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Doors Open Ontario presenting sponsor
Doors Open Ontario presenting sponsor

Quinte West

Event information

Digital Doors Open Quinte West

Explore some traditional Doors Open Quinte West sites without having to leave home. The following sites offer tours, videos and activities that will engage people of all ages.

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British Chemical Company Site Doors Open Quinte West

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British Chemical Company Site

October 14, 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the explosion of the British Chemical Company – a defining moment for the town of Trenton. At the time of the explosion, Trenton was a town of only 4,500 people. Even though the town has grown and expanded in the decades since and is now a thriving community (and the site of the British Chemical Company, now ruins on the site of the old Gilmour sawmill), many people have no knowledge of this incident – and, clearly, there are no eyewitnesses left to tell the story. As part of Digital Doors Open, watch the film below (based on the book by John Melady) – entitled Playing with Fire, by Sean Scally – and learn what really happened that fateful night over a century ago. It is a story filled with heroes, rumours of conspiracy and of a country coming into its own.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Video

Contact info

29-45 Regional Road 33
Trenton, Ontario

Architecture

Dates/hours open

Friday January 1 – Friday December 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Quinte West

Canadian Forces Base Trenton Doors Open Quinte West

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Canadian Forces Base Trenton

The Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton is a Canadian air force base located in Quinte West. It opened in 1931 as the Royal Canadian Air Force Station Trenton, intended to be a smaller, supporting base for the larger CFB Borden near Barrie. By 1937, however, it had eclipsed Camp Borden as the primary flying training centre. Trenton was the largest training centre in the British Commonwealth during the Second World War. Today, the site remains hugely important not only as one of Canada’s primary military bases and home to the National Air Force Museum of Canada, but it is the largest employer in Trenton and the starting point of the so-called Highway of Heroes – a stretch of highway that is often travelled by a convoy of vehicles carrying a fallen soldier’s body. Most recently, CFB Trenton was used as a quarantine facility for people returning to Canada during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of Digital Doors Open, learn more about the fascinating history of this site through the video below.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Video

Architecture

Building type: Military, Transportation

Dates/hours open

Friday January 1 – Friday December 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Quinte West

Central Ontario Railway Doors Open Quinte West

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Central Ontario Railway

By the 1880s, the Prince Edward County Railway had been running the 51-kilometre (32-mile) route from Picton to Trenton Junction for a few years before the arrival of Samuel Ritchie from Akron, Ohio – a financier and mine owner who had been buying up land north of Trenton. Ritchie would take over the Prince Edward County Railway to extend the line to become the Central Ontario Railway to serve his mining interests. But coupled with issues around the quality of the ore being transported and financial difficulties, the full extent of Ritchie’s vision was never realized before his death. The line was eventually absorbed by the Canadian National Railway and Samuel Ritchie’s Central Ontario Railway was all but forgotten. Watch the documentary below – entitled Ritchie’s Follie: The Central Ontario Railway, by Sean Scally – to learn more about this little-known piece of Trenton history.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Video

Contact info

Trenton Junction (18277 Telephone Road)
Trenton, Ontario

Architecture

Building type: Transportation

Dates/hours open

Friday January 1 – Friday December 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Quinte West

Gilmour Lumber Company Site Doors Open Quinte West

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Gilmour Lumber Company Site

In the late 1800s, lumber companies were plowing through the old growth forests of Ontario, making and breaking towns and villages. Trenton was no different. In 1852, Gilmour and Company constructed a sawmill at the Trent Port along the Bay of Quinte. David Gilmour arrived in Trenton in 1879 to take over the mill operation, both expanding and mechanizing the business to take advantage of the plentiful supply of trees that made its way down the Trent River. To accompany their growing workforce, the company also built new homes in Trenton. Despite a devastating fire, Gilmour continued to grow his business. The Gilmour Mill had a huge impact on the expansion of Trenton, becoming the largest sawmill in the world. Its effects are felt still today. Watch the documentary below, by Sean Scally – entitled Lumberbaron: The Gilmour Years – and discover the story about the effect of the Gilmour Lumber Company on the region from Trenton to the Muskokas.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Video

Contact info

At the Old Sawmill site, near the dam at Lock 1 (29-45 Regional Road 33)
Trenton, Ontario

Architecture

Year built: 1852
Building type: Commercial

Dates/hours open

Friday January 1 – Friday December 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Quinte West

National Air Force Museum of Canada Doors Open Quinte West

National Air Force Museum of Canada

Established in 1984, the National Air Force Museum of Canada is dedicated to preserving and telling the history of Canadian military aviation. The museum – with over 7,000 square metres (75,000 square feet) of exhibition space with an adjoining 6-hectare (16-acre) air park – captures the spirit, daring and courage of the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force – from the first flight on a frozen lake in Nova Scotia to today's humanitarian relief missions. While the site has reopened (check their website for COVID-19 protocols), there are still a number of excellent digital resources available for at-home visits. Start with the video below. Then check out their collections, including many aircraft, and their online exhibits, including Victory (about the end of the Second World War). The museum also features several Museum from Home activities – including a table hockey game, a colouring sheet (where you can design your own jersey to win a prize), the Be an Airman board game, and much more.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Video
  • Activities and games
  • Collections and resources
  • Kid-friendly

