We toured the St. Catherine’s Doors Open Event on August 20, 2022.  These Doors Open tours have quickly become our favourite and have it as a priority when one is happening.

St. Catherine’s is only 90 minutes from home, and our first stop was a place we have visited numerous times: Morningstar Mill at Decew Falls.  We have been to this place so often to see the two (and sometimes three) waterfalls, but the buildings have been closed each time.  Doors Open guaranteed that the doors would be open!  Here we had a great tour from someone who has volunteered at this location for years, and he talked about the upcoming renovations.  It is great getting to talk to someone knowledgeable about a place.  He knew of the history and some about the original family that built and lived here at Morningstar.  The home was open too, and we finally could see the inside for the first time in all the years we had waited to visit.

The second place was just down the road: The Brown Homestead.  This building and its grounds have seen 200 years of history, and sadly, it shows.  A renovation project is underway to restore this place’s historical value and have it as a functional part of the community.  The volunteers there were very proud of what they had accomplished so far.  We stayed to see a puppet show presented by Shaw Festival.

We would tour several churches in our next segment of Doors Open.  It is hard to come by a church these days that have its doors open outside of Sunday service or a special event, like Doors Open, and I prioritize churches because of the difficulty in visiting them.  We love stained glass.  Often at a Doors Open event, there is a guide who knows the church’s history and the significance of the art that makes up the stained glass window.  Our visit to Saints Cyril & Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church had a retired educator whose work was on iconography and who enjoyed speaking about what we all saw on the walls of this beautifully ornate walls of this historic place of worship.  

One of the churches had a connection to Harriette Tubman.  She played a major role in the Underground Railroad helping escaped slaves flee to Canada.  The church is now a national historic site that provides information about this “conductor” and others who were instrumental in freeing so many people.

We completed our day at the St. Catherine’s and Welland Canal Museum. It was the last official Doors Open stop for us. There was a french fry truck in the parking lot that serves dill pickle poutine!  Of course, I had to have one, which was a great way to end our day!

Doors Open is our favourite event offering access to places we rarely get. Many cities offer Doors Open throughout the year. It is possible to explore various regions of Ontario with minimal costs. I recommend that if you can go to a Doors Open event, please do so.

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