All About The Village
Our costumed interpreters will be happy to tell you what life was like in the 19th century. Please ask them your questions and share your observations.
One Hour Tour:
Discovery Centre, Cook's Tavern, Crysler Hall, Loucks Farm, Gazette Printing Office and one of the mills (Flour Mill, Woollen Factory or Saw Mill).
Two Hour Tour:
Discovery Centre, Asselstine's Woollen Factory, Bellamy's Steam Flour Mills, Beach's Sawmill, Cook's Tavern, Crysler Store, Crysler Hall, Dressmaker's Shop, Loucks Farm, Gazette Printing Office, School House, Ross Farm and Blacksmith Shop.
Here is a description, in alphabetical order, of the historical buildings at Upper Canada Village:
Using the latest in machinery, Asselstine's factory transforms raw wool into yarn and blankets. The factory also provides custom services to local spinners and weavers. It shows the emergence of the new mechanized factory system.
In the large brick oven, the bakers produce bread from flour ground at Bellamy's Mills. Such a bakery required the business from railway, canals, or steamboat traffic to supplement local commerce.
Using a water-powered muley saw, this custom mill cuts lumber for the local market. Sawmills of this type were common and indispensable to a society largely dependent on wood for shelter.
Driven by either a water turbine or steam engine, this largely automated mill grinds flour and feed to meet the community's requirements.
The blacksmith shoes horses, repairs wagons, and fixes machinery for his enterprising neighbours. A good blacksmith was a "must" in the community.
The broommaker uses broom corn (Sorghum vulgare) imported from south of the border, to produce brooms for the local market. By the mid-19th century corn brooms had become popular because they were superior to those made from twigs, splints or corn husks.
In addition to making repairs, the cabinetmaker produces custom-made furniture and other wooden items for local customers. Hard pressed by large mechanized furniture and chair factories, he also assembles mass-produced parts to stay in business.
Built in 1837, this stately, white church houses the dignified, formal liturgy and music of the local Anglican congregation, one of the main Protestant denominations in the area.
The Tavern Keeper offers accommodation, food and beverages. Horses and carriages would have been rented. Small taverns such as this increasingly served a local clientele. Try our refreshing sarsaparilla or ginger beer.
Once the home of a prosperous landowner, this building houses many 19th century displays including the spectacular stained glass windows that once adorned St. John's Anglican Church of Crysler, Ontario and the stained glass windows painted and fabricated by the famous Harry Horwood for the J. P. Wiser mansion of Prescott, Ontario.
The store offers a wide range of goods and services required by the community. Storekeepers bought their wares from wholesalers in Montreal and acted as a local clearing house for rags, wool, firewood, and local produce. They often provided postal services.
The Upper Canada Village Discovery Centre offers brand new, state-of-the-art interactive exhibits that tell fascinating stories about life in 1860s along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. An exciting audio-visual show tells about the national importance of the Battle of Crysler's Farm and the War of 1812. The Discovery Centre is the perfect way to start your journey into the 1860s!
The dressmaker promises to outfit ladies in the latest fashions from London, New York or Paris. She would trim a hat or stitch garments so that they were both fashionable and practical for every occasion.
The Engine House shelters the "Queen", the Village's hand-pumped fire engine, and is the centre of activities for the local fire company. Mill owners often played a central role in obtaining firefighting equipment for their communities.
(Open July and August)
Visiting children have the opportunity to try their hand at 1860s pastimes. Games of strategy and chance, popular 19th century crafts and outdoor games such as races, skipping and kite flying are on the program.
The Gazette staff produces a newspaper complete with local news, advertisements, a literary column, agricultural advice and foreign news copied from the telegraph and other newspapers.
A fully operating progressive farm practicing a "mixed" type of agriculture. Loucks shows the use of horse-power for planting, haying and harvesting. Mechanization was beginning on the more established farms in this period.
Local Lutherans built a comfortable residence for their pastor, whose religious and moral teachings supported the piety of many German Protestants in this area.
Many communities in the 1860s had a lodge building where fraternities such as the Freemasons met for regular monthly meetings. Freemasons were especially active in promoting public and private morality and doing good works. The lodge was officially opened on June 21, 2008.
The weaver will be found spinning yarn or working at the loom, to produce flannel, carpet or other textiles. This was an important source of income for many families (wheelchairs please use the rear entrance).
The interpreter will discuss the role of the doctor within the community and the latest advancements in medicine. Many people continued to rely on less scientific remedies, on homeopaths, or midwives.
A meeting place for the local Episcopal Methodists, this chapel is the centre for Sunday school lessons, Charity Concerts and Temperance Meetings. Methodists were the most numerous denomination in Canada West.
The Robertson Home showcases a prosperous middle-class family whose Loyalist roots are evident in the furnishings and the early 19th century architectural style of the house.
The farmer earns his income by sawing firewood and at times, by selling coopering products such as wooden buckets. Cordwood was sold to the Grand Trunk Railway, to steamers on the St. Lawrence, local residents and local mills. The farm women performed household duties, including quilting as demonstrated indoors (wheelchairs please use the rear entrance).
The Common School, supported now by property taxes is open to all who want to learn, though attendance is not compulsory. Once there, a student is drilled in manners and morals as well as the 3Rs.
Shoemaking is one of the most common trades in the 1860s. Using hand tools and wooden forms called "lasts", the shoemaker makes and repairs a variety of leather boots and shoes on demand, including pegged "brogans", an example of of typical working-class footwear of the period.
The tower is a replica modeled after towers used during the War of 1812 to transmit naval military codes along the frontier. Most of these towers, made obsolete by morse code telegraph, were taken down or sold by the 1860s. Visitors can climb to the top for a panoramic view of the Village and river.
The farm family leases the land and relies on oxen and simple hand implements to complete their work. Many tenant farmers aspired to own their land once sufficient capital had been acquired.
The tinsmith makes a great variety of tinware for household and farm use. His bright, light and relatively inexpensive tinware was a popular replacement for pewter, wood and earthenware.
An increase in milk production led to the emergence of both privately owned and cooperative cheese factories by the 1860s. Canadian cheddar was produced for export and was a source of hard cash in a cash-starved economy.
Willard's Hotel was a popular overnight accommodation along the upper St. Lawrence River during the nineteenth century. Today the restored hotel is a period restaurant offering visitors to Upper Canada Village a rest stop where they may purchase meals typical of the 1860s served by staff in period costume.
For a complete description of each building in Upper Canada Village, click on their names or visit the Touring the Village page.