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Doors open Saturday in Cramahe, Brighton


A popular event for many years in Port Hope, the Doors Open program comes to the Brighton-Cramahe Township area for the first time on June 21.

This program of the Ontario Heritage Trust opens up significant sites to visitors that might ordinarily not be accessible to the general public.

Hours are 10 a. m. to 4 p. m., and there are 13 sites to choose from:

* Victoria Square (County Road 2 and Toronto Road, Colborne) was laid out in 1815 for public gatherings and is an unusual feaure for the region. Its shady trees, restored fountain, two Crimean War cannon and war memorials offer a welcoming view to visitors.

* Cramahe Township Municipal Building (1 Toronto Road, Colborne) was built in 1922 as a high school. Closed in 1962 (sending its students to East Northumberland Secondary School), it was purchased by the municipality.

* Old St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (45 King Street East, Colborne) was built in 1830 of local limestone, and remains one of the oldest continuously used churches in Ontario. The belfry and hall were added in 1910. The land was donated by the village founder's son, J. A. Keeler, who requested, as the only payment, that a seat be reserved for him.

* Registry Office (51 King Street East, Colborne) was built in 1859 as a neo-classical, Flemish-bond red-brick building by John M. Grover, East Northumberland's first land registrar. The registry office here was closed in 1991, and the building is now home to the Colborne Art Gallery and heritage museum.

* Trinity Anglican Church (76 King Street East, Colborne) dates from 1846. Built in the style of the day, it is rectangular in shape with a square tower topped by a rather short and slender steeple. The church boasts an 1892 restored Williams tracker pipe organ.

* Salem United Church and cemetery (13875 County Road 2, east of Colborne) was a Methodist church built in 1861. It remains largely unchanged from its original appearance, with white-clapboard siding, gallery and oak pews. The adjacent cemetery dates from the mid-1850s.

* Trinity St. Andrew's United Church (58 Prince Edward Street, Brighton) was built in 1848 as a Wesleyan Methodist Church. It features classical returning eaves, magnificent stained-glass windows depicting Biblical scenes, and a 1902 pipe organ.

* The Hop Barn (60 Maplewood Avenue, Brighton) built in 1880 was moved from the Smithfield area and reassembled adjacent to the Memory Junction Museum in 2002 -- appropriately, since many tons of hops were shipped out of Brighton's Grand Trunk station.

* Brighton Grand Trunk Railway Station and Memory Junction Museum (60 Maplewood Avenue, Brighton) is one of only nine stations let of the 32 built by the Grand Trunk Railroad. It was built in 1857 to service the first rail line connecting Toronto and Montreal. Now a popular museum, it houses a remarkable collection of railway and Brighton memorabilia, including a 1906 Grand Trunk steam locomotive.

* Nesbitt Canning Factory/Our Country Home (39 Richardson Street, Brighton) is the original home of the Brighton Canning Company, a thriving food-processing industry founded in 1894 by Sam Nesbitt. The structure features a boom front, the original six-over-six windows and Italianate adornments. Used as an unrefrigerated fruit house until 1964, it is now a furniture manufacturer's workshop and showroom.

* Mill Pond Woods (5 Tall Pines Drive, Brighton) was built in 2007 and is a showcase of green technology. The heat-recovery ventilator recovers up to 80 per cent of the exhaust air to preheat incoming air. Solar heating systems preheat both incoming air and water. A 90-per-cent gas boiler saves fuel while dual toilets can save up to 26,000 litres of water a year.

* Presqu'ile Provincial Park Lighthouse (RR 4, Brighton) is one of Ontario's oldest lighthouses, dating from 1840. Constructed of limestone, it was covered in cladding in 1870 to control surface erosion. There is no access to the interior. The nearby lighthouse keeper's cottage has been restored and incorporated into an accessible heritage interpretive centre.

* Carman United Church (954 Carman Road, off County Road 30 north of Brighton) dates from 1879. The Gothic rural church is the cultural foundation of this community, which is named after the church's first preacher, Reverend Dr. Albert Carman. Visitors are welcome to visit the former SS No. 13 Carman School across the street to enjoy refreshments and a display of local art.

Some sites offer guided tours, entertainment, special lectures or exhibits. It is estimated that the average site visit (exclusive of travelling time) takes half an hour, so Doors Open veterans suggest you plan your route in advance to see the buildings you find most intriguing.

Of people who attend Doors Open event, reports Ontario Heritage Trust, 90 per cent said that it improved their knowledge of the community, increased their


understanding of architecture and nature, and raised their awareness of local heritage groups and the importance of heritage conservation. Forty-nine per cent said it inspired them to take a more active role in heritage conservation.

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