I was last in Toronto for Christmas 2000 when temperatures were well
If you're game for a day out in the cold then wrap up warm and head for
Black Creek Pioneer Village, one of Toronto's top historic attractions.
We took the subway to Finch station and then Bus #60 B, D or E.
The village is situated at 1000 Murray Ross Parkway at Jane
Street and Steeples Avenue, Yorkville.
Forget the 21st century with all its mod cons, refrigerators, freezers,
washing machines, dishwashers, microwave ovens, etc, and enter a replica
working village representing life just as it might have been in 19th
Century rural Ontario.
At the risk of repeating the word authentic too many times I have to
tell you that everything about the Village is as near authentic as
Costumed villagers go about their daily business using authentic tools
and methods. Replica stores, a mill, the printer's workshop, the clock
maker, authentically furnished homesteads, and public buildings reveal
times gone. Explore the
foundry, the Fisherville Church, the school, the Doctor's House, the
Town Hall, the tinsmith or the broom-maker's shop.
In the bitterly cold weather the cozy warmth of these homely buildings
was very welcome. In the Village hotel we were greeted by the smell of
home baking as we sampled delicious cheese buns straight from the oven.
In the mill spinners and weavers, using carefully preserved equipment,
demonstrated dyeing, quilting, tatting and other early crafts. There is
a fine choice of handicrafts produced by the villagers for sale to
Crafts demonstrated during our visit included harness making, baking,
tin engraving, flour milling, and broom making. I did not realize just
how much there was to see until we took the horse-drawn wagon on a tour
of the village.
The Masonic Hall, above the Tinsmith, is one of the older buildings in
the Village thought to date from the mid-nineteenth century.
At different times in its history it has been a dwelling, a
store, a tinsmith shop, and in the 1870's it was home to the newly
founded Blackwood Masonic Lodge. The Lodge occupied this building until
1899 when it moved to a new venue.
This building originally stood in Woodbridge, a short distance from the
Village, until the 1980's when it was in poor condition and about to be
demolished. However, the
Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority joined forces
with members of the Masonic Order and moved the building piece by piece
from its original site thus ensuring its preservation in the Village.
Inside the Masonic Hall displays relate the history of freemasonry in
Ontario. On the day of our visit there was a volunteer present to answer
our questions and tell the history of the Lodge.
Elga impatiently went ahead to see the Doctor's House (fully
accessible). This was of far greater interest to her with its display of
instruments that appeared more suited to torture than to medicine. The
Doctor would have had his own medicinal herb garden and this has been
recreated next to his house. You can just imagine the Doctor picking
herbs to make his medicines.
Herbs and vegetables played a major part in the lives of 19th century
settlers, and you can see several typical vegetable gardens. Most of the
vegetables currently grown at the Village were common in the 19th
century but they looked very different to what we might find in our
Even in the thick snow and bitterly cold temperatures we found the
energy to explore these extensive grounds. It was certainly a full day
out and very good value for money.
Creek Pioneer Village
Murray Ross Parkway
at Jane Street and Steeples Avenue
Subway: Finch then Bus #60 B, D or E
Admission: $9 adults; $7
seniors and students; $5 children (5 to 14 )
Children four and under - No charge
(Prices correct at time of writing.)
Seasonal times applya(416)
736 1733. Events a(416)
are 35 restored buildings to explore of which 12 are accessible to
wheelchairs. In the Visitors' Center washrooms are accessible and the
facilities were excellent. (I was advised to check on arrival which
buildings are accessible as adaptations are in progress.)