Rediscover Grey County's Barn Quilt Trail

Who doesn’t love driving the beautiful backroads of Grey County during the fall (or any season for that matter)? Have you ever noticed the beautiful artwork on the side of barns and other rural buildings on your drive? This is more than likely the work of a project called ‘For the Love of Grey Barn Quilt Trail.'

This fascinating trail tells stories of local history, tourism, agriculture, family traditions and heritage. These series of giant, painted quilt blocks on barns and buildings are designed with the landowner and while each one is unique, they are all created with beautiful, bold colours and are eye catching from the road.  Right now is the perfect time, as the weather gets cooler and wetter, to head out on a road trip for the day. You can even make it a scavenger hunt if you wish! This can be a fun activity with the family to head out on a search and find trek, or even just spot them on your way to or from other destinations.

You can browse the map, and read about the history and personal story behind each barn quilt on their website. Here are few to get you started on your adventure:

Parkin's Twisted Star

Parkin's Twisted Star

Location: 457903 Grey Road 11, just east of Owen Sound 

Gordon & Fern (McKibbon) Parkin purchased the farm in 1952.  It began as a mixed farm and soon became a dairy farm, raising purebred Holsteins.  They raised two children there, Larry & Marlene, and in 1974, Larry formally joined the operation.  In 1975, Larry married Heather Franklin, and Gordon & Fern built a new home on the corner of the farm.  Larry & Heather raised two children, Amanda & Brad, whom were quite involved in the operation, as well participating in 4-H.  In 2012, the farm moved away from dairy, and into cash cropping.  Fern was an avid quilter, with a quilt frame set up on a regular basis.  Heather is a quilter as well, so it was a natural fit to add a barn quilt to their farm.  Larry`s father, Gordon was a wonderful steward of the land, paying great attention to growing the crops in an ecologically friendly manner.  A lot of thought went into the design of the barn quilt, as Larry & Heather both wanted something bright, but also something that reflected the new direction of the farm.  They settled on the brightly coloured star pattern, adding the cob of corn, to signify one of their main crops.


Grand Adventure

Grand Adventure

Location: 076438 11th Line, Markdale

​This colourful 32 point compass spoke to Hiliary Breadner and her family, as soon as they saw it. Being a graphic designer herself, she loves colour, patterns and design, and the idea of a compass was intriguing. Her family has been farming her parent's farm for many years, and she is the 7th generation to help farm that piece of land. She has always had a sense that she needed to uphold the family tradition and continue to farm in one way or another, preferably on the land that her family settled after coming over from Ireland. She believes that the lessons and traditions engrained in her from her parents and grandparents passion for life and farming have been guiding her, like a compass to the future. Both life and farming have come to be quite the adventure, full of challenges to overcome, and problems to fix. On the other hand though, both are also full of love, laughter and cherished memories that will forever be remembered. Cheers to the grand adventure! 


The Greb Family Tree

Greb Family Tree

Location: 126158 Muir Street, Meaford

This orchard is on the outskirts of Meaford and adjacent to the Bighead River.  John & Nellie Gerb bought the property in 2005 and built their home in 2010.  The orchard has been in operation for almost a century and has changed hands several times.  They feel they owe great thanks to those that owned it before them for letting them share their dream.  This quilt is very symbolic.  The 10 apples on the tree represent their immediate family members including themselves, their two sons, their wives and their four grandchildren.  The four apples in the bucket are in memory of their parents who have passed. They treasure the friendship of family and friends, so it seemed appropriate to border the quilt with friendship stars. 


Crossed Kayaks

Crossed Kayaks

Location: 131 Alfred Street, Thornbury

This block is known by several names, most notably “TippeCanoe”, “Crossed Canoes”, or “Crossed Kayaks”. Other names include “Dragonfly” and “Twinkling Star”. It took a while for Barbara and Chuck to decide on a quilt block that would represent their life story. They are both outdoor enthusiasts and have been canoe tripping since our younger days at camp. Living on the shores of Georgian Bay, they have migrated to kayaking where the swells can get quite high in short order. The colours reflect the many shades of blue that they see on their travels through many lakes, rivers and Lake Huron/Georgian Bay. Water is life and a precious resource to be treasured. The green represents the forests and plant life that produce the oxygen we need to breath and the food we eat. And the yellow is that of the sun that nurtures all life on our planet with its glowing rays. Barbara came by her love of quilts as a child while watching her Grandmother, Freda Wilkinson, from Rocklyn, stitching and sewing her quilts. A sixth generation resident of Grey and Bruce Counties, Barbara returned to retire in Thornbury where she followed the family tradition of quilting. Barb and Chuck treasure the quilts she has from her ancestors and Barbara continues to quilt herself, exploring the many facets of fabric arts in between canoe and kayak adventures.

This impressive initiative has been put together by a small group of women from the Rocklyn Agricultural Society, with the original idea to help celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Fall Fair in 2017. It has grown quite a bit since then and now covers many corners of the county. They have many volunteers that continue to design and create the quilt patterns to be painted.   

They are always looking for hosts that have barns, implement sheds, or other building types or gardens/fields for a Barn Quilt to be put on posts. These buildings (or posts) must be visible from the road and maintained for 5 years.  You can get in touch with them by emailing or calling 519-374-9215. 

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