Renowned for its dedication to Canadian art, McMichael Gallery is arguably the best-known landmark of the pretty little village of Kleinburg, Ontario. Its collection of Group of Seven paintings, Inuit art and outdoor sculpture gardens draw people from around the world to this sleepy hamlet within York Region.
But the gallery alone is not the only attraction the village has to offer. Steps away from McMichael is the historic downtown district of Kleinburg. Here, the must-have goods and services of modern times live side-by-side with the buildings of a bygone era, offering a unique experience for shoppers, diners and gallery-goers alike.
Founded in the early 1800s by German-Canadian settlers, many of the original homes still line the village’s main street. Only today, a number of them have been converted into shops and boutiques, where unique fashion and jewellery wait quietly to be discovered and claimed.
Restaurants, too, are eager to welcome the hungry traveller that ventures beyond McMichael’s cafeteria. Whether they’re upscale eateries, friendly, neighbourhood pubs or quaint cafes, the restaurants of Kleinburg marry the charm of the nineteenth century with the tastes of today.
Even its local Starbucks is quaint.
I visited the McMichael Gallery for the opening of the Mary Pratt exhibit (which, by the way, is a must-see, and for an in depth account check out my earlier blog post here). Once I’d finished touring the many levels of the gallery, and had taken in all the fantastic works of art on display, I ventured into Kleinburg’s historic downtown for a spot of lunch.
On a whim, I tried out an establishment called Chartreuse. According to its website, it is “a quaint country house that was transformed years ago into two romantic dining rooms,” with a menu that “offers regional dishes and classical cuisine.”
For my meal, I chose the duck confit shepherd’s pie, which was served with a salad of fresh greens dressed in a citrus vinaigrette, and fresh-baked rolls. It was beyond delicious, and I made a point of telling Serge, my host, how much I enjoyed it.
It’s unexpected finds like Chartreuse Restaurant that I love about villages like Kleinburg: those delightful, one-off eateries that you try “just because,” and end up raving about to anyone who will listen.
But that is, essentially, Kleinburg itself. It may be the unique gifts at Hawthorne House, or the one-of-a-kind formal wear for children to be found at the Sugar Plum Boutique. It may be the homemade pies of Cookie Crumble Cafe or the fantasy-inducing floral design of Terracotta Home and Garden. Whatever it is you discover here in Kleinburg, it will have you coming back.
Come to Kleinburg for landmark attractions like the McMichael Gallery, the Kortright Centre and Copper Creek Golf Club. Stay for the unforgettable shopping, dining and scenery of Kleinburg’s historic downtown district.