Algonquin Highlands Doors Open

Doors Open To Algonquin Highlands

You’re all invited, locals, cottagers, tourists, open to everyone visiting the area.

The first for the Algonquin Highlands to open its doors to their history and culture of Stanhope, Dorset, Oxtongue Lake and surrounding areas.

With 18 Sites and 4 Trails, the community is hosting free tours of  their churches, fire halls, private homes and signature attractions on the weekend of September 15th and 16th 2012 and we’re invited.

Family Event – experience the heritage of a community.

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Algonquin Highlands

Algonquin Highlands is located on the western side of the Haliburton Highlands, known as a  “natural work of art” – enhanced by 28,000 hectares of lakes, rivers and forests with spectacular landscapes of natural wilderness stretching to the villages of Dorset and Oxtongue Lake.

Arts and heritage are alive and well with museums, galleries and quaint small-town shopping. They are also the home to many of the best water trails and hiking trails in Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Region.

Here you can find countless opportunities to canoe, cycle, camp, fish or just relax and take in the scenery. The area’s geology has left treasure troves of collectible gem and mineral deposits that delight avid explorers. Combine bed and breakfast, resorts, dining, live performances and music, and you’ll discover that Haliburton Highlands is the perfect place to explore!

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Doors Open Places to See and Things to Do

Algonquin Highlands Fire Services Station 60 Dorset

This fire hall and its volunteers have been an integral part of Dorset’s history and culture.

The original hall, with subsequent additions, was built by the volunteer fire fighters. Over the years, the hall has been used for many community events. It has evolved into a well-funded fire hall with some of the most advanced apparatus and equipment available.

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Algonquin Highlands Fire Services Station 80 Stanhope

The original fire hall was built entirely by volunteer fire fighters in the early 1970s. The building also served as the town’s community centre. Several additions have been made over the years and the station now is an example of a vibrant, well funded, community-based volunteer fire station.

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Beetle Lake Trail

This challenging five-kilometer (three-mile) hike takes you through scenic hardwood forests and crosses over Oxbow Creek, along a 100-foot-high (30.5-metre-high) ridge overlooking the beautiful Oxtongue Lake below.

Hikers are encouraged to wear good hiking boots or shoes. Pack some water and lunch for a break at one the outlooks.

Make sure to bring your camera to capture the fall colours.



[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Bigwin Steamboat

The Lake of Bays Marine Museum is mainly focused on displaying items related to the Bigwin boat history and restoration.

But it also profiles work by local artists and offers items for sale to the public.

 The museum is located in the commercial building used by the former navigation company that provided steamship service on Lake of Bays.





[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Blue Spruce Resort

This property was settled in 1879. In 1913, difficult times for farming necessitated accommodating tourists, one of whom bought the property in 1914 as a summer retreat.

In 1954, the Hayden family bought the property, tore down the old farmhouse and rebuilt the resort that exists today.


[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Dorset Heritage Museum

The original building on the property was Dorset’s first Fire Ranger Station. The museum features exhibits about its history.

The building here now was built in the early 1950s and used by the Department of Lands and Forests for many purposes.

After being vacant for a few years, the building became the home of the Dorset Heritage Museum.

See our previous post on Dorset Heritage Museum

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower

Originally a forest-fire lookout, the Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower provides visitors a view from the observation deck over 800 square kilometres (309 square miles).

This historic site has been in use since 1922 and is a beautiful place to have a picnic and walk where the fire rangers of days gone by walked.

Visit the gift shop and information kiosk.





[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Geomorphology Hike, Frost Centre

Take a guided interpretive hike through the forests, hills, valleys and lakeside surroundings of the historic Frost Centre.

Learn how the current landscape was formed by the historical climatic, hydro logic, biologic and geologic processes affecting the Canadian Shield.

This location has the greatest area of exposed Archean rock on earth.


[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Haliburton-Stanhope Municipal Airport

The Haliburton/Stanhope Municipal Airport has evolved from a tiny grass strip in 1967 to its present-day 2,500-foot (762-metre) paved and lighted runway.

This growth has enabled the airport to expand to 24 municipally owned hangars, a terminal building, fuel depot and a storage mechanical facility.

The airport plays host to many annual fly-in events organized by the local community.

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Hawk Lake Log Chute

This log chute is the only one in Ontario and was restored in 2005 by nine men in nine days – without using hydro!

The chute is 220 feet (67 metres) long and constructed of local hemlock.

The last big log drive thundered through the chute in 1947.

 See our previous post on Hawk Lake Log Chute

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Knox United Church

Pioneers built this church in 1894 on land that Angus Mackay and Francis Harvie donated.

Poor immigrants from Britain who came to Canada in the early 1900s could not afford separate churches, so the Methodists, Congregationalists and some Presbyterians joined together and founded the United Church of Canada in 1925.

The Knox Presbyterian Church in Dorset became Knox United Church.





