In a number of communities, local schools have organized tours of homes in the neighbourhood as fundraisers for school infrastructure or activities. I went on one such tour recently that was centered around decorating homes for the holidays, however, it also provides an opportunity to explore both old and new homes in some small towns on the east side of London, Ontario. To help you navigate the route, there was a map on the back of the ticket.
The cost was $25 per ticket and it provided you entrance to four homes in and around Thorndale, including two farm houses, a spa and a respite stop at Thorndale library before making the trek to Dorchester for the last house. The homes were all decorated for the holidays with the help of local businesses. Proceeds from the tour went to playground equipment for a local school – the plans for which were on display in the home in Dorchester. Also, school children were selling baked goods at the library as a fundraiser for a trip they have planned.
You could purchase tickets ahead of time at local businesses or at any of the homes on the tour on the day. The homes were open between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm which gives you plenty of time to visit all the stops. It was a nice way to spend a Sunday in early December. My sister and I went on the tour and had time to break for lunch at the Katana Grill (see separate review) on our way down to Dorchester for the last home on the tour.
Even if this tour is not available in future years, it is always a good idea to check out what is happening wherever you are travelling as these types of tours happen at different times of the year and are a good way of tapping into some local culture and history. Often the home owners are present along with volunteers to answer questions about the construction and history of the homes. The tour also introduced me to some new in London that I had not yet discovered.
As you are going in and out of people’s homes in the winter, they provide you with a bag to carry your shoes/boots around. Also be aware that there are usually stairs to navigate as most people do not live in bungalows.