A healthy serving of Christmas spirit arrives early in Vankleek Hill each year when the Vankleek Hill Christmas Home Tour rolls around in early November.
The event usually takes place on the first Saturday of the month but exceptionally this year, the event takes place on the second Saturday of the month — on November 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We did this for our decorators as delivery of Christmas trees and greenery on November 1 was simply too late for them to have everything ready for the photo shoot on the same day,” said Louise Sproule, who coordinates the event with the help of community volunteers.
Tree and greenery delivery will take place on November 1 and that gives decorators one week to complete homes’ exteriors and interiors to perfection, she said.
This year’s tour again puts the spotlight on six heritage homes; there are three in the village of Vankleek Hill and three homes will lead visitors into the surrounding countryside, said Sproule.
“The heritage of the homes and the small-town welcome are a big part of what make this event so popular,” says Sproule.
“During the weeks leading up to the tour, local people talk about their personal connections to particular homes on the tour. Maybe they are related to the original owners or the current owners or they used to work on the farm or babysat there decades ago. One volunteer is working in a historic home that used to be a dentist’s home and office. She joked that she didn’t have fond memories of that home! We often take heritage for granted, but these are one-of-a-kind homes and the tour is a special opportunity to be inspired for decorating your own home, and to uncover community connections,” said Sproule.
“But I think the heart of this event is people’s attachment to their homes and how much they care about where they live. It is almost as if these homes each have a character of their own. And everyone appreciates so very much that homeowners are willing to share these special spaces with us,” Sproule emphasized.
This year’s decorators are Jade Garden, Auld Kirktown, artist/designer Jill Crosby coordinating a local team for a large home, homeowner Carol Morrison, Grace Clermont and Flourish & Knot.
The Food: Enjoy church luncheons, high tea or discover the many places to eat right in town — delicious things are on the menu for this year’s event!
Attractions include: angels and miniature villages on display at Église St-Grégoire, a quilt show at Knox Church, specialty vendors, an art show at Arbor Gallery, a Christmas photo shoot and treats at Jan Amell Photography, paintings and drawings by Susan Jephcott at Three Owls Studio & Gallery, costumed choral singers from Argenteuil’s troupe called Les Productions Coup d’Choeur — taste-tours at Beau’s All-Natural Brewing Company and at Vankleek Hill’s Sarah Cole Cider! Plus: the new owners of Vankleek Hill Vineyard will be welcoming visitors to their winery/gift shop as well as opening their home to visitors as it it one of the featured homes on this year’s tour.
Shuttle buses will take visitors from house to house in town and to other locations where special events are happening.
This event is organized by The Review, sharing proceeds with seven community organizations, which provide some of the 100 volunteers needed for this event.
To find out where to purchase $22 advance tickets (you can purchase tickets online), to view the houses, luncheon information and more, visit: http://www.vankleekhill.ca/HomeTour.