New Business Brings Magic Back To Toronto

imageIt’s just a bunch of Hocus pocus.” We’ve all heard that line a million times over the years; being made famous by legend Bette Midler; in the role of Winifred Sanderson in hit classic Hocus Pocus.

This along with many other productions, may have brought the beauty, history & mystery of witchcraft magic to the big screen, but it was always out of our grasp…unable to touch it and experience it for oneself.

Until now…

Thanks to the hard work, creativity and dedication of The Coven Wolf, including magical duo and power couple Otto Wolf and Star Wolf, the brand new Hocus Pocus Witchery & Lounge has opened its doors in the bustling city of Toronto.

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As a witchcraft/wiccan enthusiast my whole life, I couldn’t wait until this enchanting establishment opened its doors to the public…and on October 31st (what better day) I finally got my wish.

Entering the store, I was greeted kindly by the welcoming staff, who were more than happy to help me with all my questions and feed my curiosity. From the moment I entered, the one thing I was immediately blown away by was the authenticity of the store.

As my academic background was in nursing and healthcare, I have always been fascinated by the use of herbs for holistic purposes, but what intrigues me even more is their roots in the Wiccan Tradition. And without a doubt, Hocus Pocus Witchery does not disappoint with their collection of wonderful herbs for sale.

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With loose dried herbs, essential oils and many other herbal products, I was spoiled for choice, as my magical mind went into overdrive. Another wonderful thing I noticed about this area of the store was how traditional it felt, and how it symbolized the importance of magic within nature. For my readers and future customers of Hocus Pocus, who are eco-conscious, I was happy to be informed by owner Star Wolf, that they only harvest a small percentage from the original plant, to allow it to continue producing the required herb.

As you move through the store, you are able to appreciate the layout of the Witchery, as it almost felt like it a magical timeline; experiencing the origins of Traditional Wicca at the front, to more modern elements of Witchcraft in other areas.

imageThe amazing products to choose from are endless. And the best thing is, you don’t necessarily have to have prior knowledge to find something that catches your eye. Fashionable clothing, stone, crystal & gem pendants, candles, incense sticks, sage smudges, magically infused mist sprays for all your needs, colorful mugs for all them coffee and tea addicts and a vast collection of books on the history of witchcraft and beginners spell casting…are only a small glimpse into everything that the store offers its visitors.

But the owners and staff of Hocus Pocus Witchery have not stopped there. When one lives in the hectic city that is Toronto, you aim to find a haven where you feel relaxed and hidden from the outside world; one where you can sit down, relax and take the opportunity to appreciate the interesting and peaceful surroundings.

imageWhat more could you ask for, I ask? Coffee, Tea or possibly a cocktail? Check…check and check!!! They have it all. With a fully furnished cafe lounge, and recently opened bar… this place is a MUST SEE for Torontonians and visitors alike.

Admit it, we’ve all want to experience having a Butter Beer in the world of Harry Potter, maybe even tasted some of  Sally’s (Sandra Bullock) witchcraft remedies from her apothecary in movie Practical Magic, or what about tasting the magical cocktails made by barmaid/witch Freya Beauchamp (played by Jenna Dewan Tatum) in hit TV Show, Witches of East End? With eye catching decor and fun atmosphere of this new bar and lounge, you don’t need to dream anymore.

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Before leaving my new magical hideaway, I treated myself to a new read (Cunningham’s Book of Shadows), as well as a Citrine pendant and delicious Latte. What more could I want on a winter’s day? A eye-catching stone necklace, a hot beverage and a new page-turner for my collection.

Apart from being the largest spiritual store in the GTA and having wonderful array of products and services, the one thing I must highlight is how fantastic the staff are. They were super helpful with any questions I needed answering and so comfortable to chat to as I sat sipping my caffeine fix.

For anyone who has not heard or visited this fantastic new business yet, I would encourage you all to get down to 592 Queen Street West (Bathurst/Queen intersection) to see how amazing this gem of Toronto actually is.

