Monday, June 27, 2011

Upper Canada Village is 50 Years Old

This past Saturday, the historic Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ontario celebrated its 50th Birthday!

Opened in 1961, it consists of building rescued from the flooded land when the St. Lawrence Seaway was built in the late 1950s. It has seen over 12-million visitors since it opened.

The village contains a sawmill, gristmill, cheese factory, farm and agricultural shops, furnished homes, churches, a general store, tavern and other historic buildings depicting a typical 19th century village along the water.

I visited the Village a number of years ago, and found it to be so interesting. I especially remember seeing the woollen mill, the cheesemaking building, and the church. I can say from a personal point of view, if you wish to see what Ontario was like in the 19th Century, and the kind of life your ancestors lived, a trip to Upper Canada Village should be the one place to visit this summer.

The former visitor center (Crysler Hall) was opened Saturday as the new exhibit area, and a new visitor centre is being built, and expects to be open in July.

The website is

Newfoundland and Labrador Discovery Day

Discovery Day is a provincial holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador, celebrated on the Monday nearest June 24th - and this year, it's the 27th of June – today!

It is a commemoration of the discovery of the province in 1497 by John Cabot. Since 1997, it has also been known as Cabot 500 Day.

Cabot left Europe on May 20, 1497 with one ship, the Matthew. He landed on the American east coast on June 24, 1497. We do not know exactly where he landed (could have been Cape Breton, or Maine), but he went ashore, and took possession of the land. He left on or about July 20.

On his return to England, he was given a patent for a new voyage to North America the next year, and he left in 1498, this time with five ships. But he was never heard from again, and except for one of the ships, (which landed in an Irish port), the exploration was lost.

The Matthew legacy site today is tourist attraction in Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador. A replica was built in Bristol, UK, in 1996, and it made the journey to Bonavista in 1997.

The official website of Bonvista is, and the website which some of the history of John Cabot is written is