Now we all wonder; from time to time, of what life would have been like hundreds of years ago: what would our jobs have been, was life hard, and ultimately, would we have even survived?
With my love of everything historical and a deep interest in pioneer life, I find myself day-dreaming occasionally about how if I had one wish, I would probably use it to travel back in time and experience this life for myself…minus the wars, influenza and diseases of course. But that’s silly of me, isn’t it? Other than books, journals and documentaries; how would this ever be possible. Well folks…it sure is.
Since arriving here in Toronto, I set out without the slightest bit of hesitation, to find all the best tourist attractions that the city and surrounding areas had to offer. Searching high and low, I sought out something that was not only enjoyable, but something that was informative, memorable and possessed that certain Je ne sais quoi.
When I came across an advertisement in the local tourist office for Black Creek Pioneer Village, I knew immediately that this was something not only I would enjoy, but something every age group would love. Located in Toronto’s North-West Region, at 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, M2J 2P3, Toronto, lies a village frozen in the mid 19th century. Houses, schools, meeting halls, churches, mills and several trade stores are just a small example of what is on offer here at Black Creek.
As soon as I stepped through the entrance to the village, my senses went into over-drive. The sounds, the smells, the buildings and the staff (who, by the way, make the experience even more realistic by dressing in the attire of the time), all played a huge part in helping you to immerse yourself into what life was like in rural Toronto during that time.
“In the buildings, and surrounding gardens and farmyards you will find historical interpreters and trades people in authentic period dress who will demonstrate and explain for you how people lived, worked and played in mid 19th century rural Ontario.” (Black Creek Pioneer Village Quote)
I got to perform several tasks whilst I was here, like learning how to make brooms in the broom-makers shops, how early settlers used natural products they found around them to dye their fabrics a desired colour, how early printing presses designed each page of a newspaper and also learning of the instruments that doctors used on their patients, to cure them of their ailments.
You couldn’t help but admire the fascination of the younger generation, as they eagerly asked the staff several questions on what life would have been like for them, if they lived during this time. Their inquisitive nature even answered some questions I had about the village…which can be quite helpful for the shy adult.
But the village is not only a collection of buildings, with actors inside. The village houses artifacts that go back hundreds of years, including doll houses of such intricate detail, suitcases of the poor, home children and records of all the residents that lived in this wonderful community.
From beginning to end, there was a buzz in the air. Every age group you could think of were entering each building and showing incredible interest in the historical expertise and knowledge each interpreter provided. Being from Ireland, I found myself drawn to the stories of those families from my side of the world, like the Flynn Family of County Fermanagh in Ireland, and the Mackenzie Family from Scotland.
However, the highlight of my visit here has to be the Black Creek Historic Brewery. I know, what a cliche, a Irish person loving a brewery… but its true. Set deep in the cellar of the beautiful halfway house, lies the historic brewery and its selection of fine ales, prepared on site; using methods from 19th century times. For only $5, you get to try three different ales, which in my opinion, you will love. It is just another way to transport back in time, and is unquestionably a great treat for the adults after a long, hot day.
Before I forget I must say that the staff are truly what makes the village a success. They are so warm, charming, informative and funny, and are the reason why people will come back time and time again. A special shout out is required to KT Bryski and Blythe Haynes who are a great asset to this attraction. Both girls are queens at dramatically interpreting this period, and every interaction I had with them was full of laughter, cheerfulness and fun. KT is also an accomplished author and podcaster, and her novels can be purchased in the gift shop, as well as in Indigo BookShops and on Amazon.ca.
Blythe is a fantastic actress, who never fails on delivering a fun, professional and memorable performance in every project she takes on. And if you want a weekly giggle, click here to access the official twitter page, to see Blythe trying out 19th century tasks direct from Black Creek, in the #BlytheTries videos. These videos show exactly how entertaining and humorous your meeting with Blythe will be.
As I left the village on that hot summer afternoon, I was already planning my next visit. Just before I left I paid the gift shop a visit, which made me fall in love with the Toronto attraction even more. With a vast selection of not only Canadian gifts, but gifts hand-crafted in Black Creek Pioneer Village itself, it was like a treasure trove to me. I bought gifts and sent them home to Ireland, which were greeted with amazement upon arrival. Also, the staff in the gift shop are absolutely amazing. Their helpfulness and welcoming nature are such a treat during your visit to the heritage museum.
Since my first visit here, I have come back twice again with many of my friends, who have all enjoyed the experience immensely, and plan on coming back again at a later time themselves. The historic interpreters even joked upon my third visit that I could start taking people on a tour of the village myself;; seeing that I have been here so much.
But it is not just me who enjoys visiting over and over again. Reading the reviews online is a glimpse into how popular this attraction is, with families and friends coming back several times a year to relax and take in the atmosphere of this serene landscape. Even celebrities like Katy Perry, who has visited on occasions, say that Black Creek Pioneer Village is a MUST SEE during any visit to Toronto.
So if you want to attend something that will have you talking about it for months later, head on over to Black Creek Pioneer Village. It’s a sure winner in pleasing everyone and creates fond memories for families, friends, siblings, history enthusiasts and many more.
Tickets can be purchased at the attraction or you can click here to buy tickets online prior to your visit.
THE ENTERTAINMENT FAIRY GIVES A MAGICAL…
5 STAR RATING TO BLACK CREEK PIONEER VILLAGE