Doors Open Oxford focuses on Norwich Township this year
The African Methodist Episcopal Church Site and Cemetery, where this cairn stands, in Otterville is one of the nine stops on the Doors Open Oxford-Norwich event Sept. 23.
The doors will be flung wide open in Norwich Township on Sept. 23 as visitors from near and far are expected to take in the local Doors Open Oxford-Norwich event.
Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., visitors can take in the nine sites that have been included in the local version of the province-wide initiative that is Doors Open. The event is free.
On the list of places to visit are the African Methodist Episcopal Church Site and Cemetery, Grand Trunk Railway Station Museum, Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese, Norwich and District Museum, Norwich United Church (Norwich Methodist Church), Otterville Mill, Quaker Street Burying Ground, Ross Butler Agricultural Art Gallery and St. John's Anglican Church.
The sites allow visitors to discover the township's unique Quaker history, early Black settlement and agricultural heritage.
Gail Lewis, a member of the local Doors Open committee, said at each of the sites there will be volunteers on hand to explain the sites and their significance in the area.
“It will be someone who is very connected with the site,” said Lewis, who will be stationed at the church site and cemetery in Otterville during the afternoon of the event.
This is the second year that the format of the local Doors Open event focuses on one municipality within Oxford County. Last year's focus was on Tillsonburg.
In previous years, Doors Open Oxford included sites across the entire county, but visitors couldn't always stop at as many sites as they wanted due to distances.
“Having it done by municipalities within the county is a better idea because in Oxford, if you have a site in Tillsonburg and a site in Embro that someone really wants to see, there's a lot of travel time involved,” said Lewis.
The Norwich Township sites reach from the Ross Butler gallery at the 401 south to St. John's Anglican Church in Otterville.
“There's enough in these nine sites to keep people busy,” said Lewis, adding Doors Open isn't just for visitors from outside the area, but also local residents who may not realize the rich history in their own backyard.
“When you learn how things got to be the way they are, it's pretty interesting.”
Each of the sites will have brochures that include the information from each of the participating sites in Norwich Township, and information is available online at http://www.doorsopenontario.on.ca/Events/Oxford-Norwich.aspx
Doors Open has been held around the world in various forms since 1984. In Ontario, the program runs from April to October, when communities open the doors to some of Ontario's most intriguing and charming heritage sites. Admission is free.