Truly a chance to step back in time for a glimpse of our pioneer past. The Village has more than a dozen restored or reconstructed buildings to explore. During the summer and special events, pioneer tasks and trades are carried out within the Village. Step inside the grist mill and watch the miller at the grindstone. Today at Backus you can see exhibits and artifacts that bring to life the fascinating story of
history in the Long Point Region Watershed.
The following give a brief description of the facilities available at Backus Heritage Conservation Area. For more information or a copy of the brochure please feel free to contact the Conservation Area at (519) 586-2201 or the LPRCA Administration Office at (519) 842-4242.
1. Conservation Education Centre The region's natural history and waterfowling traditions are introduced to visitors through a series of exhibits in this nature centre. (Opened in April 1991)
3. Ice House The ice house was an important feature in rural life. When the ice reached the desired thickness in the pond, it was cut with an ice saw. Heavy ice tongs were used to remove the ice and carry it into the ice house where it was covered with straw or sawdust to prevent it from melting. The ice was then used throughout the coming months. (Reconstructed in 1978; not open for public viewing)
4. John C. Backhouse Mill The mill was built in 1798 and was owned and operated by the Backus (Backhouse) family until 1955 when the mill and property was purchased by the Big Creek Region Conservation Authority. This original wooden structure was built of hand hewn beams and was one of the few mills to escape destruction during the War of 1812. In 1998, the Mill was recognized by the federal government as a National Historic Site. The Mill is one of four original buildings to the site.
6. Garage This building was used by the Backus family to house a Model T and a Page automobile. This building is one of four original structures on the property. (Renovated 2007)
8. Backus Gravestones These stones were removed from the pioneer cemetery to prevent further deterioration. Only one, John Backhouse's has been recast. The ground is not consecrated ground.
9. Stump Puller This tripod device was used for clearing tree stumps from the fields. It required six men and a team of horses to operate. The massive roots were used on the outer rim of fields as stump fences, helping to keep cattle in, while acting as windbreaks at the same time.
10. Treadmill and Drag Saw The treadmill was used to power small machines on the farm. A team of horses would walk on the ramp, driving the pulley. The pulley was attached to a belt which here runs a drag saw. The one man drag saw was not popular due to the extra friction caused by the additional moving parts. (Drag saw ca. 1900, Treadmill moved to the site in 1970)
12. Cider Press The cider press crushes apples into apple cider and is powered by a tractor and belt hook-up. (Moved to the site in 1977)
13. Forbes Barn This barn was originally used for grain storage. It now houses farm implements from an earlier era including Cockshutt plows and various hay rakes. (ca. 1870, moved to the site in 1974)
14. Driveshed Originally a church driveshed, this shed now displays a number of buggies and
wagons, including the
15. Playhouse This playhouse was built for Hazel Budd Backus, the only daughter of John and Florence Backus. Furniture inside the playhouse consisted of a small table with two chairs. Hazel had a set of miniature Wedgewood dishes to use at "teatime". It is one of four original structures on the site. (ca. late 1920's)
Fronts of the
Aunt Erie's Kitchen: Open during the summer and special events with coffee, cold drinks and candy for sale.
Dedrick Mercantile: The General Store was an important part of the early settler's life. Settlers could barter or trade items for goods or purchase them outright. The General Store sold everything from tools to food and cloth for making clothes. The Postmaster often could be found at the rear of the store.
The Weaving Shop: Stop in and chat with members of the Evelyn Franklin Weavers' Guild and see the many handcrafted items for sale such as rugs, baskets and jewellery, to name a few items.
18. Planing Mill The planer smooths rough boards after they have been sawn.
19. Shingle Mill The shingle mill has two purposes: to cut wood across the grain and to cut wood with the grain.
20. Storage Barn This building is closed the public.
21. Suderman Barn and Blacksmith Shop The barn houses farm equipment and the blacksmith’s forge as well as cutters and sleighs. Inside the blacksmith's shop you will notice the semi-darkness, enabling the blacksmith to determine the glow of the metal being worked upon. The upstairs of this building is not open for public viewing. (Moved to the site in 1979)
22. Corn Crib The corn crib stored ears of corn until they were dry and ready to be shelled or milled as feed. (Moved to the site in 1980)
23. Townsend Barn This barn contains large artifacts storage and not open for public viewing. (ca. 1920, moved to the site in 1977)
24. Farm Implement Driveshed This lean-to is used to house antique farm implements and machinery. (Constructed in 1982)
25. Bake Oven The bake oven was used to bake bread, pies and other baked goods in its hot interior. (Reconstructed in 1995)
26. Log House This log house dates from the 19th century and was originally situated on a one hundred acre lot one mile east of Glen Meyer. It is heated by a wood stove that warms the entire building. (ca. 19th century, moved to the site in 1981)
Log House This log house came from Maybee's