Regardless of what background or spiritual path you are on, we all seek out a little magic in our lives. It’s what makes life that more beautiful. An inviting note written by the staff reads:

Hocus Pocus is a place where it does not matter what religion or spiritual path you follow.

We have created a space where there is no judgement. We understand that we are all on a path. We understand that all paths have mistakes, hurt, anger, fear, anxiety, every color of emotion. Our objective is to provide you the tools necessary to live a life filled with more of the higher emotions such as love, peace, understanding and patience.

We also believe that we are meant to be constantly learning and teaching. We have created an environment where we welcome questions and encourage that there are no rules only guidelines.

Spirituality is an individual journey, so different things will work for different people. We encourage everyone to visit and take in the clean, healing energy of our sacred space.

Contact details and business hours are as follows:

Hocus Pocus Witchery

592 Queen St. W.

Toronto, ON, Canada M6J 1E3

Tel: 416.703.0152

Email: hocuspocuswitchery@gmail.com

Opening Hours:

Sunday – Monday: 11am-8:00pm

Tuesday: 11am-8:00pm

Wednesday: 11am-8:00pm

Thursday: 11am-8:00pm

Friday: 11am-11:00pm

Saturday: 11am-11:00pm

I would like to take this moment in wishing The Coven Wolf, and the staff of Hocus Pocus the best of luck in the success of their new business. May it bring both you and the Toronto public much joy and happiness for the future to come.

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Bored? Don’t Be! Here are the Top 5 Things you should be doing right now.

As the summer break approaches the halfway mark, you can be one of two types of people; those who live to seek out more things while there is still time, and those who lie and wait for something to pull them out of their approaching autumn blues. Regardless of how proactive you are, it can be still very easy to miss the hidden treasures that surround you, and of course the great events that are ready to be experienced and the landmarks to be explored.

imageSpeaking solely for myself, I find pleasure in 5 simple things…Theatre, Literature, Fashion, Culture and Food. And when you thing about it…maybe these little moments of gratification could become yours too.

Everyone wants that feeling of happiness that comes from doing something you have always wished to do, finally getting that article of clothing you’ve had your eye on all this time, visiting a place of beauty, catching up with friends and family at your favorite cafe, or even reading a book that speaks to you personally.

For all the peeps back home, here are my TOP 5 THINGS happening right now:

1) THEATRE: It’s Wine O’ Clock at The Iontas Arts and Community Resource Centre, Castleblayney, County Monaghan

imageIt goes without saying that the Nuala and Noleen hype has got us all full of excitement and anticipation at what their next stunt, skit or on-stage show will be. One thing is for sure, they are sure to please us each time with their hilarious characters, and wild antics. Their latest show has went down a storm so far; with sell-out performances North and South of the Border, and now its coming to the Iontas in Castleblayney, to dish out tonnes of belly-aching laughs and moments of outright hilarity.

The show welcomes you to the craziest wedding of the year! Vera, the farmers wife who is so excited that her only son Seamus is getting married, has invited you all to the special day. Attending also are the farmers Pat and Eamon, the Bridesmaids, the Yummy Mummies, the Grannies, and of course Nuala and Noleen who are always looking for love. The shenanigans that go down and the situations each character find themselves in, will have you raising the roof with laughter and applause.

It all goes down FRIDAY 10th November @ 8PM. Get your tickets by clicking HERE.

 

 

2) FASHION: Couture Grandeur Newry Road, Crossmaglen (SUPER SUMMER SALE)

Ladies and Gents…correct me if I’m wrong, but we all aim for a little sprinkle of magic when it comes to our wardrobe selection, and love to know how smart, cute, sexy, handsome or sophisticated we look in a new number we have just added to the collection.

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In the words of fashion supermodel Miranda Kerr“…fashion doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated – just worn with grace and confidence.”

