Without the benefit of planes or cars, 19th-century pioneers trekked to the County of Peterborough, where they built a new life for themselves. Here, they established a number of operations including farms, a cider mill, and a print shop, and today, it?s as if the village never changed. The Lang Pioneer Village Museum re-created the 19th-century town in 1967 to give visitors a glimpse into pioneer life, and more than 25 restored and furnished original structures have been moved as far as 90 miles to lend the outdoor museum authenticity. Among these buildings is the three-story Lang Grist Mill, an 1846-built facility where wheat is still ground into flour every summer.
Costumed villagers populate the town, roving past the museum's vegetable gardens, hitching posts, and watering troughs on their way to work. In the various shops, blacksmiths shape metals, carpenters assemble furniture, and printers generate handbills on a 1927 Washington Flatbed Press. Villagers perform crafts such as open-hearth cooking and weaving; in fact, the museum's weaver shop showcases one of the few Jacquard looms on display in North America.
Visitors to the museum can interrupt any of the townspeople to find out more about their trade or to lend a hand with chores. The museum even rents out its 1886 schoolhouse to students for a day, replacing their usual teacher with a costumed interpreter who conducts lessons similar to those of a 19th-century classroom.
Since its opening in 1963, the Canadian Automotive Museum has honored the automotive industry by displaying mint-condition vehicles, some of which date back to the beginning of the 20th century. Many of these cars were manufactured in Canada, whereas others come from America or overseas?but each one has a history that educates and entices visitors.
Size: 25,000 square feet, enough room to hold more than 60 vehicles plus motorcycles, bicycles, and trucks
The Building: a former 1920's car dealership, featuring the original elevator that moved cars from floor to floor when they were too lazy to take the stairs
Eye Catcher: the only remaining 1903 Redpath Messenger; built in Kitchener, its original owner was one of the first employees of the famed Canadian car company
Don't Miss: Lady Eaton's 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
Pro Tip: the museum and gift shop are both cash only, so hit the ATM on your way there
Named as a national historic site, Parkwood Estate guided tours offer an intimate and informed look at pristine turn-of-the-century architecture, furnishings, gardens, and landscaping. Knowledgeable volunteers contextualize the experience, narrating events from former owner R. Samuel McLaughlin's life as an auto baron, or explaining the intricacies of his elaborate black-truffle badminton tournaments. While truth may be stranger than fiction, it's seldom as interesting: explore Parkwood Estate's role as a film set, viewing the hall where Professor Xavier appealed for calm in mutant-human relations, or the stairway where Billy Madison single-handedly overcame schizophrenia to victoriously re-enter the world of mathematics. Tours run Tuesday through Sunday, from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Travelling by motor coach is one of the most exciting ways to sightsee, according to Trip On. The tour company arranges single- and multiday trips that whisk travellers to popular destinations in the U.S.A. and Canada, all in the comfort of luxury coaches that never get stuck in cloud traffic. After collecting passengers from designated pickup locations, the coaches speed away to places such as the Kawartha Lakes, historic Gettysburg, or popular casinos. Most day trips include lunch and sightseeing tours led by Trip On’s knowledgeable guides, and multiday excursions also include hotel accommodations. The staff can also accommodate custom tour requests, to create a trip tailored to a customer’s unique adventurous spirit.
When George Gardiner began collecting ceramics in 1976, he was only interested in decorating his home. But soon his passion for pottery and porcelain grew, and, rather than build a second home entirely from teapots, he co-founded the Gardiner Museum in 1984 with his wife, Helen. Today, the museum's collection has ballooned to include more than 3,000 pieces, encompassing everything from Japanese sake pots and Canadian ceramic sculptures to Italian Renaissance maiolica plates.
Objects from the core collection share space in the museum with special exhibitions. One of these is the annual 12 Trees of Christmas, a display of holiday trees. The museum supplements its showings with events such as lectures and ceramics-inspired meals, as well as clay classes for budding adult and child ceramicists. Visitors can even take home pieces from the Gardiner Shop, which sells Canadian ceramics, as well as international jewelry, scarves, and glasswork.
Ben Navaee Gallery is dedicated to two causes: first, to present and promote local Canadian artists in its gallery space, and second, to raise funds and awareness for philanthropic causes related to poverty, homelessness, and natural disasters. With classes, the gallery aims to educate its visitors, helping them learn about the work of a new artist or teaching them how to paint a heartfelt message onto that artist's car. During each calming session, students leave outside stress behind as they unlock hidden artistic talents with the help of gentle, encouraging instruction. This nurturing environment is an extension of Ben Navaee himself; a veteran painter, sculptor, and photographer, Ben has spent the last 25 years helping students better their lives through art, as well as yoga and meditation.