their doors to explore communications through the implementation of past and current tools, systems and services across Kawartha Lakes.

Participating locations were:

91.9 BOB FM Radio

Alex Paton’s Telegraphy School

Blewett Printing

Fenelon Falls Generating Station

Fenelon Station Gallery

Kinmount Railway Station and Museum

Lindsay Daily Post

Trent-Severn Waterway Lock 32

Trent-Severn Waterway Lock 34

Manila Church Guest House and B&B

Manila Library

Maryboro Lodge - Fenelon Museum

North Valentia Schoolhouse

Rotary Trail Telegraph Poles

The first Doors Open Day took place in France in 1984, spreading to the Netherlands, Sweden, the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Scotland. In 1991, these events were united as the European Heritage Days at the initiative of the Council of Europe. In 2003, all 50 signatory states of the European Cultural Convention participated in European Heritage Days.

In 2000, Toronto launched the first Doors Open in North America. In 2002, the Ontario Heritage Trust launched Doors Open Ontario, the first province-wide event of its kind in Canada, attracting visitors to unique heritage sites and cultural tourism experiences. The Doors Open concept continues to spread across North America with events now being held in Newfoundland, Alberta, Massachusetts, Western New York State, New York City and Denver.

Every year, Doors Open Ontario attracts large crowds across Ontario. From April to October, residents and visitors are invited to discover first-hand Ontario’s hidden heritage treasures, some of which have never been open to the public. Kawartha Lakes has participated since the beginning attracting curious locals, nostalgic returning residents and interested visitors, proudly presenting an array of cultural and rural icons, heritage buildings and historic sites across its many rural routes and communities.