Fall, for the Rural Explorer

The Heart of Georgian Bay is the ideal destination for those who like cruising back roads, to take in a quiet afternoon and views of rural like. Farmers hard at work bailing hay, calves jumping with the joy for life, and endless fields of vegetables planted row by row. The addition of barn quilts to the landscape provide a new approach to exploring the area by highlighting farm-based businesses and telling stories that are intrinsic to the rich fabric of Simcoe County.

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Simcoe County Barn Quilts is a self-guided experience made up of over 150 barn quilts across Simcoe County, each painted with a unique quilt pattern representing family traditions and local heritage. 26 of these beautiful art installations are located in the Heart of Georgian Bay.

But what is a barn quilt, exactly? Each quilt block is painted, not sewn, as many first think, on 8×8′ aluminium panels. Using aluminium ensures that the quilts will last. The panels are attached to a wood frame and lag bolted to the structure to make sure it stands the test of the gustiest of Georgian Bay breezes.

As for the design, each host could choose or design their own pattern, under the artistic direction of local muralist, Ruth Hurdle.

For example, the quilt featured on the cover of the Simcoe County Barn Quilts map is located at One Chicken Ranch in Tiny Township. Its ‘double card trick’ pattern was chosen by Memere Juenau, the family matriarch, as the perfect combination of her two favourite passtimes – quilting and playing cards with friends. The quilt was painted by family and friends on location and now serves as a bright beacon of joy after her passing.

Some quilts were painted by hosts and their loved ones, or by community volunteers. Others were taken on as special projects by the residents of long term care homes.

The Cardinal is one of those special projects. It made its permanent perch on a newly sided and much-loved barn located on Wood Road in Tay Township. It was painted by residents at Georgian Manor Long Term Care Home in Penetanguishene, and is featured on a limited edition t-shirt that was created in 2021 to promote and celebrate the completion of the Simcoe County Barn Quilts project.

Farm to Table

Along your expedition to find barn quilts in the Heart of Georgian Bay, you will find that some host locations also offer the opportunity for on-farm shopping. For those quilt locations which do not have public storefronts, please remember to enjoy the view safely from your car or the shoulder of the road.

Bring home a bottle of maple syrup from Windlee Farms or Williams Farms, shop for locally handmade treasures and artisanal creations at the Newton Street Art Barn, or pick up a beautiful bouquet of farm-grown flowers at Georgian Roots Flower Farm.

Lovers of local food gather at the Southern Georgian Bay Farmers’ Market on Sundays 9:00am to 1:00pm to purchase from a variety of local farmers and food creators. The market is hosted at 526 Bay Street until October 9th.

Barn Quilt Map

To view the interactive map of all 156 barn quilt locations or download a pdf, click here.

You can also submit a request for a free printed copy to be mailed right to your door.

While you’re here, you’ll need a place to Stay and some great places to Eat. We’ve got you covered, so browse our website for more information.

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