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53rd Annual Pioneer Festival at Black Creek Pioneer Village


Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto's premier living history museum, will host the 53rd annual Pioneer Festival, Saturday, Sept. 19. The event, which typically draws up to 3,000 people to the Village for a day of fun, food, traditional music and more, is both a celebration of the rich history of Southern Ontario, and a traditional harvest festival. 
During the Pioneer Festival, the entire Village is taken over by various local historical societies, such as the Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire and the York Women's Institute. The Mennonite Central Action Committee will host a quilt auction to raise funds for Third World relief. And the York Chapter of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society will demonstrate traditional sausage-making techniques, which will be available along with fresh sauerkraut and apple butter.

"This is our only fundraiser of the year, and our members are involved long before festival day," said Marlene Mattson, Secretary of the York Chapter of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario. The group, which has been involved every year since the inception of the Pioneer Festival, organizes work bees in advance of the big day to prepare over 700 lbs. of sausages, along with sauerkraut and apple butter. "It's a lot of work, but we have no problems getting volunteers. Everyone loves this event."

The group will also bring it's Conestoga Wagon, a replica of an early Mennonite "Weaver Wagon" from Pennsylvania.

There will also be a farmers' market, a pie sale, demonstrations of candle dipping, and the Schneider Family will make apple cider in the Village's Cider Mill, (which originally belonged to their ancestors). Kids can compete for a prize in the annual Spelling Bee at Dickson Hill School.

Visitors can also check out some of Black Creek's Heritage Livestock breeds (livestock varieties which have become quite rare with modern farming techniques), and then, sample a cornucopia of traditional foods including borscht, rollkuchen, rosettes, pies of all varieties, butter tarts, fresh apple cider, corn on the cob, apple fritters, and more. Visitors can also enjoy a pint in the new Black Creek Historic Brewery. Opened to the public in June, Black Creek Historic Brewery is located in the heart of the village. Here we have recreated a working brewery, as it would have been in the mid-1800s. Our brewers, in period costume, handcraft the same ales and porters enjoyed in Ontario's country villages before Confederation.

"The Village is always bustling with people - taking in the history, the demonstrations and the traditional foods of 1860s Ontario," said Geri Smith, Marketing Supervisor, Special Events and Market Development, Black Creek Pioneer Village. "It's one of our most impressive events of the year."

The Pioneer Festival runs from 10:00 am to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 19 at Black Creek Pioneer Village. Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and students, and $11 for children 5-14, and includes full access to Pioneer Village. Black Creek Pioneer Village is located at 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto, (one block east of Jane St., south off Steeles Avenue, right next to York University).

About Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek Pioneer Village is Toronto's premier outdoor living history museum. Visitors can explore 40 heritage homes, shops and buildings restored to re-create an 1860s Ontario village. Historic interpreters in period dress demonstrate how villagers lived, worked and played. The Village hosts learning programs and special events that highlight local heritage and culture. The tranquil setting, rural landscapes, heritage gardens and period farm animal breeds make Black Creek Pioneer Village the perfect place to break out of the modern world and journey into the past. Located in north Toronto, Black Creek Pioneer Village is owned and operated by Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). For more information please visit


Press Contact:

Eric Philpott
philpott | communications
(905) 773-6651