Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cobourg’s Historic Doors will open on October 14

From the Cobourg Star

- Twelve sites are on the list for the 2006 Doors Open in Cobourg on October 14.
Building on the success of the 2005 event, organizers have compiled a list that (along with one Grafton site) highlight the town's culture, heritage and tradition.

Among this year's attractions is the magnificent Barnum House just west of Grafton on County Road 2. Built in 1819 by Eliakim Barnum and considered one of the finest examples of neo-classical architecture in the province, this house has not been open since 2003. Its formal composition includes two symmetrical wings flanking a central temple structure. In 1982, ownership was transferred to the Ontario Heritage Trust, which oversaw extensive restoration in 1991.

Another feature is downtown historical walking tours, which leave from Victoria Hall at 10 a.m. and from the library at 2 p.m. Guides will recount the town's history and architectural heritage from its beginnings in 1798 to the present, and the tour showcases a number of heritage homes, churches and businesses.

Other attractions:
The Barracks, at Durham and Orr streets, is dated before 1820, making it the town's oldest structure. Built on Crown land by the British after the War of 1812, it is believed to have been a multi-purpose military building or a depot supporting the construction of the former Kingston Road. Archeological work continues on this site, and guided tours will be offered every half-hour.

The C. Gordon King Centre, at 200 Ontario Street, is a 10-year-old facility that houses the town's library and archives, with genealogy resources and a history room. Local historian Rob Mikel - author of Ontario House Styles and worker for more than 20 years in the architectural-preservation field - will speak on the town's architectural highlights at 11 a.m. in the Rotary Room.

The Cobourg archives, housed in the C. Gordon King Centre, were established in 1980. Their mandate is to collect, retain and preserve for public access material pertaining to any person, organization, business or institution related to Cobourg and Hamilton and Haldimand townships. Many of the items now housed in the archives - including photographs, newspapers and journals - date back as early as 1850.

The Cobourg Jail, located at 77 Albert Street, is a 100-year-old building that ceased to be a jail in 1998. The building now houses the King George Inn and a restaurant. Many of the new rooms were designed around the original jail cells. View the original solitary-confinement cells, the courtyard with original graffiti and the Cobourg Jail Museum. Guided tours are available.

Dressler House, at 212 King Street West, is a handsome Ontario Cottage built in 1840. In 1869, it was the birthplace of Academy Award-winning actress Marie Dressler. By the time it was gutted by a fire in 1989, it had been a deluxe restaurant for many years. It was the home of the Cobourg and District Chamber of Commerce after its restoration and now houses the local economic-development and tourism offices. Memorabilia include wax figures of Dressler and frequent co-star Wallace Beery as seen in Min and Bill. You can also view a video of Dressler's life.

The Market Building, located at 201 Second Street, was designed by architect Kivas Tully and built in 1850. It retains the original 12-over-8 window panes, pediment pilasters and a traditional roof with wide overhanging eaves. The building now serves as a seniors' centre during the week and home to the renowned Farmers Market (founded in 1856) on Saturday mornings. The market will be open for most of the day.

St. Peter's Anglican Church (240 College Street) is another Kivas Tully creation, built in 1854. Established in 1818, St. Peter's was one of the earliest Anglican parishes in Upper Canada. The present church was constructed around the original 1820 frame church. Later changes included an extension of the chancel in 1877 and a new parish hall in 1888. An addition, including an octagonal chapel, was completed late last year.

Victoria College, located at 100 University Avenue East, was designed by architect Edward Crane and built in 1841 in the Greek Revival style for the Conference of the Methodist Church. Victoria College was one of Canada's earliest degree-granting institutions. In 1892, after playing a vital role in Cobourg's academic and cultural life, the college relocated to Toronto. Today, Victoria University is affiliated with the University of Toronto. The building is now a retirement home.

Victoria Hall, at 55 King Street West, was designed by Kivas Tully and built in 1860. This extravagant public edifice has been the political, legal and cultural centre of civic life since its opening. Of particular note is the massive Corinthian-columned clock tower, visible throughout the town. The interior features an equally grand first-floor court room, and a second-floor grand concert hall with elaborate trompe l'oeil walls.

The water-treatment facility at Lakeshore Boulevard and D'Arcy Street was built in 1971. If you've ever thought about where your water comes from, here's a chance to satisfy your curiosity. The plant is capable of producing eight-million gallons of water a day, and it services approximately 17,000 people. The intake is located at a depth of 11 metres. View the facility and take a guided tour.

Doors Open Cobourg attracted more than 2,200 visits last year to its 15 locations. Admission is free at all participating venues and (except for the downtown tours) sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - plenty of time for visits, tours, meeting friends, lunch, shopping or taking photos.

For more information on Doors Open Cobourg please call tourism co-ordinator Erin Wakely or events co-ordinator Lara Scott at 905-372-5481.

ID- 221034

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