Founding Families

Immerse yourself in the stories of the business magnates and civic leaders who played important roles in the development of our country. Delve into the lives of these fascinating individuals through visits to historic homes, hands-on activities, exhibits and special events throughout the 150th year celebration.

Delight your senses in a historic kitchen garden where servants once picked vegetables for dinner. Feel the incredible pride of ownership inspired by the simple home purchased by an African-American slave who escaped from a Virginia plantation in the late 1820s. Costumed interpreters and interactive programming at our collection of historic homes and museums will give you a glimpse of early Canadian culture.

Chiefswood National Historic Site, Ohsweken
Visit the birthplace and childhood home of Mohawk poetess E. Pauline Johnson. This wonderful historic house and museum features a selection of original furnishings and Johnson family artifacts.

Battlefield House Museum & Park, Stoney Creek
A National Historic Site, this early 19th-century homestead was once home to the Gage family, who retreated to the cellar during the War of 1812 as the Battle of Stoney Creek raged outside.
 
Bell Homestead National Historic Site, Brantford
From 1870 to 1881, this was the Bell family’s first Canadian residence and the place where Alexander Graham Bell discovered the fundamental concept of the telephone in 1874.

Dundurn National Historic Site, Hamilton
This 40-room Italianate-style villa built in the 1830's on the former site of a fortified military encampment established by the British in 1813 was once home to Sir Allan Napier MacNab, railway magnate, lawyer and Premier of the United Canadas (1854-1856).
 
Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum, Ancaster
This cultural heritage centre collects, preserves and exhibits local history and promotes the fine arts and the celebration of natural heritage through beautifully landscaped gardens and walking trails.
 
Whitehern Historic House & Garden, Hamilton
Prominently situated in a walled garden, Whitehern is an outstanding example of a  19th-century urban estate originally owned by a wealthy industrialist.

Westfield Heritage Village, Rockton
Step back in time and witness the evolution of Canadian culture as history comes alive at this site that features log buildings, a blacksmith shop, a railway station and locomotive, a one-room school and more.

Ireland House at Oakridge Farm, Burlington
This historic site reflects farm life over four generations with tours, educational programs and special events hosted all year round.
 
Myrtleville House Museum, Brantford
Learn about and experience early Canadian life in this ten-room Georgian homestead that was home to four consecutive generations of the Good family, who originally emigrated to Canada from Ireland.
 
Erchless Estate, Oakville
Explore Oakville’s heritage through year-round guided tours and exhibitions, special events and workshops on the historic grounds of Erchless. The estate was once home to six generations of Oakville’s founding family.
 
Griffin House, Ancaster
Explore the history of Enerals Griffin and other early Black settlers at this preserved early 19th-century home, set on a hilltop overlooking the beautiful Dundas Valley.
 
Situated in the rolling hills of Brant County, the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead is the birthplace and childhood home of a Canadian original who played a key role in the advancement of some of our country’s key institutions.
 
Here are a few ideas to start the celebrations:
  • Historic Garden Tours at Dundurn Castle

    Dundurn's historic Kitchen Garden catered to the nutritional needs and aesthetic desires of the MacNab family 150 years ago. Enjoy… More >

    Dundurn's historic Kitchen Garden catered to the nutritional needs and aesthetic desires of the MacNab family 150 years ago. Enjoy informative stories and historic gardening knowledge conveyed by costumed garden staff. The tour promises to be a pleasure for the mind and the senses.

    FREE outdoor event 

    Saturdays and Sundays, 12:30 to 1:30 AND 2:00 to 3:00

    Regular admission rates apply to the Museum. Cost: Adults: $11.50, Seniors/Youth: $9.50, Children: $6, Infants: Free, Family: $30

    Location 610 York Blvd., Hamilton, L8R 3H1

    Email dundurn@hamilton.ca

    Web http://www.hamilton.ca/dundurn


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  • O Canada Summer Camp
    Ireland House Museum

    Join us this summer to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada and Ontario! Four of our five weeks will focus… More >

    Join us this summer to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada and Ontario! Four of our five weeks will focus on 1867 and provide campers a fun, hands-on opportunity to step back in time to experience life at the founding of our country and province. Our last week will cover the last 150 years of Canadian history, featuring highlights from around the country!