And what better place to embrace your inner style goddess than at Couture Grandeur. Even better, word has traveled my way that their SUMMER SALE has now started. Yes, you heard right people, prices have been slashed to Up To 70% OFF summer stock, as well as well as dresses and formal wear by up to 50% OFF.

 

We all love a great deal…even better when you’ve had your eye on something for so long, and now its right at your finger tips for a fabulous, affordable price. As you may all know, Couture Grandeur fashion has been racking up wonderful recognition for Best Dressed Ladies at the official races in Ireland, and now these award winning pieces could be yours, at a fraction of the original price.

 

And fret not people…there are shoes also. This is my ultimate weakness…my Kryptonite in many ways. Who can have ‘enough’ shoes? Not me, that’s for sure. And with this footwear being reduced to 10,15 and 20 pound, I am just jealous that you are able to avail of this opportunity, when I am thousands of miles across the ocean.

With Couture Grandeur going from strength to strength, I cannot wait to see what awaits the public for the Autumn/Fall Line. Until then… get down there and GET SHOPPING, whilst this incredible stock lasts.

 

3) CULTURE: Castlewellan Forest Park & Peace Maze in Castlewellan, County Down

Each time I see photographs of this historical and natural wonder, I am in awe of the beauty of how much it has to offer. For many people, we take these tourist attractions for granted, or even dismiss them, as we know little about their history or origins.

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However, as home to one of Northern Ireland’s most famous lakes, a stunning Victorian Castle, incredible panoramic views, scenic walking trails, 27km of Mountain Bike Trails, Nature Park perfect for the kids, an onsite multi-activity centre, a breath-taking hedge maze and equestrian centre, Castlewellan Forest Park boasts all of this and more; making it a must-see for all ages.

imageThe castle itself is an architectural treasure and to me, the perfect set for Hollywood movies. With the beauty of the surroundings, anyones creative ideas would spring to life on their first visit to the 19th Century stronghold. However, the main attraction that has everybody talking, has to be The Peace Maze. The Peace Maze is located on the grounds of the castle, and is in fact one of the largest permanent hedge mazes in the entire world. The maze represents the path to the peaceful future of Northern Ireland. Planted in 2000, it is now the intended height for public enjoyment. Visitors are encouraged to enter the maze and try to make their way to the centre, where a bell awaits to be rang. The hedge maze is a wonderful representation of how agreement and harmony can be achieved, if you put your mind to it, be open of the challenges that lie ahead, accept your mistakes and move on to achieve a common goal.

This is a definite must see for not only natives but visitors too. More information can be found by clicking HERE.

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4) LITERATURE: The Waiting Tree by Lindsay Moynihan

Huh? The Waiting Tree, I hear you ask? I know, I thought the same too. Not once did I ever see this book advertised on the shelves back home, or even in the book stores of Toronto. But thanks to the generosity of a close friend, she kindly gave me this novel to read…and since starting it, I cannot put it down.

This incredible book is the story of 18 year old Simon Peters, who falls in love with Stephen Levesque. When Stephen’s parents discover that they have been having a romantic relationship, they ship him of to Christian Center to “see the error of his ways” and be “normalized.”

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But Simon can’t let him disappear from his life.  He needs him and ‘the heart wants what the heart wants.” With his parents recently deceased and his brothers picking up the responsibility to raise the rest of the family, Simon’s mute twin, Jude, shows him that the secret to setting him free, lies within a tree at the bottom of their garden…The Waiting Tree.

imageThe Waiting Tree is a wonderful book for anyone to read, but especially for those struggling to come to terms with their feelings of who they are. Whether you are from a small community who doesn’t accept you, or from a family who fails to make peace with your happiness, there is always comfort in the written word. Stories have a way of helping us find hope, whether it is fictionalized or not. And this is no exception.

 

5) FOOD: Jackie’s Cafe at The Market Square, Dundalk, County Louth

Still to this day, I am so glad I came across this gorgeous, chic-style cafe on a day out with my mum. In an area we always frequented, we never seemed to venture beyond its doors, as it was always so busy during the mid-day coffee rush and lunch breaks.

