by Stephanie Malek
I first went to Black Creek Pioneer Village as a child. A staple of Toronto District School Board's curriculum is studying life in Canada during confederation, so it makes a lot of sense why school children would visit the village, which is filled with original buildings from the 1860s (approximately) that have been restored and refurnished to represent life during that time. I remember going with my class and pulling wool, making a cool toy out of tin, and thinking the Blacksmith was scary. I forgot about the village for several years, until one day randomly my dad wanted to go. Being super into history, and always up for a laugh, I went along and had the best time! I couldn't even believe that it was so fun!
I already know what you're probably thinking - SNOOOOORE STEPH. THIS IS BORING!
NO! WRONG! History is cool and living museums are COOLER!
Black Creek has been trying to make itself more interesting for years now, and IT'S WORKING!
Now, before this sounds too much like a marketing campaign for Black Creek, I want to clear something up - I don't work for Black Creek. I volunteer for their Christmas programming to do carolling every year with my dad (and now my boyfriend too!) as part of my holiday tradition. As such, I spend a decent amount of time at the village and am just sharing my love with you, the blog reader.
OKAY! Cleared up! Back to business.
#1 thing I love about BCPV: It's gorgeous. This is just a random tree by a random building (not even one of the main buildings!) during the fall. Insane, right? The whole village is filled with beautiful little spots like this, or the little pond next to the Robson Mill, or the garden beside the Doctor's house! BEAUTIFUL.
#2 thing I love about BCPV: The buildings (except Burwick House). Each building represents a different profession, or social economic class. You get to hear wonderful stories about what each house is set up to represent, and the interpreters can answer loads of questions.
Now you're probably asking yourself why I specify that I don't like Burwick House. That place is damn haunted! I volunteered as an interpreter (dressing up in the costumes and telling people about the buildings) for 6 months and was placed in Burwick House to discuss the role of women in Victorian Canada. Cool, right? I thought so too until for some reason every time I went in this damn house I felt uneasy and tense. I worked there for a little bit feeling all sorts of off until one day a lady came in and was telling me about how haunted the house was and how there were three ghosts upstairs and they were NOT NICE GHOSTS. Heck to the no. You can read more about the BCPV ghosts here, but from that day on I couldn't make myself go upstairs and the only place I felt okay was in the kitchen (which was actually a recreation of the original kitchen and not original to the house). Yes, I'm crazy.
Sorry - I'm okay now.
#3 reason I love BCPV: BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER. Around the time I was volunteering as an interpreter, the village started their brewery in the basement of the Halfway House. They have recreated a mid-1800's brewery and brew beer the same way it would have been done back then! You can sign up for a tour to learn more about it, and even get to taste what the beer was like (it's more like wine than beer to me but still tasty!). If you can't make it out, many LCBOs also carry Black Creek Pioneer Beer.
For the extra nerdy, you can also do the ultimate experience - dress up in period-wear and brew beer yourself! My dad likes beer and the village so I figured it would make a perfect gift one year!
I love learning about history and every time I go to the village, I learn something new. It's TTC accessible and I would say no matter what age you are, you can have a good time if you're willing to get in the spirit!