What is a barn quilt?
As you drive through the rural landscape of Chatham-Kent, your eyes will be drawn to large pieces of art that look like quilts. Some are on barns, others are created as standalone structures. What you are looking at, are "barn quilts". Barn quilts are large painted replicas of fabric quilt blocks installed on barns or mounted posts in public places. They are there to draw your attention to the picturesque rural landscapes, timber frame barns, and family farms.
Barn Quilts tell a story, and when connected, create a themed route or trail for you to travel and enjoy.
There are three trails to meander along while in Chatham-Kent. You can enjoy each by following their mapping, reading about their stories online, and making a leisurely adventure of it. We encourage you to stop along the way in the towns and villages you are brought through for baked good and sweet treats or a browse through a local boutique. You can also stop at the side of the road and add to your own collection of road trip photography, these beautiful sights.
Where did they originate?
The first official barn quilt trail was created in Adams County, Ohio in 2001 by Donna Sue Groves. Donna wanted to honour her mother's quilting art by painting a quilt block on their tobacco barn. One barn quilt led to several, spreading across the United States and Canada.
In Southwestern Ontario, the first barn quilts were installed in 2010 to commemorate the founders of Wardsville, Mr. and Mrs. George Ward, two years before the War of 1812 broke out. There are three distinct barn quilt trails that are a part of the larger Barn Quilt system throughout Southwestern Ontario and the Thames River Watershed.
Dresden Barn Quilts
Dresden also offers many beautiful barn quilts throughout the downtown for your viewing pleasure as well. The Dresden Collection features five beautifully created pieces sponsored by the IODE and Rotary Club of Dresden. You can find these at the corner of St. George and Brown Streets.
To learn more about barn quilt trails in Ontario visit
*Please respect the fact that many barn quilts are located on privately owned barns and properties. We encourage the enjoyment of them, but from afar, and remember to ask permission before venturing onto private property.