But to my delight, we finally got to try it out and since then, I would not go to any other cafe in Dundalk for a bite to eat.

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Not only is the selection of food wonderful; appealing to everyone, but it tastes unbelievable as well. With warm daily specials, as well as a huge selection of salads, sandwiches, deserts, coffees and teas, baked goods and gluten free/vegetarian options, this culinary gem is a must stop on every visit to the town.

For the extremely reasonable prices, the portions are so generous, that you are genuinely satisfied for the whole day. But most of all, its the staff that brings the customers back again and again. They cheerful attitude and friendly manner is so obvious when you enter the establishment, that you are already subconsciously planning your next visit before you even order. My favorite part of all my visits is the one thing  that clientele love, and that is how staff remember you personally. With each visit, your time there is individually personalized and you are made feel welcome and appreciated.

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When I moved to Toronto, the one thing I wished to take with me was Jackie’s Cafe, as nothing has beaten it yet in the 16 months I have been away…so that just shows how good it is.

Next time you are in Dundalk, make sure to drop by and see for yourselves why this place is as good as it sounds.

SO THERE WE GO MY IRISH FAIRY FOLLOWERS, MY TOP 5 THINGS TO DO RIGHT NOW. GET GOING AND SEE WHICH ONE OF YOU GETS TO EXPERIENCE ALL 5 OF MY FAVORITES.

xoxoxoxo

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Ireland’s “Answer To Alcatraz” leading Irish Tourism to Success

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Yes, you heard right people. Ireland has opened the doors of one of the oldest and most infamous prisons on our Emerald Isle. Despite tourism delights such as Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin City and Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast, racking up hundreds of thousands of visitors per year, there has been one historical prison that remained in the shadows during these time. But not anymore? The gates to Spike Island Fortress and Prison are now open to the public, for all tourists and enthusiasts of the dark stories that surround such a place.

But many of you may be asking…what is Spike Island? Where is Spike Island? And…why have I never heard of Spike Island?

Spike Island is an island of the coast of Cork City, which dates right back to the 6th Century, where a monastery once stood upon its beautiful land; surrounded by the waters of Cork Harbour.

In the late 18th Century, the British built several military barracks on the island and also a series of forts, after seeing all the potential this isle had to offer. But by the turn of the 19th Century, times were changing, intolerance brewing and the crime rates at a serious high. It was not long before a Victorian prison was to be built on the island, becoming the largest ever jail in the history of Ireland and Britain.

The jail itself could hold over 2300 prisoners at one time, and by “hold,” this does not mean by comfortable standards, in the slightest. With city and town jails housing individuals of petty crime, these numbers quickly started to rise with the arrival of the potato famine. Spike Island Prison was designed to hold those prisoners of more serious crimes, with thousands of them being transported to British colonies across seas, such as Tasmania, Bermuda and Australia. Here, these men, women and children were sold to prospective buyers, becoming servants and slaves for the early settlers.

imageMany of the prisoners were subjected to hard, intensive labour, whilst awaiting the approaching transportation ships. Many people died even before the sails were cast; severely malnourished, and there were a number of those who took their own lives to escape the fate that was to follow.

However, the range of crimes that brought about imprisonment in this fortress were extensive. According to the book, Too Beautiful For Thieves and Pickpockets by Barra Ó Donnabháin and Cal McCarthy, an orphan named John Power, who was so badly brutalized by the authorities down through the years, he ended up killing a prison warder in Waterford, and was subsequently imprisoned for this. On the other hand, an upper class artist from Dublin called William Burke Kirwan, also passed through Spike Island’s gates…this time for the crime of murdering his wife. He spent a great portion of his sentence at the prison, and it wasn’t until 30 years later that he returned to Ireland, after the shame of being transported to Bermuda.

