In celebration of May is Museum Month 2023, the Norfolk County Heritage and Culture department is embarking on a County-wide exhibit titled Cantelon: The Life and Work of William Edgar Cantelon.  

William Edgar Cantelon – a longtime Norfolk County residentunderstood that what is here today, may be gone tomorrow. He recognized the value of everyday life. An avid historian and prolific artist, Cantelon painted Norfolk County portraits, flora and fauna, landscapes, and historical landmarks. It is estimated that he created more than 8,000 paintings in his lifetime. The Heritage and Culture department stewards 600 of his works along with related artifacts and archival material. 

Pieces from both his private and public collections will be featured in the upcoming exhibition, some of which have never been seen before. 

Part one of the exhibit opens May 10 at the Delhi Tobacco Museum and Heritage Centre, Norfolk County Archives, Port Dover Harbour Museum and the Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum, and runs until August 31. Each location is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The second installment will occur this fall.  

“I’m thrilled Norfolk County is celebrating May is Museum Month along with more than 700 museums, galleries and heritage sites in Ontario,” said Mayor Amy Martin. “I encourage residents and visitors to soak in the beauty of the collection, along with the unique themes that each of our museums has to offer.” 

Port Dover Harbour Museum 

Port Dover Harbour Museum will showcase the historic town of Port Dover – a growing fishing community largely influenced by its lakeside surroundings. Local buildings lost to time such as The Mud Tavern, The Van Noorman Cooper Shop, the Lawson Tannery, and the Port Dover Toll Gate will be featured.  

Waterford Heritage & Agricultural Museum 

William Edgar Cantelon’s travels to Waterford and the rural hamlets of Townsend Township formed a legacy of the area’s built and natural history. Watercolours and oils of homesteads, rural life and early industry, along with a study of over 20 landscapes are presented in part one of the Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum’s exhibition.     

Norfolk County Archives 

The first part of the exhibit will explore Cantelon’s efforts to preserve Norfolk County’s cultural and natural heritage. It will also present Cantelon as a curator and his role in establishing the very first museum in Norfolk County. 

Delhi Tobacco Museum & Heritage Centre 

The first stage of the Delhi Tobacco Museum’s W. E. Cantelon exhibition will centre on the people, places and stories of Delhi, and the surrounding communities. The artwork includes prominent figures like Frederick Sovereign, local industries like mills and tanneries, and historic homes and churches. 

For more information on Museum Month, March Break Camps, other exhibits, and more, visit the Norfolk County Heritage & Culture Facebook page.