Origin and Etymology of BARN - Middle English bern, from Old English bereaern, from bere (barley) and aern (house, store)*

In the past, Adjala-Tosorontio residents were mostly farmers operating family enterprises. Many barns, of course, still exist; however, times are changing. Agri-farming, industry and large unfarmed estates are eroding these "family farms" in our community. Farmers are selling to developers and altering the landscapes. Old barns are disappearing and many are not being utilized as in the past...they are becoming endangered. I feel that it is essential to document these buildings and their history while we still have the opportunity. That quite a number of barns are still standing is testament to the materials and craftsmanship once used.

They are structures that command our attention, whether in awe or in sadness. They are the pillars that our forefathers stood behind, engaged with, and that helped grow their wealth. They are forever practical, functional and utilitarian, although they can be a thing of beauty too. Picture rolling hills, wildflowers blowing in the breeze, or a snow drenched landscape, drop in a barn and you certainly have a photographic moment.

Many barns have disappeared, toppled over from a strong wind, been torn down, and just abandoned. My hope is that some wood was recycled into furniture, flooring, and walls for a new generation to enjoy. Many of those boards having been planed or cut in early sawmills that no longer exist. This at the very least allows their story to continue in someway, although in silence. Let's give the barns still standing a presence, a voice, and a story for generations to come.

Sadly, many of our local historians and elders are leaving us. They are the ones who have the important oral histories that once gone, will be lost forever. I would like to recognize the involvement of Mr. Mark Nelson, a well known elder in Adjala, who co-created this proposal four years ago, although he has since passed on.

The main goal is to photograph as many barns as possible in our township during the four seasons of 2018, with the help of photography students from Banting Memorial High School, and professional photographers in our community. The project will also greatly benefit from the assistance of Mr. Ralph Braden a noted historian and writer.

From these modern photographs taken, a committee will choose a maximum of twenty to be framed for display. The remaining photographs will be arranged in a large album, and to enrich this project further, Adj-Tos residents are encouraged to participate by submitting a copy of their old barn photo with its history. From these locally submitted historical photographs we will create a collage or portfolio for display too. These will be donated to the township for the community to enjoy at the municipal office at the end of 2018.

The benefits of the project are numerous, and it is our intention to create an attractive historical exhibit for the township, as well as involving the community, elders and youth in the creation of this noteworthy venture.

Old photographs, barn stories and permissions to photograph barns in Adj-Tos can be submitted to

Donations by PAYPAL for this project can be made below, please specify BARN PROJECT (this is to help pay for printing, framing, and albums)


Thank you for your contributions!!

I'd be happy to scan and return old photographs if help is needed