imageThe prison closed in 1883, but still remained under British rule, where troops still positioned themselves. But the history did not even stop there. A claim to fame that the Island is happy to boast about, is its connection to famous explorer Percy Fawcett; who was an employee at the War Office on the island from 1903-1906. He spent his whole life searching for the lost cities and kingdoms of South America. However, by 1914,  he had whittled down the search for an ancient kingdom hidden deep within the Amazon, which he called Z. It was not until 1925, when his expedition set off after becoming convinced of its location. But Percy never returned. What could have happened to Spike Island’s explorer? Did he find the City? Did he die looking for it? Did cannibals murder him, or did he join a tribe like many suggest? Others even believe that he may have been killed by nature itself, as he was always fascinated by the myths of giant anacondas. The story of such an expedition still makes people curious, and this month the movie adaption, Lost City of Z, starring Robert Pattinson and Charlie Hunnam was released, telling the story of the ill-fated explorer.

Despite this intriguing connection, Spike Island was finally given back to the Irish people in 1938, which may surprise some who would have thought the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922 would have sealed this deal…but it did not. Since then, the island became home to several settlers and businesses, but still it lay in the shadow of the abandoned prison.

However, in 2015, Cork City Council, in conjunction with Failte Ireland, opened its doors to visitors and tourists, allowing people to see, for the first time, what “Ireland’s Answer To Alcatraz” was really like. In fact, many may not know this, but Alcatraz is small in comparison to Spike Island Prison; for the San Francisco attraction sits on a small 22 acre island, whereas Spike Island spans an enormous 104 acres. Pretty impressive, huh?

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In 2015, the prison welcomed 32,000 curious tourists and the numbered continued to rise. And thanks to a €6 Million investment in June 2016, the entire prison and surrounding buildings were able to be transformed into the fantastic tourist attraction, which we have all been waiting for. With tourist numbers expected to increase to well over 100,000, I know where I will be heading to once I come home from Toronto.

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The opening season for 2017 is from March to October. For only €18 or less, you can purchase a ticket to take you from Kennedy Pier in Cobh, County Cork across the harbour to Spike Fortress, which actually covers the entry and tour itself. Tickets can be purchased at the kiosk at the Pier, but to save time, can be pre-purchased online, by clicking HERE. Coffee shops are located on the island, to make you trip with family and friends even more enjoyable.  They offer School Tours which would prove to be an enjoyable and educational experience for end of Primary school tours, or history class outings at high school. HINT HINT TEACHERS!!!

And for the more curious and brave individual, who likes things that go bump in the night, they also offer the choice to attend the Spike Island After Dark Tour, where you will hear of the scary tales of gruesome crimes and punishment, as well as taking a step along the abandoned cell blocks, where the chill of its former inhabitants still linger.

For more information on Spike Fortress, its history, tour information and how to get there, you can do so by visiting the official website, http://www.spikeislandcork.ie/.

Ireland is such a fantastic little island to live and visit, and with tourist spots like this NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS, it won’t be long until this popular prison attraction will be competition for all others worldwide.

Embrace the Irish Spirit, our history and spread the word. This is a MUST-DO on your next road-trip to County Cork.

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Whistle While You Work: The Steam Whistle Brewery Review

imageAs an Irish person living in the metropolis that is Toronto, it is impossible to escape the typical stereotype that comes with our nation’s territory. Known for being big party people, up for a laugh, and of course our fondness for a few sociable drinks, this image is something we pride; as this positive and harmless nature is adored by others.

So what better way to embrace the “Paddy” in me than to visit Toronto’s famous Steam Whistle Brewery, for a guided tour of its history and operations.

In Ireland, we have come to call Guinness “The Black Stuff,” but today I am moving further afield and introducing my taste buds to “The Golden Stuff.”

