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October 15, 2016

Settled in 1810, St. Thomas is filled with some amazing examples of built heritage landmarks that have survived over the years.

During Doors Open St. Thomas, visit and tour some unique heritage landmarks– including Old St. Thomas Church (built in 1822). Take a guided tour or delve deeper into our history at the library, museum or archives.

St. Thomas has come a long way since it was settled in 1810.

Named after Thomas Talbot, who helped promote the development of this region during the early 19th century, the city became the seat of the new Elgin County in 1844 and was incorporated as a village in 1852. It became a town in 1861 and a city in 1881.

For more information, visit our website.

For information on how you can volunteer for Doors Open St. Thomas, contact:

Email: tourism@stthomas.ca

Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available

Central United Church

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
135 Wellington Street
St. Thomas, Ontario
Year built: 1897
Architect: Sidney Badgley
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The sanctuary of this church, built in 1897, is well known for its beautiful stained-glass windows and outstanding acoustics, and is often called a “mini Massey Hall” (after Toronto’s grand old performance venue). Not surprisingly, Sidney Badgley was the architect for both buildings. Enjoy historical displays and a tour, as well as refreshments.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Self-guided tours available

Centre Street Baptist Church

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
28 Southwick Street
St. Thomas, Ontario
Year built: 1879
Architect: Neil Darrach
Style: Romanesque revival
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Neil Darrach designed this Romanesque-style church, built in 1879. It was his first building. He later designed the city hall and Memorial Hospital, among others. In 1955, an education wing was added to the church. Lightning struck the spire in 1962, setting it and the tower ablaze. Their replacements were as in the original design.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available

Elgin County Archives

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
450 Sunset Drive
St. Thomas, Ontario
Telephone: 519-631-1460, ext. 154
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Since 2002, the Elgin County Archives has been preserving and providing access to municipal government records and significant private collections – including those relating to Alma College, the Scott Studio, county history and photographs from the St. Thomas Times-Journal. Tour the facility and see key items from the collections.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

Elgin County Museum

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
450 Sunset Drive
St. Thomas, Ontario
Telephone: 519-631-1460
Year built: 1939
Style: Art deco
Building type: Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This building, completed in 1939, was designed as a residence for nurses at the provincial psychiatric hospital located across the road. With its minimal decoration and striking curved two-storey bays, the building reflects the era’s prevailing art deco style. In 1986, the County of Elgin relocated its administration offices in the residence, which also houses the county’s museum and archives.
Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

Elgin County Railway Museum

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
225 Wellington Street
St. Thomas, Ontario
Telephone: 519-637-6284
Year built: 1913
Architect: John Findlay
Building type: Museum, Transportation
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visit the century-old Michigan Central Railroad locomotive shops. Take a guided tour and discover displays of railway artifacts, rolling stock equipment and the History in Motion model railway. Climb aboard and explore the interior or a real caboose and the 5700 steam engine.
Parking
Washrooms
Guided tours available

First United Church

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
7 Curtis Street
St. Thomas, Ontario
Telephone: 519-631-7570
Year built: 1871
Style: Gothic revival
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In 1871, construction began on First United. The church caught fire in 1895 and again in 1946, after which it did not reopen until 1950. The new church was constructed of Ontario sandstone and trimmed with Indiana cut stone. The stately Norman tower, with its triple Gothic openings, louvres and tracery, rises about 24 metres (80 feet) from the ground.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Self-guided tours available

Knox Presbyterian Church

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
55 Hincks Street
St. Thomas, Ontario
Year built: 1883
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dedicated in 1883, Knox had the third-largest Presbyterian membership in Canada by 1955. Stained-glass windows are in memory of members whose descendants still attend services. The organ, which dates from 1883, is one of the largest in southern Ontario.
Parking
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available
Trails

Michigan Central Railway Bridge

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
Enter at the intersection of King and Centre streets
St. Thomas, Ontario
Telephone: 519-859-7763
Year built: 1930
Building type: Attraction, Historic landmark
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The 86-year-old Michigan Central Railway bridge – the third on the site – has a great story to tell about St. Thomas’s railway heritage. The rails will soon be replaced by Canada’s first elevated park. Learn more about the history and future vision for the site, and enjoy stunning views of the Kettle Creek Valley in full fall colours.
Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available
Site has blue and gold provincial plaque
Site is protected by the Ontario Heritage Trust

Old St. Thomas Church & Churchyard

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
55 Walnut Street
St. Thomas, Ontario
Year built: 1824
Style: Gothic revival
Building type: Cemetery, Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This church, constructed in 1824 in the early English Gothic-revival style, is the oldest in the former Talbot Settlement and the oldest brick structure in St. Thomas. The church retains many interesting features, including a lych-gate, a Cotswold spire, box pews and Queen Victoria’s coat of arms.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available

Princess Avenue Playhouse

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
40 Princess Avenue
St. Thomas, Ontario
Telephone: 519-633-8530
Year built: 1907
Architect: Neil Darrach
Building type: Place of worship, Theatre
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Since 1967, the Elgin Theatre Guild has been treating local audiences to live entertainment. Run entirely by volunteers, the guild attracts hundreds of patrons every year to the Princess Avenue Playhouse. A handsome brick building with three outstanding façades and two distinct towers, it was designed in 1907 as a church.
Parking

St. Thomas Armoury

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
40 Wilson Avenue
St. Thomas, Ontario
Telephone: 519-631-3316, ext. 7500
Year built: 1901
Building type: Historic landmark, Military
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This armoury – a mainstay in Elgin County since 1901 – is a rectangular, gable-roofed building that features crenelated corner towers, a projecting frontispiece, large round-arched windows and contrasting stone details. While it has been home to several different units, it has served as the official home of the 31 Combat Engineer Regiment (The Elgins) since 1997.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available

St. Thomas Fire Department

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
305 Wellington Street
St. Thomas, Ontario
Year built: 1972
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This fire department dates from 1850 when a volunteer brigade was formed. The first station was in the old town hall at Stanley and Talbot streets. A central fire hall was built on Southwick Street in 1882, and the present station was completed 90 years later. The department has 48 firefighters with 10 others involved in administration and training.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

St. Thomas Public Library

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
153 Curtis Street
St. Thomas, Ontario
Telephone: 519-631-6050
Building type: Library
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. Thomas Public Library opened in October 4, 1974 and was a joint venture of the City of St. Thomas and Elgin County. The Toronto architectural firm Brook, Carruthers, and Shaw developed the original design in the then popular "Brutalist" style. Come for a visit to the George Thorman Room, the repository for local history collections.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available

St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
301 Talbot Street
St. Thomas, Ontario
Telephone: 519-631-4040
Building type: Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre has been a part of the community for nearly 50 years. It has the distinction of being a grade A-1 museum facility, and has amassed a collection of 900 works of art by local, regional, national and international artists.