     

    July 10 – 14: July 17 – 21: July 24 – 28: House and Farm August 14 – 18: Entertainment August 21 – 25: 150 Years in 5 Days

    Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

    Cost: $175.00 per week, or $40.00 per day

    Age: 5 - 12 years Extended hours available upon request from 8:00 am – 9:00 am and 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm. The cost is $6.00 per session. Museum members receive 25% off the camp registration fee! Extended hours are excluded. Some activities will take place outdoors, so please dress your campers for the weather.

     

    To register, please visit www.museumsofburlington.ca, or call 905-332-9888.

    Location 2168 Guelph Line, Burlington, L7P 5A8

    Email MuseumEducation@burlington.ca

    Web https://museumsofburlington.ca/ireland-house/education/camps


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    25
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  • Exhibit: FROM 'THE ARK' - ANCASTER 150

    Join the Farmer family as they journey from "The Ark" of family lore through 150 years of life in Ancaster.… More >

    Join the Farmer family as they journey from "The Ark" of family lore through 150 years of life in Ancaster. Explore how their world changed between 1867 to 2017 and discover key points in National History.

    Cost: Adults: $4.50, Seniors/Youth: $3, Children: $2.50, Family: $10

    1 to 5 pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
     
    This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between the Hamilton Community Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.

    Location 64 Sulphur Springs Road, Ancaster, L9G 1L8

    Email fieldcote@hamilton.ca

    Web http://www.hamilton.ca/fieldcote


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  • Friends of Battlefield House Museum Lecture Series

    Join us for a historically-themed illustrated talk. Tuesdays:  September 12th, October 10th, November 14th and December 12th - 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm  More >

    Join us for a historically-themed illustrated talk. Tuesdays:  September 12th, October 10th, November 14th and December 12th - 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm 

    Time 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

    Location 77 King St. W., Hamilton, L8G 5E5


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  • Doors Open Burlington
    Various location around the city

    Doors Open Burlington provides a unique opportunity to view your city from a new perspective and celebrate the cultural importance… More >

    Doors Open Burlington provides a unique opportunity to view your city from a new perspective and celebrate the cultural importance of the sites in the community. Many sites will offer special activities, such as tours, exhibitions and demonstrations. The event will celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary. 

    Time 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    Location 426 Brant St, Burlington, L7R 3Z6

    Email hello@doorsopenburlington.com

    Web http://www.doburlington.com


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    - Sep -
    30
  • “History Lives Here” Evening Tours…Battlefield glimpses into the past.

    Glimpse into the past and see history come to life in celebration of Canada's 150th birthday as actors recreate a… More >

    Glimpse into the past and see history come to life in celebration of Canada's 150th birthday as actors recreate a number of playful historical vignettes depicting life in early Canada. In guided groups, participants will travel around the Park and Museum to experience how life was lived in Canada past. Shows begin every 30 minutes starting at 5:00pm with last show starting at 7:00pm. Some vignettes will require being outside in the Park. Some of the vignettes will take place in areas that are not accessible. Light refreshments provided Tickets are $20.00 and are available only by contacting Battlefield House Museum Park at (905) 662-8458 or via email at Battlefield@hamilton.ca. Limited number of tickets available.

    Location 77 King St. W., Hamilton, L8G 5E5

    Email friendsofbattlefield@gmail.com


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    - Oct -
    28
  • Thomas Keefer's Birthday

    Join us to celebrate the birthday of Thomas C. Keefer, designer of the 1859 Hamilton Waterworks and a founder of… More >

    Join us to celebrate the birthday of Thomas C. Keefer, designer of the 1859 Hamilton Waterworks and a founder of Canada's civil engineering profession. Enjoy birthday cake and tours of the historic Waterworks

    FREE event and museum admission

    Time 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

    Location 900 Woodward Ave., Hamilton, L8H 7N2

    Email steammusum@hamilton.ca

    Web http://hamilton.ca/steammuseum


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    - Nov -
    04
  • The McQuesten's Childhood Christmas
    Whitehern Historic House & Garden

    Enjoy this special time of year as the McQuestens look back on the Christmas of their childhood. Once a year,… More >

    Enjoy this special time of year as the McQuestens look back on the Christmas of their childhood. Once a year, the family's toys are gathered under a whimsically decorated tree. The table is beautifully set with the China they used for Christmas and New Year's. Cedar roping and satin ribbon complete the picture. Experience the holidays as they were celebrated through the eras, from the 1850s to the 1930s.  
    Time: 12 – 4 pm (Open Tuesday to Sunday; Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day)
     

    Location 41 Jackson Street West, Hamilton, L8P 1L3

    Email whitehern@hamilton.ca

    Web http://www.hamilton.ca/whitehern


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