House tour puts history on display
Sheryll Brimley stands inside her heritage home located at 3214 Norfolk St. South. The Brimley residence was one of six homes that were part of the Holiday House Tour presented by the Rotary Club of Simcoe on the weekend. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer
A 'magnificent seven' of sorts was on full display in Simcoe on the weekend.
Seven buildings – six homes and St. John's Church – welcomed the public as part of the annual Rotary Club of Simcoe Holiday House Tour.
After making its way to towns and villages around Norfolk, this year's event returned to its roots by focusing on residences in Simcoe.
That was literally the case when it came to the Brimley Heritage Home located at 3214 Norfolk St. South. The brick house, built in 1858 and now owned by Bill and Sheryll Brimley, did its second tour of duty after being on the program back in 2008.
Sheryll said she and Bill never thought twice about once again welcoming the public.
“No, we never (hesitated),” she said.
“People say 'I've always wanted to come see this house, I've driven by it the past 30 years'.”
After purchasing the property from Mary Selby, the Brimleys have left the structure – which was once home to a popular horse stable – largely untouched.
“That's the reason we moved here. We're into old things, historical buildings so we don't want to change anything,” Brimley explained. “I love it the way it is.”
The tour was also a chance for ticket buyers to catch a glimpse of what area business owner/fashion designer Jordan Stewart has done with her Georgian style home located at 400 Norfolk St. South. Built by prominent jeweler George Darling and sitting at the corner of Evergreen Hill Rd. the home has undergone a variety of updates since.
The house had always been on the radar of house tour organizers and was cause for celebration when Stewart agreed to be part of the 2017 version.
“We were thrilled to get this house, absolutely thrilled,” said Rotarian Joan Shirlow of Walsingham, who was posted at the home for the day.
“Many people say they've driven by it and always seen it. A few people have been in it before when previous owners were here (but) the house is dramatically different.”
Shirlow called this year's house tour roster an 'excellent' one with homes that span various generations. Two of the newer selections were located on Lynndale Road while the Brimley residence stood as the oldest.
“Definitely it gets better every year,” Shirlow added. “Most people that have been on the tour want to go again the next year.”
The Brimleys have gotten such a kick out of being part of the tour they're willing to do a warm-weather version as well.
“I wouldn't mind doing it in the summer or the spring because people can enjoy the veranda and go for a walk in the garden,” Sheryll said. “If they ever think about having a tour at that time of year I would be more than willing.”
“I think people need this stuff - it's a little bit of history of the area.”