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Black Creek Pioneer Village Turns 50

09/16/2010

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Black Smith at Black Creek

 

Black Creek Pioneer Village is celebrating its 50th anniversary! Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) opened Black Creek Pioneer Village in 1960 to tell the story of Toronto's pioneering roots to the public. When it first opened with seven historic buildings, it was still surrounded by farms and fields, but the Greater Toronto Area was changing rapidly, transitioning from rural to burgeoning urban centre. Recognizing that knowledge, traditions, and connections to Ontario's history were rapidly disappearing, TRCA led the effort to acquire land and preserve heritage buildings to re-create a 19th century rural crossroads village. The Village was created to foster an understanding of the past, educate and entertain, and inspire the future. Over the past 50 years, Black Creek Pioneer Village has grown to become one of Canada's best loved open air museums, with more than 40 restored heritage buildings, and welcoming more than 150,000 visitors a year as they step out of the present time to enter the world of 1860s Toronto.

 

Black Creek Pioneer Village is celebrating its 50th anniversary! Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) opened Black Creek Pioneer Village in 1960 to tell the story of Toronto's pioneering roots to the public. When it first opened with seven historic buildings, it was still surrounded by farms and fields, but the Greater Toronto Area was changing rapidly, transitioning from rural to burgeoning urban centre. Recognizing that knowledge, traditions, and connections to Ontario's history were rapidly disappearing, TRCA led the effort to acquire land and preserve heritage buildings to re-create a 19th century rural crossroads village. The Village was created to foster an understanding of the past, educate and entertain, and inspire the future. Over the past 50 years, Black Creek Pioneer Village has grown to become one of Canada's best loved open air museums, with more than 40 restored heritage buildings, and welcoming more than 150,000 visitors a year as they step out of the present time to enter the world of 1860s Toronto.

 

Black Creek Pioneer Village's Beginnings

 

Canada's pioneering spirit lies at the heart of Black Creek Pioneer Village. From the outset, this museum has focused on sustainability, on the impact humans have on the land, and the impact the land has on the humans who inhabit it. The first building acquired in 1954 was the massive and magnificent 1809 Schmidt Dalziel Barn, which still stands on its original location, and housed exhibits about agriculture. In 1958 an adjacent farm with two log houses, a grain barn, piggery, and smoke house were acquired. This farm originally belonged to Daniel and Elizabeth Stong, who settled on the property in 1816. The Stong farm became the nucleus of what is now Black Creek Pioneer Village. Other heritage buildings were carefully researched, selectively chosen, and moved, according to the master plan for the Village. Such buildings as the grist mill, school, town hall, general store, tinsmiths shop, print shop, and cabinet-makers shop were relocated, restored, and now provide insight into lost or disappearing arts and trades. Many of these exceptional historic buildings were slated for demolition had they not found new life and purpose at Black Creek Pioneer Village. Recent additions include the Black Creek Historic Brewery, which is a working craft brewery producing Black Creek Ale, and the launch of the 19th century Photographer's Studio.

 

"While the restored historic buildings are an excellent example of Ontario vernacular architecture and construction technique, the real magic of the Village is the living history - the creation of the sights, smells, and sounds, gardens, and farm animals, demonstrations and activities that transport visitors into a distant past and make meaningful connections to our lives today," said Marty Brent, General Manager, Black Creek Pioneer Village.

 

The Black Creek Pioneer Village Experience

 

Black Creek Pioneer Village combines education and entertainment to inspire and engage visitors. In the buildings, and surrounding gardens and farmyards, historical interpreters and trades people in authentic period dress will demonstrate and explain how people lived, worked and played in mid 19th century rural Ontario. This personal way of sharing knowledge of history and the past makes each new visit a new experience and is one of the reasons that keeps bringing visitors back to walk "through history".

 

The Village is also well known for its high quality school programming, and continues to introduce new elements, themed programs, and interactive fun for all ages, with growing emphasis on adults. The attraction offers adults some very unique and exceptional experiences, such as one-day apprenticeships with the brew master and the tinsmith, heritage baking, and specialty cheese and beer tastings at the Black Creek Historic Brewery.

 

"This is a legacy year for Black Creek Pioneer Village, a chance to look at what this special place means to Toronto," said Marty Brent. "Moving forward we will be looking at the next 50 years, to see what other valuable lessons in history we can bring to life for visitors of the future."

 

For a list of 50 must see things to experience at Black Creek Pioneer Village please contact rcalpito@trca.on.ca

 

To learn more about the benefits of a Black Creek Membership, support or volunteer please visit our website at http://www.blackcreek.ca

 

About Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek Pioneer Village is unique in Toronto: a place where visitors can step into another time and experience life as it was in early Ontario. Spanning more than 30 acres of pristine country landscapes, the Village is a living history experience featuring heritage buildings originating in communities across south central Ontario that has been faithfully furnished with original furniture and artifacts to re-create a rural 1860s Ontario community. Historic interpreters in period dress bring the experience to life, demonstrating how people lived, worked and played, and answering visitors' questions. It is located in north Toronto, close to the intersection of Highway 400 and Highway 7. It is owned and operated by Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). Funding for Black Creek comes from the TRCA's provincial and municipal partners, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the City of Toronto, admissions and sales, and through donations to The Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto. For more information, visit www.blackcreek.ca

 

About TRCA
With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity. For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at www.trca.on.ca

 

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Rowena Calpito
Supervisor, Media Management
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)
T: 416-661-6600 ext. 5632
C: 416-358-3446
E: rcalpito@trca.on.ca