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Preserving Ontario’s barns

Preserving Ontario’s barns

Ontario Barn Preservation wants to keep as many vintage barns standing as possible

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

An Ontario non-profit’s mandate is to preserve historic barns in rural communities.

Jon Radojkovic, a timber-frame barn builder from Sullivan Township near Chesley, and Krista Hulshof, an architect near Stratford who specializes in repurposing old barns, started Ontario Barn Preservation in March 2019.

“I connected with Jon and the two of us were aware of some American organizations like ours, and we wanted to start one,” Hulshof, who serves as the organization’s vice-president, told

Radojkovic is the organization’s president.

Keeping these old barns upright is important because they’re looking glasses into history, said Hulshof.

“These are our heritage buildings in the rural landscape,” she said. “They’ve been called the cathedrals of the fields. The craftsmanship is beautiful. They might all look the same from the outside but, on the inside, they tell stories of the farmers who built them.”

Modern barns can be erected fairly quickly using today’s tools and technology.

But a closer look at an old barn identifies the hard work that went into building the structure at the time, Hulshof said.

“You see these barns with a beam that’s 60-feet (18-metres) long, and you realize that beam was once a tree. Someone, not some machine, chopped it down, trimmed it to a square and used it to support a barn.”

The organization is in the early stages of putting together a directory of barns.

The more barns that can be explored and added to the directory, the more information the organization can collect, Hulshof said.

“We can study the types of settlers and the types of construction. We can study how different communities settled in different areas and why some barns are built in certain ways,” she said.

People who have barns on their properties who want to be part of the directory can upload photos and information about the barn directly to Ontario Barn Preservation’s website or contact the organization on its Facebook page.

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Comments (5)

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We too are looking for help to repair our barn for the past three years. People respond, sometimes even visit our barn but nobody ends up following through. We even have our own wood boards already seasoned and ready to install. Is anyone out there willing to repair a barn? Ridgeway Ontario.
Carol |Feb 2 2022 12:51PM
I have a family wood barn that's a century old I'd like to keep. Just don't have the money. Me and the family are starting to fix the house to move there. When It goes down I'll use the wood to build other projects and through a roof over the stone for a one level barn
Curtis |Jan 5 2022 5:20PM
I want to restore my barn in Melancthon Ont, and I was wondering if there are any grants available.The age of the barn is unknown, but for sure over 50 yrs old.
Nandanie |Jul 27 2020 9:24AM
Hi, I have an old (1893) barn that needs some tlc. Are there grants or help out there that I can access? The boards are original but need replacing. thanks Charles Waterdown area
Charles |Jul 23 2020 3:12PM
I own the barn that was owned by Samuel Bass. He was the hero in 12 years a slave. The barn is still salvageable and was wondering if there are grants available to save it. Earl Byers
Earl byers |Apr 18 2020 5:36PM