First generation farmers hope barn tours bring joy amid lockdown

Nicole Winkels hopes her emus, goats and bunnies spark a bit of lockdown happiness.

Tours booked up within hours of posting online

Take a trip through this Essex County hobby farm

2 years ago
Duration 2:51
Nicole Winkels explains why she's offering free barn tours after the recently announced lockdown.

A family that runs a hobby farm in Cottam is opening their barn doors to families trying to find a safe way to have fun amid the latest restrictions. 

Nicole Winkels and her husband bought the farm in April, fulfilling a dream to become first generation farmers. 

"I felt like I jumped off the high dive and couldn't see the water," said Winkels when thinking back to the day her family decided to put an offer in on the farm.

But the purchase paid off, she said, with her three kids enjoying the open space and freedom the new lifestyle offers. 

"It's been wonderful. It's been a very good change for our family and for our kids."

When the switch to remote learning was announced on Monday for students across Ontario along with new restrictions, Winkels decided to offer free barn tours to families that needed something to break the stress of another lockdown. 

Two weeks worth of slots were fully booked within hours. 

Winkels is offering tours free of charge with hopes people donate so she can continue feeding a few of the animals that have been taken in.