Where it began

Barn Quilts started in Ohio. The book “Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement” tells the whole story.  Donna Sue Groves loved quilts and she loved barns.  When she and her Mother moved to Adams County, Ohio, she got the idea of brightening up the plain tobacco barn on their property.  A few years later her creative idea turned into an economic development and tourism project implemented in 2001.

Canada would like to take this opportunity to thank Donna Sue Groves for her vision in starting the barn quilt trail movement in North America.

Temiskaming Ontario 2007

In 2007, Bev Maille, Marg Villneff, and Eleanor Katana in Temiskaming, Ontario were inspired by a barn quilt article in Country Woman magazine.  They spearheaded a barn quilt project as part of the International Plowing Match planned for Earlton in 2009 and painted 200 quilt squares.  From north of Englehart to Latchford and from Belle Vallee to Elk Lake, barn quilts were installed on barns and historic landmarks in time for the International Plowing Match 2009.

Wardsville Ontario 2009

Denise Corneil’s mother, Eileen, returned from a trip to the U.S. with a barn quilt brochure.  Denise was looking for a special idea for the village of Wardsville’s 2010 Bicentennial.  She had been working with the village of 300 people on a revitalization project.  Everyone was intrigued by the barn quilt idea and the project started with stitching a story quilt commemorating Wardsville’s founders, Mr. and Mrs. George Ward, local characters who played a role in the War of 1812.  Each of the 30 blocks was painted by a large team of volunteers and installed in and around the village.

Middlesex, Elgin, Oxford, Norfolk, Brant Counties 2011

In 2011-2012, the Sand Plains Community Development Fund invested in trails across these five counties in south central Ontario.    This regional project was initiated by E.O.N., an association of representatives from heritage and cultural sites who share a common interest in preserving and promoting heritage and culture in southwestern Ontario.

E.O.N. members created more than 100 barn quilts. In Middlesex, Brant and Norfolk Counties, the trails celebrate key events related to the War of 1812. In Elgin County, the trail follows the historic Talbot Trail. Oxford County barn quilts tell the stories of settlement, community building and rural life.

Mary Gladwin, one of the organizers said, “It was such an amazing project that E.O.N. members decided to continue promoting barn quilts and encourage other cultural-heritage organizations to get involved in the Ontario Barn Quilt Trails movement.”

The Sand Plains Community Development Fund is administered by the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations. The fund targeted community-based initiatives that support regional development, attract and retain people and investment, and stimulate business development and job creation.   For more information on the Sand Plains Community Development Fund:  http://www.sandplains.ca/cesupport.asp

Ontario Barn Quilt Trails 2013

Tourism Middlesex supported Creative Communities and Jonah & Associates to form a collaborative partnership that was funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation in 2013 to promote barn quilt trails throughout Ontario as a way to tell community stories.

Also known as the Barn Quilt Ladies, Denise Corneil and Mary Simpson unwaveringly supported the Barn Quilt Movement, following in the foot steps of Donna Sue Groves, Suzi Parron and other barn quilt promoters.

Jonah & Associates and their Media Lab for community based publishing, LocalintheKnow Publishing built this website and map.  They see barn quilts as a great way to communicate with the travelling public.

E.O.N. is an incorporated Association of Curators and Directors of Art Galleries, Museums, Historical Societies, and Archives that helped spread barn quilts across Ontario. Mary Gladwin is a past president, archivist and artist who never stops promoting barn quilts as a means of preserving and promoting heritage and culture.

Melissa Schenk and her team are passionate about the power of video to help businesses evolve to the next generation of online video & social media marketing. MS2 Productions  showed us how to reach out to communities to help them access videos on how to “Get on the Barn Quilt Trail”.