Christmas at Black Creek Pioneer Village
With a rich program of seasonal activities, Black Creek Pioneer Village has become Toronto's premiere destination for the quintessential Christmas experience. Canadians of all backgrounds have been embracing the opportunity to discover the spirit of the season in a beautiful 19th century setting, complete with charmingly decorated homes and workshops from Ontario's past. With the new Gingerbread Village, Lunch with Santa, Christmas Dinner and perennial favourite Christmas by Lamplight, this year, more than ever, Black Creek Pioneer Village is Christmas for many Torontonians.
"I did not grow up celebrating Christmas as a child, yet, like most people in Canada, I have been exposed to Christmas themes throughout my life," said Marty Brent, General Manager of Black Creek Pioneer Village. "Here at the Village visitors can discover the roots of these traditions. It's lovely to experience that firsthand, and I must admit, it has become my favourite time of year here."
Christmas was not always a holiday but that began to change in the 1800s. Santa Claus, then called St. Nicholas, made his first appearance here in 1822. The first Christmas card appeared in 1843 and by the 1860s people in Toronto had come to see Christmas as special time to be spent with family and close friends. Back then, it was simpler: people enjoyed eating together, sharing music and going for walks. Because of the sentimental feelings associated with the season, Christmas was a popular time for weddings. Christmas dinners were the most important part of the celebration, and were often planned months in advance. Games, such as Blind Man's Bluff, Hide the Slipper, Twenty Questions and Snapdragon were popular forms of entertainment for young and old. Black Creek Pioneer Village brings that world to life again for a new generation of Canadians.
During the holidays, the Village is dressed up in its seasonal best. The decorations make extensive use of natural materials, such as evergreens and fresh fruit decorations, or things found in the home, such as cloth ribbons. Each heritage home reflects how different families would have celebrated Christmas. Guided walks on the weekends, such as the "Tour of Traditions," provide a glimpse into the customs that underlie our modern-day celebrations, and give visitors a chance to chat with historical interpreters in the Village. Other popular activities include Taffy Pulls, and "Christmas Feasts & Flaming Puddings" presentations where visitors can experience these traditions for themselves.
Every year Black Creek Pioneer Village crowns the season with its "Christmas by Lamplight" event taking place this year on the first three Saturdays in December. On these special evenings the site's historic buildings will be lit by the lustrous glow of two hundred antique lamps placed throughout the Village, along with candles, and - in some homes - a roaring hearth. Natural light was a special part of Christmas in the 19th century and visitors can experience this same magic at the Village. Just as it was in early Ontario, fiddlers will be playing in various buildings, there will be caroling, story telling and traditional treats such as roasted chestnuts, mulled apple cider, mincemeat tarts and real sugarplums.
"At this time of year, we are confronted with Christmas every day, whether or not it is a part of our own family traditions," said Geri Smith, Project Manager at Black Creek Pioneer Village. "Christmas at Black Creek is a chance for families to go beyond the shopping mall version of the season to something a little more interesting and more meaningful."
General day-time admission to Black Creek Pioneer Village is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and
students, and $11 for children 5-14. The Village is open to the public every day until Dec. 23, 2010. For pricing and times of special events, including Lunch with Santa, Sunday Christmas Dinners and
Christmas by Lamplight, visit www.blackcreek.ca/whats-on/
Black Creek Pioneer Village is one block east of Jane St., south off Steeles Avenue, right next to York
University. The Village is south east of Hwy 7 and Hwy 400. Parking is available on site.
From the Finch subway station using the Steeles 60 West route, or from the Jane Station using the Jane 35 route. Visit www.ttc.ca. York Region Transit has several options available. Visit www.yorkregiontransit.com
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philpott | communications
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 www.blackcreek.ca.