Ontario’s barn quilt tales and trails
Many rural communities have gone a step further by displaying painted replicas of fabric quilt designs artwork painted on large durable boards and mounted to barns, fences and other buildings such as museums, churches and cideries.
Both traditional and innovative, the distinctive folk art designs pay homage to the art of fabric quilting and represent the history and farming culture of the local communities.
Embark on a road trip into rural Ontario to discover the stories behind each piece of art on these barn quilt trails.
Note: Many of Ontario’s barn quilts are on private property. Unless open to the public, please admire the artwork safely from the roadways.
The County’s largest outdoor gallery boasts over 100 barn quilts, including “County Apples” at the County Cider Company in Waupoos, “Carpenter’s Wheel” in Wellington and “Bee Creative” in Bloomfield.
Explore the 23 heritage barns throughout urban and rural Port Hope that have been recognized for their architectural significance. Use the Interactive Driving Tour on your smartphone for directions and points of interest along the route.
While you’re here: Stay in the heart of old Port Hope at Hotel Carlyle, a chic, boutique retreat with 10 stylish suites.
History buffs will appreciate the barn quilts that tell the agricultural story about people who settled in the region, and the ports and railway communities that followed.
While you’re here: In Aylmer, enjoy a meal at the Green Frog Tea Room at Pinecroft Pottery Studio and Giftshop. Whimsically themed rooms add to the charm at Inn on the Harbour in Port Stanley. Just north of Elgin Country, The Quilt Place in Shakespeare and Country Patchworks in Woodstock are both full service quilt shop.
Travel to Ontario’s Southwest, where the roots of rural life and quilt culture run deep. Choose from the East Chatham-Kent Barn Quilt Trail, Thames River Barn Quilt Trail and Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail. Or experience them all!
While you’re here: Combine a barn quilt trail visit with events at Pastime Pieces, a two-story barn converted into a quilt shop in Blenheim. Catch up on the latest in quilting products, fabrics and inspirational project ideas.
“Old Country Church”, “Battle of Three Rivers” and “Bounty From the Thames” are some of the eye-catching barn art you’ll see in the rural reaches of Middlesex County.
While you’re here: Formally a post office, the Clock Tower Inn and Bistro in Strathroy is a welcoming oasis of comfort and style. ABQ Sewing Studio has all the supplies you’ll need for your own quilting project.
Kawarthas and Northumberland
Local quilters, artists and craftspeople in this Peterborough County township have collaborated to produce various barn quilt installations that showcase the history and value of agriculture in the community. Tour the charming village of Millbrook on foot and see the barn quilts displayed by local businesses. Self-guided walking and driving tour maps are available.
Grey, Bruce and Simcoe
Over 150 barn quilt displays by Simcoe County artists and farmers celebrate the rich farm-based stories of the region with locations in and around Oro-Medonte, Severn and Ramara. Use the interactive barn quilt trail map to guide you.
Although they currently have a modest barn quilt representation, community members of Niagara Barn Quilts are quickly spreading the word about their pride in the region’s rural past and present. As the group’s motto says, they’re ‘making Niagara beautiful one quilt at a time’.
While you’re here: The quaint village of Jordan is an ideal home base, and not only because it’s home to some of this tour’s must-sees. You can’t go wrong with the wine country dining and accommodations you’ll find at Inn On The Twenty.
Follow the Ryde Barn Quilt Trail to experience the history of the former Ryde Township, now part of the town of Gravenhurst. Over 25 quilt sites were erected in 2014 in celebration of 135 years of settlement in Ryde. Follow the trail with downloadable maps and a digital tour guide.
While you’re here: Afternoon tea or High tea at The Blue Willow Tea Shop in Gravenhurst is a delight with a selection of fancy sandwiches, savouries and scones. Choose from elegant suites, lofts and villas at Muskoka Bay Resort.
Barn quilt trails continue to grow, transforming the barns and farmcapes into works of art. Visit barnquilttrails.ca to find more quilt trails in Ontario.
Last updated: August 22, 2023