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Selkirk, Ontario, Canada

Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum

The Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of rural education, the heritage of the 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 practised using straight pens and black ink.

Lyric poet Wilson Pugsley MacDonald (1880-1965) was born in nearby Cheapside and published many works, including "Out of the Wilderness" and "Flagon of Beauty".

Hours of Operation
Monday to Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Victoria Day to Labour Day)
Closed January and March, Sundays, and Statutory Holidays
Free Admission

Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum
3513 Rainham Road 3, Selkirk, Ontario N0A 1P0
Phone: 905-776-3319
Contact: Dana Stavinga, Curator
Email: wmacdonald.museum@haldimandcounty.on.ca

Cottonwood Mansion

Cottonwood is an Italianate-style red brick mansion built c. 1865-70 by William Holmes Jr., as a private residence. Descendants of the family say the name came from the cottonwood trees that originally surrounded the home on its 200 acre site. It was lived in until 1911 and then was derelict for almost eighty years until its restoration was undertaken by the late Larry Hamilton beginning in 1988.


Cottonwood is a 6,000 square foot mansion with fifteen rooms, some of which have the original furniture donated by Holmes' family members. Now a living museum, the mansion is open for tours, and available for rentals for a variety of events. A number of scheduled events take place annually, most with a Victorian flavour in keeping with the mission statement of the Cottonwood Mansion Preservation Foundation to sustain and maintain the Mansion and provide experiences of the Victorian Era.

Cottonwood's extensive genealogy research centre is now administered by the curator at Haldimand County Museum and Archives. It concentrates on the pioneer families of the Haldimand and Niagara areas.

Hours of Operation

Until December 22nd 2014:
Wednesday to Saturday, 11:00am to 4:00pm

January 1 to April 28th, 2015:
Closed, except for rental bookings.

Re-opening April 29th, 2015

Cottonwood Mansion
740 Haldimand Road 53, P.O. Box 56 Selkirk,
Ontario N0A 1P0
Phone: 905-776-2538
Email: cottonwoodmansion@gmail.com


Canadian Drilling Rig Museum Inc.



The Canadian Drilling Rig, the most proud and prominent feature of the Museum located in the park like setting in Rainham Centre, Ontario. The classic wooden derrick, a twenty-metre structure, is the centrepiece of the restored 1896 Canadian Drilling Rig, the last known working example of this type of rig.

This excellent example of Canadiana is a fully working reconstruction of a natural gas drilling rig that worked in Haldimand, Norfolk and Stevensville in the 1930's. It's last place of work was the Acton area.

This is a monument to the origins and history of a fundamental Canadian industry.


The museum and learn more about the natural gas industry of the last 120 years through the artifacts, displays and the knowledgeable guides. Experience the excitement of exploration for a new natural resource and peek into the lives of the individuals that have had the courage to make it happen.


The Museum, the rig and the special events. The experience will entertain, educate and inspire you.

Our Mission


To build and grow a working drilling rig Museum that will reflect the history of natural gas development in Haldimand, Norfolk and southern Ontario.

We will use the knowledge, experience and skills of our members and staff to acquire, restore, display and operate historical gas industry equipment; to preserve and interpret artifacts and documents and to research and further record the early history of the natural gas industry.

Our working drilling rig and the learning centre that will grow up around it will be our gift of heritage to future generations.

Our Future

As stewards of a collection, we wish to maintain and expand our facility in order to house, exhibit, interpret and preserve the artifacts and archives of the natural gas industry. We also plan to build on an outreach program of education, tours and events while we expand our membership whose skills, knowledge, efforts and financial support aid us to complete our mission.

We welcome new members.

"Did You Know"

From the McKenzie Files


1880 - Wainfleet, ON - Reebs well on John Reeb Farm, Natural Gas used for Lime Burning. (Well log John Reeb)

1900 - Grey and Bruce Oil and Gas Co, Incorporated at Hepworth, ON drilled to 1450 feet, discovered small flow of natural gas. (History of Hepworth)

1905 - The Gas and Oil Co. of Springvale, ON Incorporated and Disbanded in 1923. (Robert Shoup, Hagersville, ON)

January 29, 1929 - An ex-Mayor of Dunnville, ON was in New York closing a contract with an Airship Company, which proposed to establish an air route from New York to Vancouver by way of Selkirk, ON. It proposed to drill gas wells to supply the air ships from large elevated towers to be erected by the company.

March 20, 1912 - With warm weather, all drilling rigs sitting on Lake Erie Ice have 40 hours to complete their gas wells. There is five feet of water under the ice at Hoovers Point near Selkirk, ON.

Annual Open House

3rd Weekend in September
Saturday and Sunday
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Operating drilling rig
  • Historic displays and demonstrations
  • Tour the grounds and buildings
  • Great rig beans and traditional fare
  • Music, craft booths and fun for everyone.

No admission fee.

Donations appreciated!

Canadian Drilling Rig Museum Inc.
Established 1995
Rainham Centre
Regional Roads 3&8
Haldimand County,

Contact us by:
Telephone: 1-905-776-0919
Fax: 1-905-776-3318
Email: rig@canadiandrillingrigmuseum.com
Web Site: www.canadiandrillingrigmuseum.com

North Erie Shore Historical Society

The North Erie Shore Historical Society of NESHS is a group of local people who have an interest in local history. They have four meetings a year plus bus trips, dinners and a Christmas Party that is open to the public. Our interest ranges from genealogical to architecture. NESHS presents Heritage Day, at the Selkirk Centennial Community Centre, which draws 700 to 1000 people from near and far.

Many local people demonstrate the skills of yesteryears such as butter, ice-cream sausage, sauerkraut and rope making, all made the old fashioned way. The nice thing is that you get to partake in their handiwork as all are available as snacks or can be bought in bulk to take home for a meal later.

Heritage Day February 18, 2009 saw raw wool being carded, spun and knit. The only thing missing is the sheep shearing (that gets a bit messy). At Heritage Day you can see raw wood carved, local artists with their work and displays of apple carvings slowly shrivelling into old tanned wrinkled faces.

Anyone interested in joining the NESHS can call Mary at 905-776-2253 for information.

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