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Visiting Beaverton, Ontario: remembering local history by museum and mural art
Remembering a 19th century pioneer community
Housed in a log cabin, it is situated at Beaverton's Centennial Park, through which the Beaver River runs. The log cabin is reckoned to date from about 1850, a time when European settlers were coming into the area in increasing numbers, and the log cabin's interior has been preserved to have the appearance of what a typical settler's dwelling would have looked like. On the second storey of the log cabin, small farm implements and tools, which would have been used by pioneers, are exhibited.
In the basement of the log cabin, a gift shop makes available for purchase various hand crafts and other items.
The Beaver River Museum also has a specialism in genealogical research. While users of this particular service are advised to contact the Museum in advance of their visit, there are archival resources such as editions of old local newspapers which may contain valuable information for researchers; periodicals stored on microfilm include the Woodville Advocate and the Beaverton Express since 1878. In addition, there are records of births, deaths and marriages in local churches from the 19th century.
The log cabin is adjacent to the Old Town Jail, which was moved from another location in 1995, and serves as part of the museum complex.
Also at Beaverton is a centrally places historical mural, which depicts various, salient deatures of the locality's development. Distinguishable in the mural's features are included the railroad's steam engine (a modern railroad still exists at Beaverton, but is currently a mainly freight service) and a number of the older buildings in the district.
A commemorative plaque indicates that the mural's artist, James Gain, was sponsored by way of a montage of local scenes in honour of Beaverton's 125th anniversary, 1884-2009. For this purpose, the Beaverton Special Events Committee was assisted by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The sponsorship of Ben and Donna Smith of Ben's Pharmacy is also acknowledged.
Also worth seeing
In Beaverton itself, adjacent to the Alexander Muir Park , which is named for the author of The Maple Leaf Forever, are the Library and the former Town Hall on Simcoe Street, both of which are of architectural merit, dating from the early 20th century. On Lake Simcoe, Beaverton Harbour is in a picturesque location.
Orillia (distance: 38.5 kilometres) is picturesquely located on Lakes Simcoe and Couchicing. Orillia has some structures of note, including the Samuel de Champlain monument by Vernon March (who also designed Canada's National War Memorial in Ottawa), commemorating the 17th century explorer, a visitor to the area. In addition, Orillia is distinguished by its Stephen Leacock Museum , a National Historic Site.
Leaskdale (distance: 29.1 kilometres), the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Here, many of the author's books were written; the Leaskdale Manse Museum is situated at her former residence.
How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. (Distance from Toronto Pearson Airport to Beaverton: approx. 120.3 kilometres). Beaverton is also served by a GO Bus route. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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