P.E.I. Barn Quilt Trail inspires 'scavenger hunt' through rural countryside
'It was very exciting for the farm families to see their creation come to life right in front of their eyes'
If you're out for a drive in P.E.I.'s countryside you might notice something unusual hanging from barns: wooden "quilts."
Twenty barns across the Island are now adorned with the brightly coloured works of art that form the P.E.I. Barn Quilt Trail.
The Canada 150 project received $50,000 in federal funding, with the goal of encouraging people to visit rural communities and learn more about farming on P.E.I.
"It's like a scavenger hunt when you're going along the rural roads and you know that this is number 24 and you're looking for it on whatever road it's on — that's a fun part," said Marg Weeks of the P.E.I. agriculture awareness committee.
"It encourages people to go out into the countryside, take their time, look for the barn quilt and just enjoy the beauty of Prince Edward Island."
The barn quilts were designed by farm families across the Island. The designs often reflects a regular quilt block pattern or the heritage of the farm or what the farm produces.
The designs are transformed onto a piece of wood — usually 8X8 plywood — painted with bright colours, then hung on a barn.
"It was very exciting for the farm families to see their creation come to life right in front of their eyes," Weeks said.
"The participants were overwhelmed with the end product that they produced, I think it was beyond their expectations. They're all unique and they're all beautiful."
Lynn Townshend, who has a barn quilt on her farm in Rollo Bay, P.E.I., said she sees the project as a positive way for people to learn about farming.
"I am an avid quilter and see barn quilts as an extension of cloth quilts," Townshend said.
The P.E.I. Barn Quilt Trail website describes each farm's history and what it produces.
"People going along the trail will appreciate the diversity of agriculture on Prince Edward Island, the size of farms, the kind of barns that we have," Weeks said.
"All kinds of things that will add to people's understanding of where our food comes from."
The committee hopes to add farms to the trail, and is looking for more funding or sponsorship.
"We feel a responsibility to continue so we can build our barn quilt trail into a substantial trail," Weeks said.
"We are tip to tip now but we would like to see more spread across the whole province."
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