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:
  • Exhibit: 150 Years through the Eyes of the Farmer Family – Celebrating Canada’s Sesquicentennial

    Many generations of the Farmer Family lived & worked in Ancaster. Explore how their world changed in Ancaster between 1857… More >

    Many generations of the Farmer Family lived & worked in Ancaster. Explore how their world changed in Ancaster between 1857 to the present day and discover key points in National History through the decades, as impacted their life in this historical community.
    Open 1 - 5 pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
    Regular admission rates apply
     

    Location 64 Sulphur Springs Road, Ancaster, L9G 1L8

    Email fieldcote@hamilton.ca

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


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    - Dec -
    30
    To
    - May -
    03
  • Doors Open Hamilton at Whitehern

    Celebrate the City's rich history and explore its architectural gems and hidden treasures at the fascinating historic home of the… More >

    Celebrate the City's rich history and explore its architectural gems and hidden treasures at the fascinating historic home of the McQuesten family. 
    Free museum admission.

    Time 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    Location 41 Jackson St. W., Hamilton, L8P 1L3

    Email whitehern@hamilton.ca

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


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    - May -
    07
    To
    - May -
    06
  • Museums Month Doors Open Partnership at Griffin House

    Celebrate Hamilton's rich history and explore its architectural gems and undiscovered treasures. The Griffin House is recognized as an important… More >

    Celebrate Hamilton's rich history and explore its architectural gems and undiscovered treasures. The Griffin House is recognized as an important Canadian Black History site. It is included among several sites in the Central Ontario Network for Black History and stands as a testament to the bravery and determination of black men and women who journeyed to freedom in Southern Ontario. The museum is also an excellent example of Ancaster's early history, preserved in a simple 1.5-storey house just west of the Hermitage Ruins. Parking at nearby Hermitage Gatehouse parking lot.  FREE event
     

    Time 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    Location 733 Mineral Springs Rd., Ancaster, L9H 1A1

    Email griffinhouse@hamilton.ca

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


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    - May -
    07
    To
    - May -
    06
  • “Battlefield Monumental Challenge 150”

    Come to Battlefield House Museum & Park and challenge yourself to walk up to the observation deck of the Battlefield… More >

    Come to Battlefield House Museum & Park and challenge yourself to walk up to the observation deck of the Battlefield Monument in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. The first 150 registered participants will be given an official “Canada 150” logo pin to mark their achievement and contribution to Canada’s birthday celebration. This activity may help you meet your “ParticipACTION 150” goals. Rain or Shine. Registration begins at 11:30am on both May 6th and 7th at the Park.

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

    Email friendsofbattlefield@gmail.com


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    - May -
    07
    To
    - May -
    06
  • Dundurn’s Golden Anniversary Celebration

    The City of Hamilton has operated Dundurn for over 100 years. On Saturday, June 17, 1967 the museum officially reopened… More >

    The City of Hamilton has operated Dundurn for over 100 years. On Saturday, June 17, 1967 the museum officially reopened its doors to a crowd of more than 3,000 people to celebrate the newly restored “Castle.” Saturday, June 17, 2017 marks our 50th anniversary as a historic house museum. Join us as we celebrate 50 years of restoration with special tours of newly restored rooms, view the rarely seen Cockpit building, and participate in hands-on activities such as gardening and cooking, using tools and techniques from the 1850s. Throughout the day, guests can enjoy music, crafts and games which were popular in MacNab’s time as well as in the 1960s when the museum first opened.

    Location 610 York Blvd., Hamilton, L8R 3H1


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    - Jun -
    17
  • Canada Day Military Tattoo at Dundurn Castle
    Dundurn National Historic Site

    Come and enjoy a spectacular evening of military musical celebration and experience a tradition that extends back over a century!… More >

    Come and enjoy a spectacular evening of military musical celebration and experience a tradition that extends back over a century! Feel the thrill as the Regimental Band of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Band and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Pipes and Drums perform out in front of Dundurn Castle. Catch a glimpse of the red coated defenders of Canada West at Ridgeway during the Fenian Raid of 1866, as the 13th Battalion Ceremonial Guard takes the field. 
     
    Time:  7 pm
    Free event.

    Time 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Location 610 York Blvd., Hamilton, L8R 3H1

    Email dundurn@hamilton.ca

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


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    - Jul -
    01
  • The Heights: A War of 1812 Tour of Dundurn National Historic Site

    Dundurn Castle is built on the history of the War of 1812. Burlington Heights, where Dundurn now stands, was occupied… More >

    Dundurn Castle is built on the history of the War of 1812. Burlington Heights, where Dundurn now stands, was occupied by the British military from 1813 until 1815. Your journey will begin at The Hamilton Military Museum to uncover the history surrounding the property. Discover evidence of military fortifications as the tour takes you outdoors into Dundurn Park. The guided tour will end with a look inside Dundurn Castle focusing on the 1812 architectural features that Sir Allan MacNab later incorporated into his well-known home.  NOTE: This tour contains outdoor components; please come dressed for the weather and for walking on uneven terrain. 

    $20 per person. Pre-registration is required

    Time 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

    Location 610 York Blvd., Hamilton, L8R 3H1

    Email dundurn@hamilton.ca

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


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    - Jul -
    08
  • Who is Halton?

    "Who is Halton" is a self guided exhibit commemorating the 200th anniversary of the founding of Halton County in 1816.… More >

    "Who is Halton" is a self guided exhibit commemorating the 200th anniversary of the founding of Halton County in 1816. The exhibit explores the history and culture of the area that has become Halton Region by focusing on the personal stories of its residents, from First Nations and early settlers, its namesake Major William Halton to long-time residents and recent arrivals. This exhibit will Reside at the Cotton Factory. 

    Location 270 Sherman Avenue North, Hamilton, L8L 6N4


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    - Aug -
    16
    To
    - Jul -
    10
  • 1867 - Sara’s 21st Birthday Party Celebration “Sit and Sketch”

    In 1867, the year Canada was born, our Sara Calder turned 21. Sara is a descendant of the Gage family… More >

    In 1867, the year Canada was born, our Sara Calder turned 21. Sara is a descendant of the Gage family - the former owners of the property where the Battle of Stoney Creek was fought in 1813 - and was responsible for the formation of the Museum and for the building of Battlefield Monument. She was a great supporter of the Arts and was the founder of the Women’s Art Association. To jointly celebrate Canada’s and Sara’s birthdays, we welcome artists to bring their own art supplies and recreate the beautiful vistas found throughout Battlefield Park. The first 150 registered participants will receive an official “Canada 150” logo pin to mark their achievement and contribution to Canada’s celebration. Cookies and lemonade will be provided to registrants. This is an outdoor event. Registration begins at 9:30am at the Park.

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

    Email friendsofbattlefield@gmail.com


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    - Aug -
    19
  • 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 -
    21
  • 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

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