Another Day, Another Road Trip: Upper Canada Village

Wednesday saw the continuation of our tour guide duties as we took our Scottish guest to Upper Canada Village, a heritage park about an hour south of Ottawa. Our guest was, in a word, smitten…and with good reason.

Pieced together from buildings that have been transported from other locations along the St. Lawrence River (many prior to flooding that took place during the St. Lawrence Power and Seaway project begun in 1954), the village is a historically accurate replica of what the 1860s would have looked like, right down to the costumed interpreters who work there. There’s a tinsmith, a broom maker, a cheese maker, a bakery, a school, a blacksmith, a tavern, a sawmill, a woollen factory, a flour mill, a dressmaker…and the list goes on.

The village goes well beyond a collection of buildings and costumes, however. The wool that is cleaned and spun and woven into blankets at the factory is from sheep raised on the farm. The cheese comes from milk from the farm cows. The wheat that is processed in the flour mill is grown on the farm and used to make bread at the bakery and other treats at the hotel restaurant. (And you can buy that same cheese, flour, and bread at the gift store on your way out!) Tools in use come from the blacksmith, some of the costumes are made by the dressmaker, meals prepared in the summer kitchen of a farmhouse are served to some of the village workers, lumber produced at the sawmill goes to repair buildings and make fences…and that list goes on, too.

They call it “living history,” and as our guest discovered (and we rediscovered), it is utterly enthralling. And again, I took photos…I hope you enjoy! 🙂

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The tinsmith…
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…and some of his wares.
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The general store.
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Going about farm business. 🙂
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Lessons in the school house (girls on one side of the classroom, boys on the other).
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The St. Lawrence River beyond the fields.
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Publishing has come a long way. A long, long way.
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A Canadian mare and her foal. The village currently has a herd of 25 Canadian horses (yes, that’s an actual recognized breed), with 19 or 20 of them working on the farm and around the village.
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A farm wife demonstrating spinning. This would normally have been done during the winter months, with summer reserved for gardening and preserving.
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Idyllic… 🙂
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The cabinetmaker at work painting a checker board.
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The blacksmith.
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A selection of brooms. The broommaker would have done these in his spare time, with farming his main occupation. Brooms lasted for years, so he wouldn’t have been able to make a living off them in a small village like this.
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The sawmill, powered by water. At full speed, the saw can cut a plan from a log that size in three minutes…more accurately than modern sawmills do.
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Bags of flour stacked up at the mill.
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A wool blanket made at the woollen factory.

If you ever come to this region of Canada, you’ll want to make time for a visit here. Oh, and plan on a full day…we were there for five and half hours and could have easily spent another three there. I guess that means I’ll have to go back again. Darn. 😉

 


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