[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Last House

Originally a two-storey log building built in 1879, this rustic camp was the last house travellers saw on the way up the Oxtongue River to Algonquin Park.

It may have served as an inn at that time.

Now, it is used as a home base for many outdoor activities.

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Log Chute Trail

This easy-to-moderate 500-metre (1,640-foot) trail leads to a spectacular lookout view of the historic Hawk Lake Dam Log Chute.

 The trail includes an interpretive pavilion on the Kennisis River.

View wild flowers and birds along the river.

Enjoy a picnic at a roadside parkette. Wear good hiking shoes.

Don’t forget your camera because the fall colours will be starting.

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Maple Lake United Church

On December 1, 1900, Maple Lake and Pine Lake congregations held a meeting at the home of Dur Lindemille to consider building Maple Lake Church at Clark’s Corners. The Rev. Polley presided.

With a $250 budget and the help of willing volunteers, Maple Lake Church was completed in 1901.

Join in and celebrate there 110th anniversary!


[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Oxtongue Lake Community Centre

This building opened as a public school in September 1949, with 32 students.

Enrolment increased to over 50 students in the early 1960s, and the basement was finished for a second classroom.

The school closed in June 1966 due to falling enrolment.

In October the same year, it was reopened as the Oxtongue Lake Community Centre.

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Ragged Falls Oxtongue River Trail

The Ragged Falls Oxtongue River Trail may only be one kilometer long (3,280 feet), but it offers great views of the spectacular falls.

There are nine distinct forest communities in the park.

Its proximity to Algonquin Provincial Park makes this protected waterway almost an Algonquin appendage, but it remains a park in its own right.

Hiking boots/shoes are recommended.





[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

St. Peter’s Anglican Church

Situated on the west shore of beautiful Maple Lake, St. Peter’s Church is often referred to as “the Old Church.”

It was established in 1887, but the present building was built in 1905 by the master mason J.H. Billings, who lived in the area during the early 1900s.


[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

St. Stephen’s Heritage Church

Built in 1905, St. Stephen’s became the new home to services and Sunday school, which until then had been held in the Boskung School House.

 Stanhope pioneer Thomas Godwin donated the land for the church, which several original pioneers built.

The Diocese of Toronto closed St. Stephen’s in 1991, but it remains a fixture in the Stanhope community.


[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Stanhope Museum

Housed in the original council building (from c.1910), this museum is home to stories and artifacts about colonization, life on the land, logging and community, as well as rotating exhibits on interesting folks and facts.



 Previous post on Stanhope Museum

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Stouffer Mill Bed & Breakfast

This architecturally unique, 12-sided, post-and-beam home on 136 acres (55 hectares) overlooking Halls Lake was designed and built by Elgin Stouffer in 1973.

Here, he operated a sawmill, as his ancestors did in 1817 in Stouffville (formerly Stoufferville), Ontario.

The property is now a charming bed and breakfast.


[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Towerman’s Cabin, Frost Centre

The Towerman’s Cabin and fire tower are historical treasures that still stand today at the Frost Centre on Lake St. Nora.

The fire tower system was at its peak in the 1940s, when more than 320 steel towers were linked by radio or telephone to a local chief ranger’s station for observing and reporting forest fires.




[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

Welch’s Store (The Art Hive)

The Art Hive is an artists’ cooperative representing Haliburton County artists and fine craftspeople. The Art Hive is located in what once was Welch’s General Store, a historic general store that was the focal point of Maple Lake – a community that has all but disappeared.



[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

ADMISSION IS FREE so come on out and enjoy two days of site seeing

For more and updated information see Doors Open Algonquin Highlands

For accommodations for the weekend you can book with us at our small country resort or give the Haliburton Highlands Visitor Centre a call, they can provide you with a list of places to stay.

705-286-1777 or 1-800-461-7677


Information Sources

  • Township of Algonquin Highlands Website
  • Doors Open Ontario Website
  • Haliburton Highlands Visitor Centre


About The Author


Country life was always a factor when we looked for a place to live, so back in 2002 Heather and I quit our city jobs and purchased a small Country Resort on Halls Lake in the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario Canada. We live on the resort grounds and enjoying helping people with their all season vacation and Family Reunion planning. Our Blog supports resort guests and visitors to the area by letting them know all the things happening in the Haliburton Highlands in order to get the most out of their vacation or weekend getaway. We'll be happy to help you find what your looking for in the Haliburton Highlands. May it be things to do, places to eat, family activities, sites to see, cottages for rent or sale, almost anything to do with the Haliburton Highlands.


  • Nice post. I found it much interesting. We are planning for a vacation trip to Algonquin park. Thanks a lot for posting all these details. It really assist our trip plan.

  • andrewdpapas

    Reply Reply October 17, 2013

    This article is surely going to help those who wish to visit Algonquin Provincial park. We visited the park last year and stayed for few days in Algonquin park accommodation which was situated inside the park itself. The whole stay was quite memorable as we could spend hours engaging in adventure activities and watching wild animals.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field