Barriefield Festival to Celebrate 200 Year Anniversary

Published on: 2014/05/22 - in Featured Releases

Barriefield Village is marking its 200th anniversary with a day-long Heritage Festival on Saturday June 7th, 2014.

Among the many highlights of the Festival will be demonstrations of heritage crafts and trades, such as boatbuilding, woodworking, blacksmithing and spinning; horse-drawn wagon rides; walking tours; heritage children’s games; live ‘old time’ music and a Victorian Tea.

Events will take place in the open field in Barriefield at Highway 15 and Wellington Street, and at St. Mark’s Church and Hall, from 10am-4pm. Admission is free and all are welcome. June 7th also marks the grand re-opening of the Frontenac County Schools Museum, which plans a Barriefield-themed exhibition. June 8th is also a special day, marking 170 years since the first service at St. Mark’s Church.

Barriefield’s 200-year history is also being commemorated in a film specially commissioned for the occasion, produced by David McCallum, and which will be shown throughout the day. The premiere of the film will take place at 5pm on June 5th at the Screening Room Cinema.

Barriefield Village is nestled on the eastern edge of Kingston, bordered by highways and the Cataraqui River, in the hub of the UNESCO designated heritage site of Fort Henry and the Rideau Canal. Approaching Kingston on Highway 15, past subdivisions and strip malls, the first view of this gem of historic preservation is the village’s charming stone church which looms on the horizon, beckoning entry into this extraordinary place.

In 1814, while the War of 1812 still raged, the village of Barriefield was established by the Hon. Richard Cartwright on part of his property near the Royal Naval Shipyards (now Royal Military College). The village was soon occupied by officers, tradesmen, and labourers working at the nearby Dockyard, and, later, on the construction of Fort Henry and the Rideau Canal.

By 1820 the growing settlement was named Barriefield in honour of Commodore Robert Barrie, Commissioner of the dockyard. The townsite was a grid of three north/south and three east/west streets, all named after War of 1812 military leaders – the grid plan that still exists today.

Barriefield is a unique example of a rural, early nineteenth-century village. As well as the church and its green, the village boasts significant cultural heritage landscapes buffering the narrow streets and alleys. The village has a large complement of historic houses, most made of wood and stone, a couple of brick, all sympathetically restored (many winning heritage prizes). Barriefield’s beautiful Township Hall (later a public library, and now the Frontenac County Schools Museum) housed the administrative centre of Pittsburgh Township.

Barriefield declined economically in the 20th century, with the result that it retained many of its original buildings and streetscapes. Its collection of early buildings, well defined boundaries and heritage value to the community led the Township of Pittsburgh, in 1980, to secure the provincial designation of Barriefield as the first Heritage Conservation District in Ontario. Today, you’ll find tourists and locals visiting the village, marveling at this well-kept bit of history in the New World.

The Festival is being organized by the Barriefield Village Association, a residents’ group whose mandate is to conserve and protect the heritage of the village. Barriefielders are looking forward to sharing the heritage value of Barriefield Village with the entire Kingston community.

Come and celebrate this jewel of Kingston’s heritage on the 7th of June! Details and a schedule of events will be available at . 

Image: Kingston in the distance as seen from Barriefield across Green Bay in 1882 (large).
More historic photos at and “Barriefield’s Cultural Heritage Landscapes” (pdf)

Release source: Barriefield Village Association