Walking tour of Erchless Estate about the ‘foundations’ of Oakville


Published May 9, 2023 at 11:11 am

The Oakville Museum is offering a family-friendly outdoor walking tour of the the Erchless Estate grounds later this month. Visitors can enter the historic Coach House, which is normally closed to the public, and view the exhibits. Town of Oakville Photos

Toronto may have popular tourist attraction Black Creek Pioneer Village, but Oakville has its own pioneer village and is inviting the public to come take a look.

To celebrate International Museum Day on May 18, the Oakville Museum is offering a family-friendly outdoor walking tour of the Erchless Estate grounds from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Visitors will be able to walk into the historic Coach House—normally closed to the public—and view the exhibits.

Located at the foot of Navy St. overlooking the marina and Lake Ontario, Oakville’s community museum was once home to Oakville’s founding family.

The cultural heritage property is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act as an intact surviving example of an estate developed by a wealthy settler family.

The official opening of the picturesque Shingle Style Oakville Coach House last year marked the completion by +VG Architects (The Ventin Group Ltd.) of the adaptive reuse of the Erchless Estate.

The exterior includes “eclectic features” such as the steeply pitched cross-gable roof and its irregular slopes, eyebrow dormers, bell-cast and bowed projections, shingled cupola, and bay window and mullioned windows.

+VG Architects is a pioneer in adaptive reuse and known for projects such as the renovation of Queen’s Park, Toronto Old City Hall (they put back the gargoyles atop the clock tower) and Niagara Parks Power Station, where Nikolai Tesla and George Westinghouse launched the modern energy grid at commercial scale.

“This tour about the foundations of the town will show that Oakville is about more than just great dining and expensive houses,” says Paul Sapounzi, Managing Principal at +VG Architects.

Located on an elevated natural embankment overlooking Lake Ontario, the historic buildings include the Customs House (1856); the Italianate-style residence (1858), former home of six generations of the town’s founding Chisholm family and restored as the Oakville Museum by +VG in 1991; the Post Office (1835); and the Coach House (1901).

The 1.6 hectares of landscaped grounds include an alpine rock garden that survives as a rare example of this early 20th-century landscape design feature.

There are also walkways on the site link to the waterfront parkland east of Navy Street.

Visitors can participate in spring pollinator activity for all ages. Admission is pay what you can.

Photo courtesy of David Lasker Photography

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