Black Creek Pi­o­neer Vil­lage (On­tario)

Sur­round your­self in the cus­toms and life­style of early res­i­dents who built the foun­da­tions for mod­ern On­tario. It's an im­mer­sive re-creation of a cross­roads com­mu­nity found in the Toronto area dur­ing the 1800's.

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - Contents - Words by Perry Mack

Icon­fess that I love liv­ing his­tory mu­se­ums. They are spe­cial at­trac­tions where peo­ple dressed in pe­riod cloth­ing bring his­toric build­ings, im­ple­ments and arte­facts to life.

When we think of Toronto, images of the CN Tower come to mind, per­haps Pear­son In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Blue Jays ball games at Rogers Cen­tre, the manic bus­tle of Bay Street, Yonge and Bloor. It’s easy to for­get that this scram­bling me­trop­o­lis was once forested lands that had to be carved into the land­scape with co­pi­ous quan­ti­ties of blood, sweat and tears, with­out the use of power tools and heavy ma­chin­ery.

Black Creek Pi­o­neer Vil­lage is a col­lec­tion of vin­tage build­ings sprawled across a ru­ral land­scape of 30 acres. While some of the build­ings are in their orig­i­nal lo­ca­tions, most orig­i­nated from com­mu­ni­ties across On­tario and were moved here and sur­rounded by ver­dant gar­dens and farm­land.

Cos­tumed his­tor­i­cal in­ter­preters fill the roles of early pi­o­neers – farm­ers and trades­peo­ple – to show how Cana­dian pi­o­neers lived, worked and played 150 years ago, with­out our mod­ern con­ve­niences.

Stop at the ad­mis­sion desk as you en­ter for a sched­ule of the day’s demon­stra­tions and ac­tiv­i­ties. Wan­der on your own ask­ing ques­tions of the in­ter­preters, or call ahead for a tour guided by a knowl­edge­able staff mem­ber.

Rather than opt for a tra­di­tional T-shirt or hat, choose from among the many hand­crafted items that you’ll cher­ish for years and that will stim­u­late mem­o­ries of your visit.

Black Creek Pi­o­neer Vil­lage was cre­ated roughly 40 years ago by the Toronto Re­gion Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity to re­mind us of how the early set­tlers lived. From those hum­ble be­gin­nings four decades ago, now forty build­ings

grace the prop­erty - fully re­stored and fur­nished. From mills, stores and shops, to out­houses and inns, the busi­nesses re­quired for a com­mu­nity to sur­vive and flour­ish are here.

There are plenty of in­ter­ac­tive ac­tiv­i­ties for kids to aid their imag­i­na­tions as they im­merse them­selves into 18th cen­tury life. There’s a ‘Hands on His­tory’ ac­tiv­ity cen­tre, dis­cov­ery sta­tions where they can dress like a pi­o­neer or try out­door games of the ‘old days’ like hoop and stick, or the game of graces. Ex­cur­sions through­out the vil­lage in­clude a ‘How it’s made Ex­pe­di­tion’ and a ‘Day in the Life Ad­ven­ture’. Let’s not for­get vis­it­ing with the animals in­clud­ing horses, cows, goats, tur­keys and more in the barn­yard.

Ad­mis­sion ranges from $11 to $15 and there is a $7 fee for park­ing. The Vil­lage also of­fers mem­ber­ships start­ing at $60 for an in­di­vid­ual, which in­cludes un­lim­ited gen­eral ad­mis­sion and free park­ing plus a plethora of sav­ings on food, gift shop pur­chases and ad­mis­sion to spe­cial events and ac­tiv­i­ties.

No, it’s not time travel, but it’s prob­a­bly as close as I’ll get in my life­time. Make your RV a time ma­chine and visit them as well.

Daniel Flynn Boot and Shoe Shop c. 1858 – this small shop was orig­i­nally lo­cated on what was no doubt a busy thor­ough­fare – Yonge St.

BLACK CREEK PI­O­NEER Top: Laskay Em­po­rium 1856 – the gen­eral store and post of­fice was the hub for many small com­mu­ni­ties. Bot­tom: Rose Black­smith Shop c. 1855 – per­haps one of the most im­por­tant trades of the era, the build­ing con­tains an­brdick forge and anvil to make and re­pair car­riages, wheels and farm im­ple­ments.

TOP: Tay­lor Cooper­age c. 1850 - the sec­ond floor pro­vided plenty of stor­age for wood used to craft wooden fur­ni­ture and con­tain­ers. BOT­TOM: Doc­tor’s House c. 1830 – the house was orig­i­nally de­signed to hold two fam­i­lies with sep­a­rate en­trances for each. This made it per­fect for the doc­tor who could sep­a­rate his fam­i­lies’ liv­ing quar­ters from his doc­tors of­fice and pa­tient wait­ing room.

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