Let’s be honest. You know you do it. We all do: peer through other people’s front windows to see what’s on the other side… from a distance, of course (we’re not a bunch of Peeping Toms, after all). Maybe it’s when we are strolling by on a spring morning as we’re out walking the dog. Or perhaps it’s when we’re driving home from dinner with the in-laws on a winter’s night. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; we’re curious creatures after all, we human beings.
Go on, admit it: you want to know what it’s like inside that big, old house on the corner.
A group of volunteers has capitalized on this curiosity in Headwaters. It’s brilliant, really. You want to look inside people’s houses? Sure, no problem! Buy a ticket for charity, and you can snoop to your heart’s content amongst a carefully curated selection of the region’s most notable dwellings.
On Saturday, June 15th, the 23rd Headwaters House Tour commences. It is a one-day charity fundraising event where ticket holders are invited on a self-guided tour through the countryside to visit and walk through the houses of selected homeowners. “We search for homes that are unique, either historically or design-wise,” says event organizer Nadine Melemis Walters. “We approach the owners and ask whether they would be willing to open their homes to benefit our local hospital.” Some homeowners even choose to open up outbuildings, such as barns or workshops, that are on their property for the tour as well.
This year, Nadine and her team are hoping to sell 800 to 1,000 tickets, which they estimate may raise as much as $65,000. Proceeds go towards the Headwaters Health Care Centre, for capital purchases that are not covered by the provincial government. To date, the tour has raised over $500,000.00 in its 25 years.
It is a large team of volunteers that is required to not only run an event like this, but to make it such an enduring success. Organizers are comprised entirely of the hospital auxiliary volunteers, or they are the friends and family members of event organizers who donate their time to supervise individual properties. Safety, of course, is a top priority, as is the security of the homes which are open to the public.
The popularity of the Headwaters House Tour is clear to all involved. But the question is: why? What makes other people’s houses so interesting? Nadine theorizes that it may have something to do with all the home renovation shows that are hitting the television networks these days. Getting to look inside people’s houses to see their design and décor tastes gives people ideas for their own homes. Also, many of the properties in Headwaters region are rural, and are often set back a distance from the road.
But of course, the main reason the tour is so popular is, as we said, that people are just curious by nature. “I mean, really—when do you get the chance to snoop through people’s homes?” Nadine laughs.
What’s great about a house tour is that it can be made into a social occasion as well as just a chance to snoop—and it often is. It’s an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, to get out of your own familiar house, and to enjoy the spring weather. “We often see groups of girlfriends, of mothers and daughters, that kind of thing,” Nadine says. “They’ll make a day of it, go out for lunch in between, and enjoy their time together. It has been great to see people showing that kind of interest year after year.”
Running a charity event always brings an enormous amount of satisfaction to those who volunteer. But being able to offer a good time to those who take part, as opposed to a mere passive fundraising event, raises that satisfaction to another level. “You’re not just asking people for money,” Nadine explains. “You’re offering them something that is enjoyable and even fun for them to participate in. We find that people are happy to donate to a cause like this.”
Here’s your chance: buy your ticket to the Headwaters House Tour for the opportunity to satisfy your snooping itch in a perfectly legitimate atmosphere. On June 15th, you don’t have to peer through windows as you walk past (c’mon… we know you do!), and no one is going to chase you off their property—as long as they’re part of the tour, that is. It’s for a good cause, and the homeowners whose humble abodes have been selected are excited to welcome you. For more information, visit www.headwatershousetour.com.
Story by Katherine Ryalen