Join Us

After a three year Covid19 interruption, the Rotary Holiday House Tour is back. This year historic Normandale and Port Ryerse are featured in Norfolk County. 
Join us for our 17th Annual Rotary Holiday House Tour. The Rotary Club of Simcoe presents a collection of early Canadian buildings that contrast with one dwelling of recent construction. Six homes are located in the Normandale and Port Ryerse areas of beautiful Norfolk County, Ontario's Garden. 
All homes will be decorated for the holiday season with the owners laying out the welcome mat for your viewing pleasure.

The History of Normandale

Joseph Van Norman came to this area in 1821 and along with three partners purchased the failed Long Point Furnace originally established in 1816. By 1828, the furnace was in full blast with Van Norman having bought out his partners. With an abundance of bog ore in the marshes of the Long Point Settlement, the power source of Potter’s Creek and plenty of timber for fuel, the foundry flourished. Manufacturing cooking stoves, iron kettles, pots and pans as well as some farming equipment, the company became one of Upper Canada’s first industries with an estimated four hundred people living and working in the community. By 1847 however, the timber and bog resources had dried up and in 1853 the furnace was shut down.

Port Ryerse's History

In 1794, Captain Samuel Ryerse was granted a land tract overlooking what was to become a thriving commercial port well into the nineteenth century. The natural harbour and expansion of a wharf gave rise to the movement of lumber, bog iron, wheat and many other sundries that helped fuel the expansion of Upper Canada and the United States to the south. It all came to an end in 1871 when an application for a railway link was turned down and was awarded to nearby Port Dover.

The Tour


1154 Highway 24 (1)

Welcome to Patty and Mark Whitmore's Home.
Originally deeded in 1802, Mark and Patty bought this 183-acre farm in 2007. Patty designed the house and with the help of Sam Bunting and Prominent Homes, their house was completed in 2011. Today the farm grows hops and hay. As well, the family has restored 135 acres of Carolinian Forest. Patty grew up on a tobacco farm near LaSalette and Mark is one of the owners of Dennis' Horseradish in Delhi.


Union Hotel - 5 Van Norman Street (2)

Among other company buildings in Normandale, the Union Hotel was built during the Zenith of the Normandale Ironworks Foundry - somewhere between 1827 and 1834. Operated as a hotel until 1870, it then became a general store and post office, subsequently a private residence which, over the years, fell into disrepair. In the early 1970's, new owners began bringing the Union Hotel back to life and has been a work in progress ever since. In 2019, the present owners, Mark Budden and Brian Svenningsen, purchased the building and have been renovating, restoring and adding efficiencies to the Union Hotel.

Van Norman - Guiler House  - 2318 Front Road (3)

The Van Norman-Guiler House is a Regency Style Cottage built in 1842 by Joseph Van Norman for his son Romaine as a wedding gift. Romaine Van Norman, who ran Normandale Ironworks, lived in the home until the foundry closed in 1859 and later the Guiler Family for three generations. The current residents, the Zuber's, are the fifth family to live on this heritage property with almost four acres of mature forest, manicured gardens, and with Potter's Creek running through the back. The home and property are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust Conservation Easement and also by Norfolk County.

Normandale Century Inn- 2326 Front Road (4)

This building was constructed in 1875 to serve the community as a General Store and residence. It has passed through several owners since then and is now owned by Fernando and Maria Lacy who operate their very popular authentic Mexican restaurant, "Taco's & Tequila.”


25 King Street (5)

The two-story Georgian house was built in 1836 by Mason Edward Powers Ryerse, the youngest son of Col. Samuel Ryerse, a United Empire Loyalist, who came to Canada in 1774. Built of bricks from the brickyard he owned in the area, the main part of the home is four bricks thick while the lower part has three bricks. Shawn Collett and Kirk Fox purchased the home in 2019 and have lovingly renovated it to the beautiful residence deserving of its rich and fascinating history.

21 Rolph Street (6)

Built in 1877, this solid home has walls four inches thick and a fieldstone foundation. The house backs onto the mill pond and at one time there was a wooden dock and steps twelve to fifteen feet above the present creek level. This gives an idea of the former level of the pond. The dock harboured small wooden boats for use on the pond. During the 1930's, the house was abandoned and known locally as the "haunted house." The roof was caving in and raspberry bushes were growing in the windows. Roy and Aimee Dowdall completed the new addition in 2018.

Idlewyld - 1 Commercial Lane (7)

Idlewyld was originally built as a hotel in 1851. The Cutting Hotel was extensively renovated in 1905 with the carriage house, ball room and wing along Rolph Street removed. The remaining building rented rooms to summer visitors until the 1950's when it was converted into apartments. Subsequent owners have done further renovations. The present owners, Penny Nunn and Kim Loshaw, have proudly brought it up to the beautiful dwelling you see now.

Port Ryerse Memorial Church - 31 King Street (8)

Port Ryerse Memorial Church was established in 1870. Community Founder Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Ryerse 1752-1812, his wife and others, ... including American casualties of the War of 1812 ... are buried behind this Anglican Church. A historic plaque stands on the north side of the church. The church is still in use and has been modified several times over its 150-year history. Over a quarter century ago, a basement was added that doubles as a community centre.


Where To Purchase Tickets, $ 25.00 Each

Maps and Locations

Thank You, 2023 Sponsors

Contact Us

For information and ticket purchasing, click on this link or click on the Contact Us button below. This is a dedicate email just for the holiday house tour.