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Destination: 200 Years of History and an Afternoon of Fun Awaits at Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum

Destination: 200 Years of History and an Afternoon of Fun Awaits at Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum

The sun has that special spring warmth while the world is showing signs of emerging from its long winter dormancy. You and the kids alike feel the urge to get out and do something. Hop in the car and take a short road trip just above the city to the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum, in Gormley.

This excellent museum showcases one of York Region’s largest historic collections. Hundreds of artifacts, documents and photographs tell the story of more than 200 years of local history. There’s a wedding dress worn by Mary Bogart in her 1852 nuptials, a reminder of an important family who lent their name to the village of Bogarttown (more on that vanished village later), and series of letters written home by Henry Wideman, one of 50,000 Canadians to serve in the American Civil War.

The grounds, meanwhile, boast a fine collection of historically relevant buildings – a mini pioneer village – that enable guests to step back into time.

The first building in the museum collection was the Bogarttown Schoolhouse, built in 1857. If you look carefully, you can still see the initials carved by students in the exterior brick walls and the teacher’s desk inside belonged to the school’s first teacher, Francis Starr. Closed in 1968, the school is all that remains of the once thriving farming village of Bogarttown, long since swallowed up by Newmarket.

Other buildings include a circa-1850s log cabin that represents a typical first home of a pioneer settler-family (you can still make out the axe marks on the broad-beamed walls made with the callused hands of an immigrant farmer), a typical 19th century barn, a unique two-seater outhouse, the elegant Victorian era Brown House, owned by James Brown, a prominent figure in early Stouffville, and a second schoolhouse, the circa 1871 Vandorf School, which features two separate entrances – one for girls and one for boys – the only building original to the site.

Consider visiting on April 13 when the museum hosts Springtime in the Forest (12:30 – 2 p.m.). This interactive event for children ages 3 – 10 explores what happens in the forest during the spring and includes themed activities and crafts. Cost is $10 per child. Or explore the exhibits and grounds for free during the Museum Open House.

Experience more than 200 years of history and an afternoon of family fun at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum.


Just the Facts

Hours: Wednesday to Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: 14732 Woodbine Avenue, Gormley