Patchwork of our past

London Free Press

 

WAR OF 1812 BICENTENNIAL: Barn Quilt Trail, created along Longwoods Rd., between Delaware and Thamesville, tells the colourful and violent story about the War of 1812, often from a woman’s point of view.

Last Updated: July 15, 2012 7:53pm

 

Denise Corneil, War of 1812 quilts along Longwoods Road and Gideon Drive. (ALEX WEBER/The London Free Press)
Denise Corneil, War of 1812 quilts along Longwoods Road and Gideon Drive. (ALEX WEBER/The London Free Press)

Today, Longwoods Rd. is a country highway that twists and turns along the Thames River, speckled by small Southwestern Ontario communities, farmland and forest.

But 200 years ago, this scenic drive looked very different.

It was a battleground for British and American soldiers.

To mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812, communities along Longwoods Rd. have banded together to create the Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail.

On barns, posts, and other buildings on the 60-kilometre stretch of road between Delaware and Thamesville, you’ll see giant quilting blocks.

Each tells a story about the war, often from a woman’s perspective – a voice often overlooked in history books, says Denise Corneil, the project’s creative director.

She hopes the trail will help Southwestern Ontarians learn about their past and discover the beauty of rural Ontario.

“The history is there, but it’s eroded. We’re not like the Americans. We don’t preserve our history as well,” Corneil said. “Our rural landscape is changing . . . This project has helped glue communities together.”

The Longwoods route is a link in a larger network of bicentennial barn quilt tours taking place in five counties across Ontario.

Visit www.barnquilttrails.ca for tour maps for all five counties, or www.obqt.wordpress.com, home of the Wardsville and Longwoods barn quilt tours, to print route maps and guides.

Tech-savvy tourists can also download a War of 1812 app, which gives the story behind each quilt in text and audio form, plus a map and guide to local hot spots on tour routes.

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