Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Perfect Day - Upper Canada Village

Once a year we take a family day and visit Upper Canada Village, located just east of Morrisburg, Ontario.  It is about a 40 minute drive and a great opportunity to just step back 150 years, for a day.  I know it is a sanitized, idealized version of what life was like for pioneers, but it is comforting and calming to envision the simplicity of life as our forefather's knew it.  I am well aware of disease, political turmoil, poverty, hardship, toil and struggle that pioneer's endured, but at least we can glimpse the day to day existence in a small time village.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the building of Upper Canada Village.  When the St. Lawrence River was flooded to improve it as a major transportation source, nine small towns were destroyed.  Many of the structures at UCV come from these now-under-water ruins.  A few changes have occurred at the site this year.  Chrysler Hall which for many years was home to a rather dated interactive/movie display, has been refurbished with relics from the Chrysler home, as well as all the stained glass windows from the Wiser home in Prescott.

As well there is a huge new visitor center at the entrance to the village.  Unfortunately we were a few days early, as the grand opening is about to happen.

It was a perfect day weather-wise, sunny and warm (but not hot and humid), with a gentle breeze blowing in off the St. Lawrence.

I have two friends who work in the village, but we happened to come on their days off, as was the cheese maker, who is a friend of a fellow blogger.

The village has also returned to a more first-person format.  By this I mean that a lot of the characters are playing the roles of school mistress, tinsmith, merchant, farmer, for instance.  The village had steered away from this for a few years, and it is nice to see it back, makes the visit seem more authentic.

We particularly enjoyed the oxen ride, the boat ride and of course milking Rosie, the Canadienne cow.
 It was so much fun to just spend a day as a family, being silly, being ourselves and recapturing a bit of the life of our ancestors.

Entrance to the park, where we enjoyed a picnic lunch.

The boat, about to travel up the canal.

One of many great heirloom varietal gardens on the site.
The tinsmith making a drinking cup.

The blacksmith shop - day off unfortunately.

Children's camp, a rousing game of cricket.

Crosscut sawing.
Bringing in the hay.

The fifty year commemorative quilt.  Each year a new quilt is made in the village.  This one has blocks from each of the past quilts.

Yarn spinning, weaving and dying.
The school marm - and don't think of crossing her!

Barney and Buck, our two favourite bovines.

Stained glass window from the Wiser House.
Calves on the loose.

Two cooks having a go at reading a recipe from 150 years ago.

I can see you.
Yours truly, torturing Rosie, the purebred Canadienne milk cow.

Saw mill, too late in the day to see much action.

The miller extolling the virtues of stone ground flour.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. Great pictures! My hubby and I love to visit places of historical significance. By the way, I just signed up as your newest follower. (Now, when you write about your mother painting the linoleum floor, I'll know about it!)

  2. I have some fun pictures from a trip there. I often thought I was born in the wrong century, but then I turn on my computer while my dishwasher whirrs, and I have my Bosch knead my 5 loaves of ww bread made with flour from my electric mill, and I think . . nah.

  3. I love to visit places like this as I am a history junkie. Nice pictures and you gave us a great tour. Loving the cow.

  4. Hi Susan, welcome aboard my humble blog. Hope you enjoy it.

  5. Great photo's and really interesting :) Mo

  6. Great pics but you missed my cheesemaker buddy Eugene!! We're going there the week after next. Isn't it a great place?

  7. ANd I should read your posts more thoroughly before commenting. Too bad you missed Eugene! (I was so taken with your photos that I looked at them all, made a comment, then went back to read the beginning! ha ha!


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