Heritage & Culture

Haldimand Museums offer a unique and tangible connection between the past and the present through the interpretation of material, heritage & culture, stories and lives of real people who once lived in our community. Together, the Museums provide a variety of opportunities and experiences that enrich the lives of our citizens.

Early patterns of settlement in Haldimand County are still visible in the landscape and architecture, spanning from the pre-Contact era to the proclamation of the Haldimand Land Grant for the Six Nations and the subsequent migration of Loyalist settlers – Americans, largely of German descent and Mennonite tradition. Throughout the 1800’s, an influx of immigration from the British Isles contributed significantly to the area’s development, as did the small but industrious Black community of the late 19th Century – many descended from ex-slaves of the American South.

Since the post-war years of the 20th Century, a significant stream of immigration from the Netherlands has also added to our ever-expanding mosaic of cultural identity, as have the age-old traditions of our Indigenous neighbours – the Six Nations and New Credit communities.

This mosaic has inspired a rich and matchless inventory of significant objects, experiences, sites, structures, features, activities, memories, traditions, creations, relationships, performances and celebrations that help to identify today’s Haldimand County.

You’ll find a wealth of historical artifacts to explore at Museums located in the communities of Caledonia, Cayuga and Selkirk.

Edinburgh Square

Edinburgh Square Heritage & Cultural Centre
80 Caithness Street E.
Box 2056
Caledonia, Ontario
Canada, N3W 2G6

Phone: (905) 765-3134
Email: esquare.museum@haldimandcounty.on.ca

Location on Google Maps

Hours of Operation:

Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (year-round)

Saturday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Victoria Day to Labour Day)

Sunday & Statuatory Holidays: Closed

The Edinburgh Square Heritage and Cultural Centre represents a cornerstone of history in Haldimand County and is an active reference archive and educational centre to this day. More than 150 years old, it houses a former jail cell and a display paying homage to the gypsum mining industry along Grand River.

Built in 1857, Edinburgh Square Heritage & Cultural Centre, formerly the Caledonia Town Hall and Lock-Up, was designed by noted architect John Turner.

Edinburgh Square Heritage & Cultural Centre presents the history of Caledonia through educational and outreach activities and a number of permanent & temporary exhibits. Of particular note is the original 1857 jail cell and a permanent display highlighting the gypsum mining industry along the Grand River.

Local history or family genealogy may be researched in the Gillespie Clark Reference Library. The library contains books, files and documents relating to Caledonia’s rich history. The archive holds a collection of surviving editions of the Grand River Sachem from 1856 to the present day.

Haldimand County Museum & Archives

Haldimand County Museum & Archives
8 Echo Street
Box 38
Cayuga, Ontario
Canada, N0A 1E0

Phone: (905) 772-5880
Email: museum.archives@haldimandcounty.on.ca

Location on Google Maps

Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday: 10 am to 4:30 pm (year round)
Saturday: 10 am to 3 pm (Victoria Day-Labour Day)
Sunday & Statutory Holidays: Closed

Overlooking the Grand River, under a canopy of majestic oak trees in the Courthouse Park, the Haldimand County Museum and Archives preserves and presents Haldimand’s rich and diverse heritage for the public. Our gallery offers something fascinating and new, with ever-changing historical exhibits.

Also on-site is an authentic log cabin, dating to 1835. Originally located on the Old Plank Road near Caledonia, the cabin was once home to the Nicholas Family, early settlers to the area. Now the building is a perfect setting for interpreting the struggles and rewards of pioneer life.

The archives are a valuable resource for researchers and hobbyists alike, with an extensive collection of family histories, local histories, newspapers, church records, cemetery transcripts, census records, some birth, marriage and death records, and much more.

Microfiche/microfilm readers and Internet access are available to visitors to maximize the response to their research queries. If unable to visit, museum staff can be hired to do the research!

Special events and programs are held year-round at the museum, making it an ideal destination for family outings whether traveling from near or far. Contact the museum for more details. And finally, the beautiful grounds make a lovely spot for a picnic, complete with picnic tables and scenic surroundings. We hope to see you soon!

Wilson MacDonald

Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum
3513 Rainham Road
Selkirk, Ontario
Canada, N0A 1P0

Phone: (905) 776-3319
Fax: (905) 776-0683

Location on Google Maps

Hours of Operation

Mid-March to Mid-December:

Monday to Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunday & Statutory Holidays: Closed

The Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of rural education, the heritage of the surrounding community, and the memory of poet Wilson Pugsley MacDonald.

Step into a classroom of 1925, when the Union Jack waved over the schoolhouse, classes started with “God Save the King”, and penmanship was practiced using straight pens and black ink.

Lyric poet Wilson Pugsley MacDonald (1880 – 1967) was born in nearby Cheapside and published works, including “Out of the Wilderness”, and a “Flagon of Beauty.”

Built in 1872, this one-room schoolhouse was in operation until 1966. In 1967, the building re-opened as Wilson Pugsley MacDonald Memorial School Museum, dedicated to the famous poet Wilson Pugsley MacDonald. Visit to experience a day in the life of a student in a 1920s-era one-room rural school!

About Our Archives

The Museums house many important documents, records and photographs of the history of Haldimand County. We can help with local family records, community history and stories of local history.  Grand River Sachem, Haldimand Press and other local newspapers are available at Edinburgh Square Heritage & Cultural Centre and at Haldimand County Museum & Archives.

Archival Research fee $10.00/ visit

For more information about Archival Research Policies and Research Contracts, please view the Genealogy Contract.

Haldimand Museums has numerous educational programs available – see what we can offer!

Heritage Haldimand

Heritage Haldimand — An advisory committee promoting conservation of community heritage buildings and landscape assets.

Haldimand Museums Advisory Board

The Haldimand Museums Advisory Board assists, advises, promotes and furthers the objectives of Haldimand Museums (Haldimand County Museum & Archives; Edinburgh Square Heritage & Cultural Centre; Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum).

For further information, please contact Anne Unyi, Supervisor, Heritage & Culture Unit, Community Development & Partnerships at (905) 318-5932, ext. 6516

Other Heritage & Cultural Sites / Organizations

Explore other heritage, cultural sites, and the arts in Haldimand.

Lots of great ways to get involved at the museum, whether you are looking to help out, have fun or learn a new skill. We are always looking for new volunteers to help with school/children’s programming, special events and programs, collection management and exhibit work.

For more information, download the Volunteer Informational Brochure and Complete the Volunteer Application.

The support of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is gratefully acknowledged.