As listed in my Declaration of June as Ottawa Tourism Month post, we wanted to take the kids to Upper Canada Village. We did this on a gorgeous, sunny day last week and were lamenting not having done it sooner.
It’s about an hour drive south of Ottawa to get to the Village. There are over 40 buildings and it’s meant to represent what settlement life would be like in the 1860’s. Interpreters are in costume (all day, even in the very hot heat) and are more than willing to answer questions. Walk into the cobblers house, and see a man making leather shoes. Most of the village is a working one, which means the bread they make in the old kitchens is edible and done the same way it would have been done centuries ago.
It cost us about $40 to get in (family of 2 adults, 1 child over 2 and the baby. Children 2 and under are free). But if you search http://attractionsontario.ca/ there is a coupon available (buy 1 adult, get 1 child free).
What we liked:
Anywhere that is outside and has space just to walk around, or let the Boy run free gets high points in our books. We are history buffs, so we appreciate seeing the old houses, furniture, shops and the way things used to be done (before wireless laptops and laundry machines). My son really liked it. While he didn’t get the history, he liked seeing carriages being pulled by horses, gardens and the water. The village is set on the St. Lawrence River.
My husband and son took the horse-drawn boat ride (having trouble picturing that right? A horse pulls a rope attached to the boat along a walkway beside the water). He loved it.
Almost the entire village is wheelchair/stroller accessible.
The land is plentiful, so a few games of tag burned off some extra energy my son had, while I planted myself under a huge, shady tree to nurse the little girl.
Since we are already planning another trip, there wasn’t much we didn’t like. For a morning of historical, family fun, we thought the price was reasonable. The food is only mediocre, so had I been better prepared, I would have brought a picnic lunch to eat under the oak tree. There are also picnic tables around for such purposes. However, they do have a eat-in restaurant (we just did a grab and go place on site) that my husband had been to before and said it was pretty good.
Also, wear comfortable shoes as the Village is quite big and there’s lot of walking (unless you take the carriages and boat everywhere 😉 and since the carriages are all horse drawn, there may be some, um, droppings to watch out for.
Overall, I highly recommend a visit to the Village. Take your kids into the old school house where the schoolmaster, in costume and character, will teach them that children should be seen and not heard, and that no one can be left handed (leaving me in trouble!). Your kids may even appreciate their modern school life after it 😉
As an additional note, there is talk that historical, living museums like this are struggling financially. Please try to support something that we are so lucky to have so close to home.
(all pictures were taken by me)