Contact info

220 RCAF Road
Astra, Ontario
http://airforcemuseum.ca

Architecture

Year built: 1984
Building type: Attraction, Military, Museum

Dates/hours open

Friday May 1 – Wednesday March 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Quinte West

Old Church Theatre Doors Open Quinte West

Old Church Theatre

Built in 1876, this beautifully renovated, rural church has been a musical hub to performers from across Canada and around the world. Known originally as the Johnstown Church, the building served its mainly farming congregation for many years until it fell into disrepair and was abandoned. Saved from demolition and restored by former CBC broadcaster Roy Bonisteel (1930-2013), a member of this community, the Old Church became an intimate setting where musical icons and a wealth of local talent have since performed. Its unmatched acoustics make it the ideal space for live music and theatre performances. Today, the venue is also licensed and offers Ontario craft beers and local Prince Edward County wine in addition to its many live performances. Check out their popular The Beer from Here podcast on their YouTube channel. And, to learn more about this unique Digital Doors Open site, watch the Sean Scally video below.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Video

Contact info

940 Bonisteel Road
Trenton, Ontario
https://oldchurch.ca

Architecture

Year built: 1876
Building type: Place of worship, Theatre

Dates/hours open

Friday January 1 – Friday December 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Quinte West

Quinte Waste Solutions Doors Open Quinte West

Quinte Waste Solutions

Quinte Waste Solutions is the municipal recycling service that has collected for nine member communities for over 25 years. At its Trenton location – known as the Material Recovery Facility – they process over 50 metric tonnes of household recycling each day. During Digital Door Open, watch the video below to see how recycling works - from curbside collection to the sorting line to the finished bales of recycled materials that are then sold to companies for new uses.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Video
  • Kid-friendly

Contact info

270 West Street
Quinte West, Ontario
http://quinterecycling.org

Architecture

Year built: 1990
Building type: Green building

Dates/hours open

Friday May 1 – Wednesday March 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Quinte West

Research Casting International (RCI) Doors Open Quinte West

Research Casting International (RCI)

Research Casting International is one of the world’s largest providers of museum technical services – specializing in the fabrication of paleontology displays. Their services include specimen mounting and restoration, molding and casting, exhibit fabrication, and more. Check out some of their current projects in this year’s Digital Doors Open tour below. Explore their facility and watch as they work on the restoration of a brontosaurus, blue whale and mastodon!

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Video
  • Kid-friendly

Contact info

15 Dufferin Avenue
Trenton, Ontario
Telephone: 613-394-7051
Email: bmcinroy@rescast.com
www.rescast.com

Architecture

Building type: Attraction, Commercial

Dates/hours open

Friday May 1 – Wednesday March 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Quinte West

Trent Severn Canal, The Doors Open Quinte West

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Trent Severn Canal, The

The Trent-Severn Waterway is a 386-kilometre (240-mile) canal route that connects Lake Ontario at Trenton to Georgian Bay in Lake Huron at Port Severn through 46 locks, following the same rugged route taken by Samuel de Champlain in 1615. Begun in 1833 primarily as a safe passage for ships on the Great Lakes against possible American attack, the waterway would soon prove its value as a system of transportation for goods as well and would become an economic boost for the nation. Lured by the promise of free land, thousands of British, French and Italian men came to Canada to build the canal. The first lock was built in Bobcaygeon in 1833, but the entire canal wasn’t completed until 1920 – 87 years later. Today, the canal is run by Parks Canada and is a recreational boater’s paradise that attracts 18,000 visitors from across North American each summer. During Digital Doors Open, you can learn more about this engineering feat through the video below.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Video

Architecture

Dates/hours open

Friday January 1 – Friday December 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Quinte West

Trenton Cold Storage Doors Open Quinte West

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Trenton Cold Storage

Two prominent men – Eben James and William Fraser – had tremendous influence on the development of Trenton through their lives and their rivalry, establishing a company that would influence the development of the town more than any other company in its history. By the 19th century, Trenton was becoming a central hub of agriculture distribution in Ontario. James and Fraser took advantage of this factor by establishing Trenton Cold Storage, using the region’s expanded train and steamship networks to distribute produce more effectively to regional, national and international markets. And apples made up a large part of that produce. The influence of this company and these two men has left an enduring legacy that resonates in the town today. Learn more about their lives and their company through the Sean Scally video below – entitled Apples and Egos: The Saga of Eben James and William Fraser – and see for yourself how apples and egos impacted the history of Trenton.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Video

Contact info

21 Albert Street
Trenton, Ontario

Architecture

Building type: Commercial

Dates/hours open

Friday January 1 – Friday December 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Quinte West