As cottages open up this spring, so too will the doors of some intriguing heritage buildings in Muskoka. The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario Muskoka Branch and the Lake of Bays Heritage Committee are working with more than 20 community partners to host Doors Open Muskoka 2008 on Saturday, June 14.


On the day of the event, twenty businesses, churches, attractions and private homes in the communities of Bala, Baysville, Dorset, Dwight, Glen Orchard and Port Carling will open doors on their fascinating stories free-of-charge between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Most participants enjoy seeing 5 to 10 sites that are grouped in clusters in one or two communities they have chosen to visit.

The participating sites in Bala are the Dempster Cottage (former Big B Camp); Lindermere cottage and Trinity St. Alban’s Church. The latter two were designed by architect W.G. Burns. The Glen Orchard schoolhouse on West White’s Road was built in the 1890 as the area’s second school. The Port Carling sites all tell part of that community’s boat building story: The Boatworks (formerly Hugh MacClennan and Sons), The Duke House (Township Visitor Centre), Duke Marine Services, and the  Muskoka Lakes Museum on the island.

In Dorset, St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church, Robinson’s General Store, the Bigwin Boat Restoration and Dorset Heritage Museum are brand new to Doors Open. Two private cottages – Barnaby and Riverby – as well as Stewart Memorial United Church will interest visitors to Dwight. The Ellis Homestead, Burtons Bed and Breakfast, and Miss Nelle’s Antiques (formerly Langmaids Store) will be popular stops in Bayville.

If you’re looking for a great outing on Father’s Day weekend, look for details about this self-guided tour at or check out To find out more about the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario Muskoka Branch or to become a Doors Open volunteer, please call 762-5876 or email