July 10, 2012


We had been craving a motor home trip for some time.  The rig has been in winter storage since February . . . that's far too long and we were dying to get away.  A short trip made sense so we decided on Upper Canada Village.  It's an historical park about 145 kilometres (90 miles) from home.


We got away from home at about 10:20 a.m. and pulled into Upper Canada Campground at noon.  It's only 4 kilometres from here to the historical village.


By 12:30 we had our shady campsite all set up and enjoyed a bite of lunch in the RV.  We spent much of the afternoon sitting in our lawn chairs, under the awning, reading, playing with Zak and Blue and watching the world go by.  Ahhh!


We took a drive to explore the area and get our bearings and within an hour we were back to the campsite.


At 5:00 Carol fed the dogs and by 5:45 we headed out to find dinner.  Just a few miles down the road we stopped at a local diner . . . it was less than stellar.  Definitely not a do-over!


We sat out and read our books until daylight gave out and mosquitoes drove us inside.

July 11, 2012


We had a leisurely start to the day. We lazed around and played with the dogs until 9:00 a.m. before leaving on our way to Upper Canada Village. We stopped briefly at Crysler Park, the site of a battle in the War of 1812. At the Battle of Crysler’s Farm the British Army, supported by Canadian Militia and Mohawk warriors repelled an American force three times their number. The battlefield memorial park is beside the historical village and has a sandy swimming area in the St. Lawrence River.

The river, the boundary between Canada and the USA, is less that a mile wide in this region. For our American friends, Upper Canada Village is on the north side of the river about 8 miles due west of Massena NY.

That's the USA on the other side.

Construction of the historical park began in 1958 in conjunction with a massive canal construction project. It was a joint effort between Canada and the USA to permit ocean going freighters to access Great Lakes ports. In order to bypass a 1 ½ mile stretch of rapids known as “The Long Sault” three massive dams were built.

The three dams resulted in the flooding of 22,000 acres of land on the Canadian side of the river. The project required the relocation of 7 ½ villages and in the process over 525 buildings were moved to higher ground. Many historic buildings were moved to Upper Canada Village during the seaway project and the historical park opened in 1961. It has grown significantly since then!

We arrived at 9:30 just as the park was opening and we almost had the place to ourselves. We spent a few minutes in the Welcome Centre where displays and a short movie set the stage for us. They explained the significance of the Battle of Crysler’s Farm and the historical significance of many of the building which were moved in 1958.

Here's where we are - half way between Kingston and Montreal

Then we entered the park. Wow! It’s terrific. The time setting is about 1860 and the theming is terrific. The costuming is authentic and the employees all stay pretty much “in character.” And they all really work. The saw mill cuts logs into lumber, the grist mill grinds grain into flour, the bakery bakes bread, the tin shop makes lamps and other things, the cheese factory makes cheddar cheese, the broom maker makes brooms out of sorgum tassels, the dressmaker sews dresses and the shoemaker makes shoes. The dresses and shoes are all used as costuming for the employees and most of the other product can be purchased in the gift shop. We brought home a block of cheese and a loaf of bread still warm from the oven.

Each and every building is staffed by workers in period costume and they explain who they represent, what they are doing and why. It’s a real learning experience and it’s fun! They even have a formal teaching program for children. There were kids in period costume almost everywhere we looked. In the Lutheran Minister’s home two young girls were learning how to sketch. In the Tinsmith’s Shop two young boys and three girls were making cookie cutters out of tin. What an interesting teaching opportunity . . . and the kids looked to be captivated by the experience.


Our first stop was the water-powered saw mill. A man outside the mill was hewing huge logs into square beams to repair a crooked wall in the saw mill. I sure wouldn’t want his job!

We visited Cook’s Tavern, the Broom Maker's Shop, Christ Church, the Lutheran Minister’s house, the Masonic Lodge Hall, the Tinsmith Shop, Crysler’s Store, the Bakery, Willard’s Hotel, Crysler Hall, Robertson’s house, the Doctor’s house, the Dressmaker’s Shop and finally the Cheese Factory.

Painted Glass

Stained Glass


Raking hay

My formerly poopy knees held up pretty well but by 12:30 they were feeling a bit flatulent. We had covered about half of the park so we decided to stop at the Harvest Barn (tucked away out of sight and thankfully air-conditioned) for a bite of lunch. Then we headed back to the campground for a short rest.