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Situated within The Roundhouse at 255 Bremner Blvd; beneath the shadow of the CN Tower, lies the Steam Whistle Brewing company itself. Originally built as a repair facility for steam trains in Downtown Toronto, this building played a huge role in helping to pioneer this great nation in times of development and discovery. And despite changing both product and purpose in later years, the Building stills provides many jobs to the city and continues to encourage Canadian innovation and promote creativity.

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The dream to create a memorable, premium Pilsner beer that Toronto could claim as it’s own and be proud of, first started when its founders Greg Taylor, Cam Heaps & Greg Cromwell set out on a canoe trip in the springtime of 1998. Here, they discussed at lengths their hopes and aspirations to one day own their own brewery, and create a Pilsner that would compete with already established beers and lagers across the world. And in the year 2000, this dream became a reality, when they opened for business and the “Steam Whistle was Born.”

 

imageAs I walked up to the Brewery, I remarked on how well maintained the building and it’s surrounding grounds were. The large red brick brewery, had fantastic period-style windows, typical of most factory buildings from 1930’s-1950’s. As I stepped through the doors, you could appreciate how the architecture ensures a perfect tourist experience. The layout has allowed the light from outside to illuminate the visitor reception and gift shop, making it feel refreshing, and both open & cosy at the same time.

Booking in for my 3pm slot, I met up with the rest of my group, who all happily chatted to each other, prior to the commencement of the tour. With a TOOT TOOT of the classic steam whistle horn behind the bar, the tour was set in motion and we were introduced to our fantastic tour guide Max.

imageAfter a complimentary bottle of Steam Whistle, our guide firstly told us how the beverage was created; by explaining to the group the brewing process, as well as the vital ingredients needed to make it happen. The smells, sounds and tastes awaken your senses within the brewing chamber, which only help to enhance the tour experience. Later we moved into several other rooms, where brew master decisions were made, as well as the bottling, canning, packing and distribution rooms. With 88,000 bottles produced per day, you can only imagine the amazing scenes that this number of green bottles look like… It was like walking into the Emerald City of Oz.

imageAs the guided tour concluded, Max encouraged us to ask any questions we had, which was really helpful and informative. If the tour wasn’t good enough already, we then got given another sample of Pilsner on Tap. With it’s smooth, refreshing taste, it was the perfect beverage on this hot day in Toronto.

In conclusion, the Steam Whistle tour was so enjoyable and a great way to spend my day off. As a person who loves a bit of history and sociable outings with friends, the brewery is a great way to put these two together.

You could only imagine my devastation, however, when I found out that this Pilsner is not sold back home in Ireland. But I do believe that someday it will. With the success of it already here in Canada, the only way is up. And when you think of it, with its beautiful, eye-catching green bottle and can, where else would it look better, than in the Emerald Isle? I’ll just have to make sure to raise a bottle of it on the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations next year, here in Toronto.

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But I must say, the tour and brewery itself would not be the success that it is, if not for the fabulous people that work inside. Our tour guide Max, was a wealth of information and with her fun personality, witty humour and welcoming manner, she was a delight to all the visitors. She had an infectious energy, which you couldn’t help but admire.

Also, I must give credit where credit is due for a second employee. As a writer, it is imperative as to how any story begins, develops and ends. The same goes for all interactions we have with others, especially in the tourism industry. I met a girl called Sarah working at the ticket desk as I first entered. She graciously greeted me and explained the offers that were available. Her warm, cheerful and bubbly personality make her an asset to the company.

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Whilst browsing the gift shop, Max and Sarah kindly agreed to have a photograph taken. As I thanked them, and waved goodbye, I realised that the Steam Whistle Brewery is definitely a gem within Toronto’s Tourism industry. For tourists, natives and everyone in between, make this attraction a MUST SEE on your to-do list.

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For more information on how to visit this attraction and where this beverage is sold, the official website can be found by clicking Here.

A Step Back In time: Black Creek Pioneer Village REVIEW

bc 1Now 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

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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)

bc 3I 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.

bc 4But 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.

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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.

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 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.bc 11

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

Well Deserved.

Black Creek Village shoots