Friday, January 31, 2014

Black Creek Pioneer Village - Toronto

My kids, checking out the gingerbread village.  They are gobsmacked that you can make things out of gingerbread other than the little lean-tos that we usually manage to make.
Black Creek Pioneer Village was pretty much my favourite place in the whole world when I was a kid.  I don't live in the Toronto area anymore so I hadn't been in years but guys, it was time to take my kids.  I was a little hesitant because I thought it might not have stood the test of time and my kids would find it boring and think I am crazy for raving about it so much. Sort of like reading your kids "Ramona and her Mother" and finding out they don't like it.  I mean, you really have to take a hard look at your life when that happens you know?   Also I was afraid it may turn out to be like the Tar Tunnel incident of 1992.  When I went to England to visit my cousin, her husband insisted on taking us to see the Tar Tunnel in Ironbridge, which was, according to him, the most exciting place in the whole wide world.  So, off we went.  Guys?  It is a tunnel, that has some tar like substance occasionally oozing out of the walls.  That's it.  You do get to wear a little hard hat which is always fun but that is about the extent of the excitement of the Tar Tunnel.  Turns out I needn't have worried since my kids loved it as much as I did. Well, ok, not quite that much but nobody ever could love Black Creek Pioneer Village as much as I did when I was a kid. 
Checking out a Christmas feast in one of the house.
We went on a wet day in December and it was almost deserted which meant that we had the place almost entirely to ourselves.  It also meant that they had the place all done up for Christmas which was always my favourite time of year to visit when I was a kid (yes, I had a favourite time of year to visit Black Creek Pioneer Village, what of it?)
Learning about tinsmithing!

The best thing about Black Creek Pioneer Village is the interpreters.  They are all great and without them it really is just a collection of old buildings which is nice and all but not likely to hold the attention of kids for too long.  Since it was so quiet on the day we were there one woman kept moving from building to building to give little talks about what went on in each one.  That is her in the picture above teaching us about tinsmithing.

Here she is again, teaching us how they used to set broken arms.
They have lots of buildings you can visit including, a doctor`s house, the inn, the mill, the weaver`s, a couple of different houses, blacksmith, tinsmith, general store, etc.  They are all great.  My one daughter liked the weaver`s the best and my younger daughter liked the houses the best. 
Here is our favourite interpreter showing us how to work the loom.

 My favourite when I was a kid was the Print Shop.  There were three reasons for this:
  1. It was cool to see how they used to make newspapers and you got to move the letters around and stuff.
  2. You could buy stuff in the print shop, things like fake old newspapers which were, for some reason, very exciting to me as a kid.
  3. Most importantly, there was a nice old man who used to be the interpreter there at least three of the times I went as a kid.  He used to do magic tricks and twice (TWICE!) I got to keep the magic dime he pulled from behind my ear.  I told my daughter about this and she said "Oh, he sounds like a nice old grandpa type of guy."  I said, "You`re right, he was a nice old grandpa type of guy." To which my daughter replied, "He`s probably dead now."  Well, thank you, little Mary Sunshine!
I am just going to pretend this guy is the old guy`s grandson!

These days there is a new guy working at the print shop and he looks to have a long life ahead of him.  He was very friendly and informative but alas, no magic tricks! 
Petting the horses outside the Inn.
Another big hit is always the horse drawn wagon rides.  I loved them when I was a kid and my kids loved it too!  They only take about 15 minutes or so and they go every half hour.  They had craft workshops and a puppet show in the upstairs of the Inn when we were there.  My kids liked making fancy Victorian Christmas cards.  You can also buy apple cider and cookies (and some other things) down in the Inn.

Old Timey Santa wasn`t sure what a Calico Critter was but he played along!
If you go in December you can even visit Santa. No line ups! 

Ready for their wagon ride.
Things to keep in mind:
  • They aren`t open year round, so check the website to make sure they are open when you want to go.
  • It costs about $60 for a family of four to go (including parking).  If you live in the area it is probably a good idea to get the family membership which is only $95, includes parking and discounts on food, the gift shop and day camps.  I wonder if they let adults go to day camp?
  • They have a brewery!
  • They have lots of special events, so check out their calendar of events to find one that tickles your fancy.  


  1. Replies
    1. And parents! The best part of having kids (for me) is all the fun I get to have.