Founded in 2001, the rare Charitable Research Reserve is a 900+ acre land trust protecting nature on behalf of the community.

Our environmental charity is dedicated to conservation, education, and research – and we encourage community involvement and enjoyment of the property. We offer nature programs for the public, and we host the largest community garden in the region with 110 garden plots, including one dedicated to growing for the local food bank. We also offer school-based environmental programming, and host March Break and summer ECO (Every Child Outdoors) Camps that see over 100 children each year reconnecting with nature through inspiring programs and activities that foster inquisitive, explorative minds.

Located along the Grand River in Cambridge, rare provides access to unspoiled nature in one of Ontario’s fastest growing regions. We are a site of scientific research, but rare also offers the community a place to leisurely enjoy the outdoors with 8 km of nature trails open to the public.

ECO Centre: Slit Barn and Resource House

The 3,000 square foot slit barn (slit-window stone barn) is one of the community’s most recognizable landmarks as it has stood along Blair Road for about 170 years.

Believed to be built by the William Young Family, Matthew Wilks bought the farm in the 1860’s adding to his property, the Cruickston Park Farm, which eventually became rare.

The barn is an excellent, and relatively rare, example of a transitional barn type with a three bay Scottish barn design, but incorporating aspects of the ‘German’ bank barn, common on the Mennonite farms of the area, in terms of its design and siting.

The barn is a dramatic space with light streaming in through the slits. The three rows of slits in the walls were designed to provide ventilation for grain storage. The slits were made wider on the inside of the barn compared to the outside to promote outflow of air ventilation; to reduce rain coming in to the barn; and to increase the light levels in the barn.

The stones used in construction were quarried from the property. The stones are limestone and the exterior walls show numerous fossils.

Renovations to the facility were completed in 2013, allowing the venue to be used for a number of purposes from late Spring to early Fall each year. Since its opening, the Slit Barn and Resource House have been successfully used to host numerous events, including weddings.

For rental inquiries, please contact Fresh Look Design.

T: 519-743-3531