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Jan. 28, 2022 | Friday
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Queenston opens its doors for visitors to explore the village
Brock's Monument is one of the stops on the Doors Open tour Oct. 16. (File photo)

Queenston is opening the doors to several of its historic community buildings and attractions, encouraging everyone to come out and explore the village.

"Explore Queenston" is a one-day Open Doors tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16.

RiverBrink Art Museum, Willowbank Estate and the Willowbank Studio have partnered with the Queenston Residents Association to launch this first formal tour of some of the village’s historic buildings and exhibits.

Admission is by donation at each site. Guests are asked to donate a few dollars to each place they visit.

All participants are expected to follow provincial COVID-19 public health guidelines, so masks will be required. But organizers said none of the Explore Queenston locations require proof of vaccination, based on provincial guidelines.

Spokesperson Brianne Hawley said they hope to showcase all that Queenston has to offer in arts, culture, heritage, history and community. And they plan to make this an annual event.

The residents association also will be hosting its bi-annual Village of Queenston yard sale. Treasures from all over the village will be available to purchase.

The participating organizations include:

Riverbrink Art Museum, 116 Queenston St., RiverBrink is at the northern edge of Queenston, adjacent to the Niagara Parkway. Open to the public year-round, the art museum presents exhibitions of historical and contemporary art. Current exhibitions include "Power," an audio and video installation by artist Elizabeth Chitty, with supporting exhibitions organized from the permanent collection. During Explore Queenston, RiverBrink will hold a fundraising sale of donated treasures to support exhibitions and programming scheduled gallery tours, and an en plein air painting workshop led by Pete Malaguti. Light refreshments will be available for purchase.

Willowbank Estate, 14487 Niagara Parkway, The School of Restoration Arts at Willowbank, Willowbank Estate (1834) is a national historic site and home to the School of Restoration Arts. Its three-year diploma program in heritage conservation teaches students both theory and hands-on skills and is the only program of its kind in Canada. Visitors can walk around the house, grounds and woodshop, and chat with students and staff. Some of the students will be working on projects, demonstrating different techniques, or selling their work. As well, 124 on Queen Hotel and Treadwell restaurant will be on site to promote Willowbank Estate events and rental opportunities

Willowbank Studio, 5 Walnut St., studio entrance on Princess Street, Willowbank Lower Campus (formerly Laura Secord School), Visual artists Sharon Okun and Adam Markovic recently launched the Willowbank Studio in the upper floor of the former Laura Secord School. It was profiled in The Lake Report in July. The artists met while studying painting in Florence, Italy, and in 2012 they brought their knowledge and appreciation of art and history back to Canada where they continue their careers as artists, painting for exhibitions and teaching painting and materials workshops. Visitors can view their private studio space to see work in progress and a demonstration of how oil paint is made.

Brock's Monument, national historic site, 14184 Niagara River Parkway, This event is noon to 2 p.m. only: The Friends of Fort George will be in front of Brock’s Monument with a small educational display and gift shop set up. They also will be offering featured talks at noon and 2 p.m. Starting from the base of Brock’s Monument, visitors can join costumed staff for a talk about the Battle of Queenston Heights. As well, they can learn about the causes of the War of 1812, the key players in the Battle of Queenston Heights, including the famous Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, the role of Indigenous warriors and the outcome of the battle.

Village Yard Sale, Queenston Residents Association, 8 a.m. until the afternoon, St. Saviours Church, 12 Princess St.:  Prior to 1788, a congregation of United Empire Loyalists had founded a mixed denomination church in Queenston near York Road. In 1820, Rev. Brooks Stevens, the military chaplain at Fort George, assumed pastoral care of this congregation, which became Anglican. Unfortunately, that church building was struck by lightning in 1830 and had to be demolished. For the next 40 years, the congregation continued to meet in either Dee House or the Lowrey Stone Barn in Queenston, both of which are still standing. The present church building was begun in 1877 and was completed two years later. It is constructed of local limestone and named in memory of Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, who died in the Battle of Queenston Heights. The Brock Memorial Window on the west side, above the altar, was presented to St. Saviours in 1881 by the York Pioneer and Historical Society and commemorates Brock’s death, depicting Joshua and the Archangel Michael. Diocesan restrictions do not permit St. Saviours to open its doors for tours but the public is allowed to walk the grounds.