By 2:00 p.m. we had loaded the dogs in the car and headed east to drive the scenic Long Sault Parkway. Sault is a Mohawk Indian word meaning rapids and the parkway runs along the area where the 1 ½ mile rapids used to race. Wow – it’s pretty. When they dammed the river and raised the water level the highest hills in the area formed an arkipalego  archopalego string of islands, in the middle of the river.

It is all park land with campgrounds, picnic areas, beaches and boat launch ramps. The parkway has a 55 kph (35 mph) speed limit and wide bicycle lanes on both sides. There were scores of cyclists enjoying a beautiful sunny day!


We finished our strenuous tour with an ice cream cone before heading back to the campground. After feeding the dogs we headed into the nearby Village of Morrisburg and had a very good pizza for dinner.

By 8:00 p.m. we were settled in for the night. The following day we planned to finish our tour of Upper Canada Village and then head west, upriver, to see a submerged lock from the old canal and one of the “new” locks build in 1958.

July 12, 2012


Today we headed back to Upper Canada Village!

Once again we were there at 9:30 a.m. for park opening. We watched while they harnessed the horses and hitched them to a few wagons. Then we hopped on one of those wagons and caught a lift to the far end of the park to continue our tour.

The first stop was at Louck’s Farm. It’s a real working farm, authentic to the 1860’s setting. Some young girls, part of the youth program they call “Time Travellers” were making cookies in the farmhouse kitchen. Others were getting a piano lesson in the parlour.

Then we stopped at the one-room school.


In the Newspaper Office two young girls were learning how to typeset pages for the newspaper press.

In the McDairmid Home the lady of the house was weaving on the loom.

At the Ross Farm Mrs. Ross was quilting.

Then as we walked past the drag saw the horse started his loop. This is an amazing device. The horse walks a circular course and powers the saw. One circuit for the horse makes 40 strokes with the huge saw blade.  Saves a lot of man-power.

At the cabinetmakers we saw some amazing furniture which they had crafted then stopped at the blacksmith shop where a young man was making a “J hook” under the smithy’s watchful eye.


Our last two stops were the grist mill and the woollen mill, both powered by water. The grist mill was grinding white flour.

The woollen mill was carding wool, spinning it into yarn and then weaving the yarn into fabric.

This is an amazingly self-reliant place, making almost everything they need using period-appropriate technology. The fact that they train so many children at the same time is just astounding.

They have several programs for different age groups but the most popular is the “Time Travellers” Discovery Camp for boys and girls aged 9 to 13. This is a residential program, the children are closely supervised and live in two-hundred year old houses which are “behind the scene” on the property. The houses have electric power, running water, modern plumbing and air conditioning but those are the only modern amenities. The children have no TV, iPods, computers, etc. They dress in period costumes and play period appropriate games. Children come from all over Canada and the USA for the Time Travellers Camp and many come back year after year.

We finished our tour of the park at about 12:30 and headed back to the RV for a bite of lunch.

At about 2:00 we loaded the dogs in the car and headed east down the river to visit Cardinal and Iroquois, two towns which were partially relocated in the 1950’s. At Iroquois there is a huge lock, part of the new Seaway System. The lock is 984 feet long and 80 feet wide. For purposes of comparison, locks in the current Panama Canal are 1,050 feet long and 110 feet wide.

Also at Iroquois we visited the site of an old canal lock, so much smaller than the ones built in the 1950’s.


We were back to the campground before 4:00 and began packing things up.  We were heading home the following morning.  We had a very nice dinner at the McIntosh Conference Centre in nearby Morrisburg and then spent a quiet evening with the dogs.

July 13, 2012


Wow!  What a treat.  We pulled out of the campground at 8:00 a.m. and we were home at 9:45 a.m.  Sure beats that four day drive back from Florida!


We really enjoyed the time we spent at Upper Canada Village and we had a great time exploring the beautiful area around the St. Lawrence Seaway locks.  The only drawback to the trip was the campground.  It was pretty old and tired.  We selected Upper Canada Campground because it was just a few miles from the historical park, it had a pool and WiFi.  We didn't go near the pool and the WiFi didn't work.  We saw some absolutely gorgeous Provincial and National Parks with riverside camping facilities which had much more to offer than the one we were camped at.  It didn't seem worthwhile to move but if we ever head that way again we will stay at one of the riverside parks.