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Culture Days will return September 20 – October 13, 2024.

Neilson Store Museum and Cultural Centre


History & heritage
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This activity runs the duration of Culture Days.


Neilson Store Museum and Cultural Centre

5220 Front Road Stella Ontario K0H 2S0

Loyalist Township, ON

Directions: Amherst Island is a short 17 minute ride on the Loyalist ferry from the mainland. The ferry leaves just west of Millhaven on the half hour starting at 6:30 am (8:30, 9:30, and so on) and returns on the hour (7:00, 8:00 and so on) until 1:00 am daily. The return trip costs $10 per car and $1.50 per bicycle. The ferry is free for pedestrians. The Museum is about a kilometre from the ferry dock. Exit the ferry and turn left at the stop sign. The Museum will be on your left.


Free, and accepts optional pay-what-you-may donations for admission.

Offered in English.

Wheelchair accessible and has gender-neutral washrooms.


Amherst Island’s Neilson Store Museum and Cultural Centre opened its doors in 2004. The Museum highlights Island artifacts from Islanders and their history. Items in the collection include the 1857 Wm. Perceval Manuscript Map, and the M.V. Amherst Islander’s ship’s wheel, bell, and logs. Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, the Museum building itself is also an exhibit having once been owned by James S. Neilson, an Island grain merchant who opened his first general store in 1873. The store remained in the Neilson family for one hundred years.

Visit the website for opening hours



Neilson Store Museum and Cultural Centre

The Neilson Store, built around 1883, is a historic landmark on Amherst Island constructed by James S. Neilson, who came to the island from Sandhurst on the mainland, in 1865. Mr. Neilson went into partnership with Mr. Polly who was already operating an island store.

In 1873, Mr. Neilson began his own operation and the store served the island for almost a century. In the early years, the Neilson family expanded their business. They carried a full line of household goods – from corset laces to oil lamp wicks, canvas for grain binders to barley forks, from dry goods to hardware and of course, groceries.

A post office occupied the northwest corner and a pot-bellied stove drew a group of regulars who gathered around it to chew tobacco and swap stories. Business was good! James’ sons, Rod and Fred Neilson, were able to hire a full-time employee. Maurice Hogeboom, an Island resident, was a familiar figure at the store for 43 years.

Over the years, Neilson’s Store and dock became the commercial centre of the island. It provided services in shipping and receiving goods and produce, storing and selling coal, barley and milled feed.

Smaller steamers made regular scheduled stops at the dock for passengers and freight. Barges loaded with coal, and cargo-laden sailboats were also frequent visitors.


Loyalist Township