Our fabulous National Historic Sites & Heritage Museums
By Natalie & Phil Monday, May 8, 2017
In this Canada150 year, there are lots of opportunities to celebrate Canada’s history and culture. Don’t forget about Ontario’s history though! We’ve been at the centre of a lot of interesting times and there are quite a few excellent Museums, Heritage Villages and Historical Sites which bring the past to life.
One of the best ways to understand how people lived in olden days is to visit a heritage village. Most heritage villages include a gathering of original buildings that have been restored and restaged to appear as they did when they were in use the first time. Sometimes, the buildings are actually collected from nearby, and moved to create a village. They often have costumed guides and storytellers to explain what you are seeing, as well as hands-on activities. Here are a few to visit: Westfield Heritage Village, Pickering Museum Village, Waterloo Region Museum & Doon Heritage Village & Lang Pioneer Village Museum.
Historical Sites and Museums:
Ontario has many historical sites, which focus on a particular theme or area. We are also extremely lucky to have Doors Open Ontario, where communities open the doors to >1,000 heritage sites for free experiences and activities (April–Oct). You can visit Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site to learn about an extraordinary abolitionist and the Underground Railroad. Meander through the Bytown Museum that tells Ottawa’s interesting story and is housed in the city’s oldest stone building. Or take a walking tour of beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL), starting June 1, to learn its fascinating history. Lambton Heritage Museum exhibits artifacts and tells stories of the Lambton region.
There were several major battles in Ontario and when you visit Fort George National Historic Site in NOTL, you can visit the oldest military building in Ontario and see what life was like (you can even watch a musket demonstration). The Canadian War Museum explores the wars of First Peoples, the French and the British which shaped Canada and Canadians, as well as those in which Canadians played a role internationally. Royal Canadian Regiment Museum celebrates this famous Regiment and works to enhance the pride that Canadians have in their military and its achievements.
Canada is known for its welcoming nature and for its mosaic of cultures. You can learn about other peoples through their food, through neighbourhood tours and through visits to some of their museums. Here are a few to experience: At the Aga Khan Museum, learn about Islamic civilizations & Shia Ismaili Muslim traditions of tolerance & understanding. At the Sharon Temple National Historic Site and Museum, former Quakers – known as Children of Peace – founded a society based on peace, equality and social justice & created a dramatic architectural testament to its vision. The Ojibwe Cultural Foundation celebrates Anishnaabek history, custom, cultural practices & belief.
We are very fortunate to live in this multicultural country and province. Enjoy exploring our own heritage and those of other cultures right here at home.
Shari & Elisa