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A community project in Dawn-Euphemia will soon have quilts popping up to highlight the rich history and changing landscape of the region.

The Barn Quilt Trail is launching its first phase in Dawn-Euphemia, with two more phases planned for following years. It will be the first of its kind in Lambton County, but you can find others across rural Ontario, including Elgin County, part of Chatham-Kent and Huron County. In North America, there are over 7,000 barn quilts that are part of the barn quilt trails across Canada and the United States.

The unique initiative is driven by the Rotary Club of Dresden, the Catherine McVean Chapter of the IODE in Dresden, and volunteers from Dawn-Euphemia.

Students from Dawn-Euphemia Public School are also learning about the Barn Quilt Trail’s history. They are being given the chance to explore design and story-telling through their own creations, which will be displayed during Education Week in May.

Barn quilts are currently being crafted and are to be displayed on properties located along the former Highway 21/Lambton Line as well as Irish School Road. Volunteer Joy Badder said the quilts will also be installed in the Dresden area.

The quilts are typically eight-foot squares, but some area larger. The pieces are painted replicas of fabric quilts, meant to draw attention to historical places, to create a themed route throughout the township and in turn, put Dawn-Euphemia on the map.

Badder said the colourful pieces are mounted onto historic buildings or barns, or in rare occasions, stand on their own. Those passing by in their vehicles can take a glimpse at the works that tell different stories; some of these tales told through quilt patterns are directly related to the farmers on whose property the quilt is located.

Badder said the movement began for Dawn-Euphemia when volunteers wanted to come together to celebrate their community. They wanted to show off the township’s past and its present.

“The whole purpose of the quilt trail is to share the history and celebrate the traditions of Dawn-Euphemia,” she said.

Throughout working on the project, Badder said local residents have uncovered pieces of history they never knew existed, something she said enhances community spirit.

In its later phases, the quilts are expected to be installed on properties on Bentpath Line and further down Lambton Line.

by Melissa Schilz