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Experience Rural Canadian History at Vaughan Doors Open


Black Creek Pioneer Village will open the Schmidt Dalziel barn to the public as part of Vaughan Doors Open on Sept. 26 and 27. Built in 1809, and celebrating its bicentennial this year, the Schmidt Dalziel Barn is the oldest and largest, barn in Ontario, (and one of the oldest in North America). A magnificent example of the architectural styles brought to the region by Pennsylvania German settlers, the barn is one of Canada's rare and unique architectural buildings. The barn has been closed to the public since 1984, and has been undergoing careful restoration for the past few years. This work-in-progress will be open for the first time in 25 years. 

Built entirely by hand, the barn is a testament to the engineering know-how of the early settlers in the area. "You can still see the tool marks on many of the timbers," said architectural historian George Duncan, Senior Heritage Planner for the Town of Markham. "The age, the beautiful architectural style and the superb craftsmanship are all reasons why the Schmidt Dalziel Barn has a significance that goes well beyond Toronto."

It is indeed rare to see beams that are 38 feet long and 20 inches square. Given its size, (8,200 square feet), the construction of the barn is a remarkable feat, particularly as it was built without the use of modern machinery and equipment. 

The Schmidt Dalziel barn (pronounced "dee-ELL") was built by Johannes Schmidt in 1809 and sold to John Dalziel, an immigrant from Scotland, in 1828. It remained an integral part of a working farm until 1954, when it was purchased by the Humber Valley Conservation Authority. It was then converted into Canada's first agricultural museum. The Barn and surrounding lands were called Dalziel Pioneer Park, which later became a part of Black Creek Pioneer Village. 

Restoration and research on the barn has been under way for several years. "The research project brought back several former staff who had worked there when it was a museum in the 1950s," explained Jim Hunter, Registrar at Black Creek Pioneer Village. "These staff members are now in their seventies and eighties. It was wonderful to hear first-hand accounts of the barn's history and function in the 1950s and '60s." 

"This is a rare chance to see one of Ontario's early architectural gems," says Marty Brent, General Manager at Black Creek Pioneer Village. "The barn will be open periodically so that people can watch our progress with repairs. Our goal is to have it open to the public on a regular basis, once all the restoration work has been completed."

The Schmidt Dalziel Barn will be open to visitors on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27, 2009, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The barn is located on property very close to Black Pioneer Village. Access is available exclusively via free shuttle buses that will depart from the Black Creek Pioneer Village parking lot regularly throughout the day beginning at 10 a.m. The last bus leaves the parking lot for the Barn at 3:00 p.m.

Black Creek Pioneer Village will be open this weekend between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Admission to the rest of the Village is $15 for adults, $14 for students and seniors, $11 for children (age 5-15).

Black Creek Pioneer Village parking lot is located at 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto (one block east of Jane St., south of Steeles Avenue, right next to York University). For more information visit, or call 416 736-1733.

For information about the Schmidt Dalziel Barn, visit


Media contact:
Eric Philpott
philpott | communications
(905) 773-6651

About Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek Pioneer Village is Toronto's premier outdoor living history museum. Visitors can explore 40 heritage homes, shops and buildings restored to re-create an 1860s Ontario village. Historic interpreters in period dress demonstrate how villagers lived, worked and played. The Village hosts learning programs and special events that highlight local heritage and culture. The tranquil setting, rural landscapes, heritage gardens and period farm animal breeds make Black Creek Pioneer Village the perfect place to break out of the modern world and journey into the past. Located in north Toronto, Black Creek Pioneer Village is owned and operated by Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). For more information please visit