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Museums and Heritage

Old white house seen through garden of daisies

The echoes of history reverberate throughout the Town of Essex.

Built Heritage

Properties of heritage importance are recognized through the heritage designation process. Discover some of the built heritage and cultural sites that dot our landscape by visiting our Heritage Tour page.

Museums and Heritage Groups

A number of local cultural sites and heritage groups continuously celebrate our history and offer a glimpse into our past.

  • Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village

Stop by the Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village for a glimpse into our automotive past. The 100-acre site houses one of the largest vehicle museums in Ontario and over a dozen buildings of local significance dating back to the late 1800s.

  • Essex and Community Historical Research Society

Housed in the historic Carnegie Library building in the heart of downtown Essex Centre, the Essex and Community Historical Research Society operates a history and genealogy centre for Essex Centre and the surrounding communities.

  • Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum

Co-An Park in McGregor is home to the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum, the largest steam engine museum in Ontario. The museum houses a collection of small engines, tractors and turn-of-the-century steam engines, as well as an antique saw mill. The annual Steam and Gas Engine Show is a time to appreciate our past and to marvel at the antique tractors, steam engines and farm equipment that helped our ancestors settle and prosper in this area. Corporate, school, group and individual tours available by appointment.

  • Essex Railway Station

Built in 1887 of Michigan fieldstone, the Essex Railway Station and the railway tracks laid across the Talbot Trail established Essex Centre as the shipping hub of Essex County. The building has been fully restored to its natural beauty by Heritage Essex Inc. and continues to serve the community as a meeting room and heritage property.

  • Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society

Located in the Harrow and Colchester South Community Centre, the Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society (HEIRS) operates a research centre focused on local history and families who have settled in the Harrow and Colchester South area.

  • John R. Park Homestead

Journey back in time at John R. Park Homestead. Built in 1842 along the banks of Lake Erie, the home of John and Amelia Park has been fully restored and costumed guides welcome visitors all year round.

  • Outdoor Mural Gallery

Our inventory of outdoor murals visually portray the history of the area and can be found at various vantage points throughout Essex Centre. Plan a walking tour using our murals map: Essex murals and the stories they tell.