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Early Barns of Central & Eastern Ontario

© J. Phillips

Jenny Phillips is the Ontario Barn Preservation’s Regional Representative for Elgin, Middlesex, Chatham-Kent and Lambton Counties. She is also an author/historian and an artist who paints and sketches rural landscapes and images. Recently she received a call from a local Thrift Shop. A shoe box of old photos was donated but didn’t meet the requirements to be put up for sale. It was destined for the land fill. One of the volunteers thought someone would enjoy these pictures from the 1970’s and ‘80’s taken in Central and Eastern Ontario. The shop assistant read an article about Jenny’s sketches of old barns.

Days later a phone call resulted in the delivery of the shoebox to Jenny’s gallery in Dutton. As well as the 200 plus photos there was information about an artist and her art teacher. They both loved old barns and rustic rural scenery in Eastern and Central Ontario.

In the early days settlers in Upper Canada had to fell trees to build their own cabins and out-buildings. Many were crude log shelters that were used in the first year or two as a family home with an attached lean-to for the ox or a work horse. Piggeries were smelly crude structures set well away from the cabin. Chickens wandered in and out of the family abode. In winter and early spring, many young lambs and calves were brought in to the warmth of the cabin to be fed and sheltered.

Sadly, Jenny has no info on the location of these barns or if they are still standing. They were taken in Central/Eastern Ontario where the two artists loved to paint. It’s very rare these days to see any log barns or cabins unless moved, restored and located in a pioneer village.

Here are some of the earliest photos from the shoebox:

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