Upper Canada Village
is a heritage park
, which depicts a 19th century village in Upper Canada
Construction on the park began in 1958 as part of the St. Lawrence Seaway project. The Seaway required the permanent flooding of ten communities in the area, known as The Lost Villages. As a consequence, Upper Canada Village was incorporated as part of the project's heritage preservation plan. Many of the buildings in Upper Canada Village were transported directly from the villages to be flooded.
The park, owned and operated by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, was opened to the public in 1961.
Other buildings from the Lost Villages were moved to Ault Park, where they comprise a living museum run by the Lost Villages Historical Society.
The park also incorporates a memorial to the Battle of Crysler's Farm, a War of 1812 battle which also took place on land submerged by the Seaway project.
Upper Canada Village endeavours to depict life in a rural English Canadian setting during the year 1866. Featured at the site are over 40 historical buildings, including several working mills (woollen mill, grist-mill and sawmill) and trades buildings (blacksmith, tinsmith, cabinetmaker, cooper, bakery, cheese-maker). Farming is demonstrated through the growing, harvesting of processing of heritage vegetables & livestock. Aspects of late 19th-century domestic arts, social life, music, religion and politics are also discussed, interpreted and demonstrated at by staff dressed in clothing of the period.
The Heritage Buildings
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.
Bellamy's Flour Mill
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, 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.
Once the home of a prosperous landowner, this building houses various exhibits and an audio visual production which will assist you in orienting yourself to the 1860s and the programming on site. Don't miss the fascinating exhibit on the "Lost Villages".
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 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.
Family Activity Centre
(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. Workshops are also available.
Gazette Printing Office
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 practising 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.
Lutheran Pastor House
Local Lutherans built a comfortable residence for their pastor, whose religious and moral teachings supported the piety of many German Protestants in this region.
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.
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 prospereous 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.
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 3R's.
Shoemaking was a popular trade in the 1860s. Our shoemaker makes primarily men's brogues, a common style of work shoe during the mid-nineteenth century. Visitors can see, touch and learn about how these straight-lasted, wooden pegged work shoes in their various stages in their construction.
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.
Union Cheese Factory
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.
Upper Canada Village suggests the following tours if you are only able to stay for one or two hours:
One Hour: Cook's Tavern, Crysler Hall, Loucks Farm, Gazette Printing Office and one of the mills (Flour Mill, Woollen Factory or Saw Mill)
Two Hours: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
Morrisburg Airport is adjacent to the north end of the park, across the highway, and is available for use by visitors in small aircraft.
Upper Canada Village is open to the visiting public from approximately mid-May until early October.