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 December 2008 - Nr. 12

Merry Christmas and the best of Seasons from Echo Germanica

Seasonal Traditions from Yesteryear Come to Life at Toronto’s Premier Living History Museum

Toronto ... Black Creek Pioneer Village, will once again be dressed up in its seasonal best, offering visitors the opportunity to experience authentic Christmas traditions of 19th century Ontario. ‘Christmas Remembered,’ a favourite annual event for many visitors to the Village, runs from November 22 through December 31, offering a wonderful opportunity to experience the origins of many of the holiday customs we still see today.

The whole Village is decorated with wreathes, ribbons, Christmas trees, and festive spreads - all historic traditions which have continued into the present. On weekdays a full slate of programming and activities are available, including guided tours, the ‘PastPort to the Past’ for children, and more. Christmas Remembered is also very popular with school groups.

The weekends offer expanded programming including the perennial favourite ‘Tour of Traditions’ at 11:30 a.m. which ends with a lively round of ‘snapdragon.’ A favourite Christmas game, snapdragon started with raisins in a bowl with brandy poured over the top. The brandy was then lit, giving off a ghostly blue flame and participants took turns reaching into the flames grabbing raisins to eat. Surprisingly it doesn’t hurt at all - if you do it quickly! Another presentation, ‘Christmas Feasts and Flaming Puddings’ at 3:30 p.m. is also very popular and includes tastings. Other treats from original 1800s recipes are available for sampling and visitors can buy warm apple cider and mincemeat tarts.

As he does every year, Father Christmas will stroll around the Village chatting with visitors and telling the story of how he came to be - and how he evolved into the Santa Claus we know today.

"I love the atmosphere of the Village at Christmas," said Wendy Rowney, Coordinator of Historic Programs at Black Creek. "In the age of shopping malls and gift certificates, this comes a lot closer to the way many people would like to enjoy Christmas." By the 1860’s, the period represented at Black Creek, many of the seasonal customs we have today were beginning to take shape, such as Christmas trees, Santa Claus, the Christmas dinner. According to Rowney: "these were above all family traditions, rather than religious ones. Christmas Remembered at Black Creek Pioneer Village is a wonderful opportunity for Canadians of all backgrounds to discover and enjoy a charming piece of local history."

Wagon rides are offered from noon until close every Sunday during Christmas Remembered. "It’s a great way to get a tour of the Village,"

said Viola McPhee, Head of Livestock at Black Creek. "People enjoy the sound of the horses and feeling the cold air. It’s so different from the ways we travel today. I recommend that people start off with a wagon ride. Afterwards they can walk around visiting the places that looked interesting."

‘Christmas Remembered’ runs from November 22 to December 31, 2008. On weekdays the Village is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on weekends from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission to Christmas Remembered is included with the price of general admission: $13 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $9 for children 5-14. The Village is open to the public every day until December 31, 2008, except December 25 and 26. The Halfway House Restaurant is open daily through December during the lunchtime.

During December, Black Creek Pioneer Village is also presenting two special ticket events: Christmas by Lamplight (Saturdays - December 6, 13, 20) and Sunday Christmas Dinners (December 7, 14, 21). To purchase tickets for Christmas by Lamplight, or to make Sunday Christmas Dinner reservations, call Black Creek Pioneer Village at 416-736-1733 ext.5331.

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). To learn more about Christmas events at Black Creek Pioneer Village visit

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


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