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Christmas house tours return in support of County’s built heritage – Dec. 2

Watching as Elizabeth Crombie presents Cheryl Anderson with a $7,000 PEC Built Heritage Grant, in 2021, from left, are: Gord Gibbins, Janice Gibbins, Borys Holowacz (all Moses Hudgin Log House Restoration Committee members), John Hirsch councillor and president of the South Shore Joint Initiative; Bob Clapp of the Hastings Prince Edward Land Trust and Dick Bird, restoration committee member. – Sue Capon file photo

The popular Christmas In The County House Tour is returning this year after cancellations since 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s self-guided tour of historic and modern properties is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 2 and is to feature eight private and publicly-owned destinations decorated for the holiday season.

“We started the tour in 2010,” says local realtor Elizabeth Crombie,” following the surprising demolition of the 1875 former Methodist Church on Picton’s Main Street.

1875 former Methodist Church. Steven Draper photo

“The loss of that iconic landmark was considered one of the top 10 heritage losses in the country that year by the National Heritage Trust of Canada. A small group of us felt strongly that we needed to respond to this tragic event by raising funds and awareness of the County’s many heritage properties.”

Until COVID forced its cancellation in recent years, the tour annually sold out its 400 tickets with proceeds entrusted to a Built Heritage Fund, administered by The County Foundation, which works with the organizing committee to re-invest the funds in local heritage projects.

“Because of the success of this annual tour,” states Dominique Jones, Executive Director of The County Foundation, “the committee has been able to provide many small grants that have assisted in repairing roofs, steps, windows or masonry work on buildings like the White Chapel, St. Mary Magdalene Church and The Picton United Church, the Athol Town Hall, the Masonic Lodge in Ameliasburgh, The Regent Theatre, and others. The tour is unique in that it celebrates the County’s homes while making an annual contribution to local heritage restoration projects.”

This year’s tour is generously supported financially by sponsors such as Picton Home Hardware, Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty, Terra Vista Landscape Construction, and Women, Wealth and Wellness. As well, many community businesses provide in-kind donations of flowers, cookies, candles, cider and other products. The organizers are thankful to Lockyer’s Country Gardens, Marvin’s Flowers, Campbell’s Orchards, the County Candle Company, Green Gables Gifts and Greetings, and Ian Batt for his famous shortbread cookies.

“A small group of dedicated volunteers make the event happen each year,” adds Crombie, one of the tour founders. “And we’re very grateful to those homeowners who open their properties to residents and visitors. It’s a wonderful Christmas event.”

Tickets for the tour are $30/person. They are available at Books and Company in Picton and online at eventbrite. Click here

For more information about the Built Heritage Fund, including how to donate or apply for a grant visit:


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