The Ghost of Christmas Past

  • Nov 30, 2015
  • 348 words
  • 2 minutes
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For much of the year, Upper Canada Village works its magic as a “visual tour through time.” It’s touted as one of the largest living-history sites in Canada, with good reason. More than half a century ago, 40 historical buildings—many of which were rescued from the Lost Villages that were submerged to make way for the St. Lawrence Seaway—were carefully transported to a setting on County Road 2 on the banks of the St. Lawrence River near Morrisburg, Ontario. Here, they became integral pieces in a vibrant real-life portrait of rural English Canadian life in the 1860s. A working bakery, sawmill, tavern and livery, dry goods store and farms are all brought to life via historically accurate detail, as people in period costume play out the daily lives of community members. This re-enactment of Canadian history has inspired generations of Canadian school kids.

During the holiday season, the village does it up right. Christmas, after all, is all about tradition, and there’s no better place to start one than with an annual visit to Upper Canada Village. For four weekends in December, the Alight at Night Festival is the site of a winter wonderland that the whole family will enjoy. (Snow is not essential to the experience, though it’s a nice touch.) There’s old-fashioned carolling at Christ Church, a sound and light show at Crysler Hall, which is dressed up as Saint Nick’s Merry Mansion for the duration, and—new this season—a mistletoe maze, built with white-wrapped bales of hay to simulate blocks of snow. The maze is right next to the Alright at Night Ferris wheel, where visitors enjoy a spectacular view of the village from on high.

Enjoy tasty seasonal fare at any of several restaurants, from cinnamon rolls at the bakery to a traditional turkey dinner at Cook’s Tavern. And don’t leave without some holiday shopping at the Village Store, which offers a wide selection of artisan-made wares from tin ware to beautiful woollen blankets. See you next year?

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