When we lived in Ottawa for 3 years in the late '80s, we escaped twice to another time and place, amidst the sights and sounds of an 1860s village. A key part of the experience at Upper Canada Village is the authentic buildings that make up the village, the activities that each housed, and of course, the people who lived there. Costumed interpreters tell you what life was like in the 19th century and when you speak to them, they stay in character. For example, when we went to the schoolhouse, the children had to raise their hand and call the teacher "Miss." When we went to the butcher's house, we watched him making sausage with old machines. We went to the newspaper office and saw them setting the old type machines.
Upper Canada Village endeavours to depict life in a rural English Canadian setting during the year 1866. Featured at the site are over 40 historical buildings, including several working mills (woollen mill, grist-mill and sawmill) and trades buildings (blacksmith, tinsmith, cabinetmaker, cooper, bakery, cheese-maker). Farming is demonstrated through the growing, harvesting of processing of heritage vegetables & livestock. Aspects of late 19th-century domestic arts, social life, music, religion and politics are also discussed, interpreted and demonstrated at by staff dressed in clothing of the period. (Wikipedia)
Upper Canada Village is located in Morrisburg, Ontario, set right along the St. Lawrence Seaway. There is so much to see and do there that you must plan to stay for a whole day. It makes a great family outing. We first went in the summer of 1987 and when friends came to stay for a couple of weeks in the fall of 1988, we went again. It was great to see the place at different times of the year and the fall was the best as it was harvest time.
Here are a few photos from our visits to Upper Canada Village. I apologize for the clarity (or lack thereof) of the photos because they had to be scanned. Remember it was 20 years ago that we went there.
First we have the schoolhouse. My daughters learned that the school was heated with an old wood-burning stove and the teacher would come early to get the firewood from the side of the school and start the fire. The girls also had to raise their hand and ask permission to have their photograph taken with the teacher. Of course the teacher said, "You may." The other thing that my daughters found rather horrifying was that the "washroom" was a single outhouse beyond the school in among some trees! Imagine having to go out there in the dead of winter! (reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie. )
These photos will enlarge if you click on them.
Here is Christ Church and we went inside and sat on the hard wooden pews. It seems that each family had their own section in which they'd sit. The box pews were rented by families but the ones at the back and in the gallery were free. The girls had their photos taken at the altar both times we went but this one taken in 1988, although a bit dark, is clearer than the one taken in 1987. (Oh and that's my husband and Jaclyn at the front door.)
For some reason, these ones won't enlarge if you click on them. Oh well.
Jamie climbed up the signal tower here. If you look carefully, you'll see her waving from the top left. These towers were meant to be a system of visual telegraph signal towers for relaying important military messages up and down the St. Lawrence.
It was a gorgeous fall day, just perfect for walking around. When our feet got tired, we just hopped on the wagon to get a view of the St. Lawrence Seaway as we made our way around the outskirts of the village. That's hubby and the girls watching me take their photo.
I believe Upper Canada Village has added more to the park in the past 20 years and if I were to return to the area, I'd definitely go and visit it again. For anyone visiting the area near Ottawa or Montreal, do go. You will love it.