Friends of the Trust

Volunteers play an important role at the Niagara Apothecary

Photo: Volunteers play an important role at the Niagara Apothecary


Kathryn Dixon

Buildings and architecture, Cultural objects

Published Date: Feb 14, 2008

Throughout its 40 years, the Ontario Heritage Trust has developed strong partnerships with local communities. Among these partnerships are those with the groups whose efforts help support the work of the Trust. At many Trust museums and heritage sites across the province, dedicated and hard-working volunteers make important contributions.

In Niagara-on-the Lake, the Trust operates the Niagara Apothecary. Built in the late 1860s, this museum now welcomes approximately 100,000 visitors each year. For over 35 years, volunteers of the Ontario College of Pharmacists have shown how pharmacists practised their profession over 100 years ago. These retired pharmacists have invaluable knowledge that brings to life the character of a Victorian drug store.

At Fulford Place in Brockville, the Friends of Fulford Place Association – a group of community volunteers – has been an important part of the site’s success since 1993. They welcome visitors to the magnificent Edwardian mansion overlooking the St. Lawrence River and offer guided tours. Special fundraising activities – such as the successful ghost walks (walking tours of haunted Brockville) and the annual Edwardian tea event – help raise funds to support conservation and educational work at Fulford Place.

Over the past decade, the Friends of Macdonell-Williamson House in East Hawkesbury has held special events and helped raise funds to restore windows and the Williamson parlour, re-point the exterior stonework and plant Georgian-era flowerbeds. The hard work of this organization has made the house a lively centre of heritage and cultural activities for the local community.

Elsewhere, the work of volunteers plays an equally important role in supporting the work of the Trust. Volunteers assist at the unique double-decker Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre in Toronto – a vibrant live-performance venue and home to the largest collection of vaudeville scenery in the world. At Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site in Dresden, volunteers represent the community and support the Trust’s work to interpret this complex and important historic site commemorating Reverend Josiah Henson, the Underground Railroad and Ontario’s black history.

Many other Trust properties are operated by community organizations: Les Amis Duff-Bâby at Duff-Baby House in Windsor; the Town of Perth and its Management Board at Inge-Va in Perth; the Lake of the Woods Historical Society at Mather-Walls House in Kenora; and the John Graves Simcoe/Wolford Chapel Committee at Wolford Chapel in England.

Together, the Trust and Friends groups/operating partners keep Ontario’s heritage alive and meaningful. The perseverance of dedicated volunteers across the province supports the Trust in its work to fulfil its mandate and ensure that these significant heritage resources are a vibrant part of the lives of future generations.