More of our visit to Lang Pioneer Village

Truly, one can spend a whole day at this village and still come away wanting to know more.

The  Menie General Store in Lang Pioneer Village has  a little bit of everything. The building also served as the local post office.

Are we also going that way with our super centres and one-stop shopping?


DSCF7510outside the General Store (1899)




Here  people of the community could purchase groceries, household items, gifts, toys, even lace. Probably much more. There was so much to see in this building.

Inside, the smiling faces of (l to r) Audrey and Danielle, ready to help a customer and tell them what they have on hand. (Click on photo if it doesn`t open right away)






The schoolhouse, where the children received their education (1880s–1950s). Families were mainly Scots, English and Irish in this representative community.






Here teacher and school guide, Hayley, teaches an actual lesson to children visiting the village. The teacher would write the lessons on the board and the children would write the answer on their slates. Strict discipline was meted out and parents tended to back up the teacher on punishment. The desks facing front blackboard were similar to my one-room school, only our picture of the Queen was here.

Interesting to see that it shows Queen Victoria’s family and not just Her Majesty by herself. And I remember having coloured chalk and single desks.
Then on to the blacksmith’s shop




Steve, the blacksmith, answering a question of a young boy about the coal used in the forge. Coal that was used in the blacksmith’s shop as well as in furnaces to heat people’s homes, a step beyond the fireplace or hearth  in the home.



Steve and his assistant, Joseph,  doing their work with hot metal. This place could get pretty hot. Would it be welcome on a cold winter day?


At S. W. Lowry Weaver’s Shop, we saw looms for making fabric and the guide, Marie, worked alongside her helpers, Hannah 1 and Hannah 2. I collected only first names after I got permission to take photos. This building was also known as Jacquard Loom Interpretive Centre.



Marie cutting strips of fabric for the girl’s braiding project.




Threads on the loom and a completed project.





This is the second place where the students share a name and interest. Hannah 1 and Hannah 2. They’re braiding a cord to sew on a purse they have woven. It will look pretty. Good work, girls.



Back to the hotel now for some tea and cookies. We got talking to a family who were seated at the long dining room table about what they liked best about the village. The weavery and blacksmith’s place were the young people’s favourite. We talked about the wide variance in teaching methods too and I said that the dunce cap was likely not very helpful, though perhaps some of their discipline might not be a bad thing.

Our tea and ginger cookies were delicious, by the way. Thank you, girls.




Here are the lovely young ladies, Sophie 1 and Sophie 2, who took our order, served us and posed in the dining room afterwards. As it turns out, Sophie 2, on the right, is connected to the Milburn Family somewhere back in her family line. Her mother is also a “friend” on Facebook. It’s a small world after all.




Glen Aida Methodist Church (1898)


A simple worship house on the outside



Inside the church. See the pump organ on the left? Not an extreme amount of detail added outside of woodwork, but what’s there served the congregation well. I don’t know if they had cloth banners for the seasons of the church year or altar cloths. Perhaps they did.




Douro Town Hall where council meetings would be held and voting.




And a commemoration of local authors, among them Susannah Moodie and Catherine Parr Trail who were also earlier immigrants, along with their husbands. Reminded me of the storytelling duo Carol Leigh Wehking and Glenna Janzen performing their version of the women’s stories awhile ago.


DSCF7542Another desk of the period inside the town hall.



We had covered most of the village by this point, except for the lumberman’s shanty and the mill, which I’ll save for the next post, lest this one become too long.


Photos by C. and L. Wilker.  Thank you to all guides and volunteers in the village who gave permission to have their photo taken so that I could post on my blog.


July 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm 1 comment

Lang Pioneer Village–Part two of our Kawartha vacation

There was much to see and do in the area, but we’d have to figure out what we wanted to seee.  A tourist information centre in Buckhorn offered  maps and detailed information and so we made several choices for the few days we had left. Based on weather for the day, we had our minds set on several possibilities, one of which was Lang Pioneer Village. The sun came out and the sky cleared and so that’ s where we went.




DSCF7450 This pioneer village represents 1825 to about 1900 although some of the buildings are older. Here’s the visitor centre, the entrance to the village. In one room they had featured photography of the village in different seasons.



A tractor my father would like to see and it’s older than the one we had on our farm.




DSCF7458My husband standing at the gate of the Milburn House, which represents 1870s.


DSCF7459Children’s bedroom upstairs in the home, complete with doll carriage.





And next to the child’s bed, a walker. Who knew the invention was this old? But then the wheels could cause  havoc where there were stairs. See the rag rug and the chamber pot– for when there was no indoor plumbing.



Our guide, Sharon, with her two student helpers Emma and Meriah, having a crochet lesson. A bit complicated teaching the craft when you’re right handed and your student is left-handed, but the girls were sticking with it and making progress. In time it will come much easier for them.

DSCF7465The Milburn house has lovely flower beds too. Someone has a green thumb.




We stopped in at the tinsmith shop that was quite small and the carpenter shop with plenty of tools and wood. There were no guides at those buildings.




DSCF7466Where there are farming pursuits, there will be barn and wagon. Look at the bench-style seat on the wagon.




At the next crossroad sits the Fitzpatrick House. People stop to admire the gardens. This home would be built by settlers once they had some crops growing and can afford a bigger home.  The kitchen has a wide hearth where cooking would be done, and the staff here had dyed some wool. The skeins filled a basket and were dyed in a variety of colours. They used some natural dyes, but the lighter coloured wool got its shades from Kool-Aid, which I thought was pretty amusing. Makes nice shades of yarn for mittens or whatever the family would need.


DSCF7487Around the table left to right are: Hailey, Jennie, Patti and Pierre. Both Jennie and Pierre are French exchange students spending time at the village this summer.




Next we visited the Fife cabin, representing 1825, a simple, one-room log house that a settler would build when he got his plot of land. The large wooden box serves as a bed with straw mattress most likely. Only the most basic furniture would be in this cabin. See the baby cradle.

On the other side was a solid wooden table and a few other things such as a churn and a lamp. Families first coming to a lot would have had to build a shelter first, cut down some trees and plant around the stumps the first year. They might not even have a window in the first cabin as this one does. This cabin was still rather dark. David Fife, a Scotsman, is credited with introducing a hardy wheat grain to Upper Canada in the 1840s—a variety that would survive harsh Canadian winters.

From Wikipedia: David Fife wrote to a friend in Glasgow asking for samples of good seed wheat. His friend obtained a sample of wheat off a ship from Danzig, Prussia, (now Gdansk, Poland) and sent it to Fife. As it came to Fife’s hand just before spring seeding time, and, not knowing whether it was a fall or spring variety, Mr. Fife concluded to sow a part of it that spring,




Guide Cassandra, at the Fife cabin,  uses a drop spindle, and in the pot over the fire pit is wool that she’s boiling to make it clean and preparing it for dyeing. She told us what she put in the water besides alum, but I don’t remember.


Next is the print shop, the Register, where the newspaper would be printed as well as art prints, signs and advertisements of all sorts. Making a newspaper then would be incredibly time consuming, making our process today look like a whiz. Being a writer and using computers, it was interesting to see some of these processes. I wonder if they had as many challenges with their equipment as we do with computers.


DSCF7494                                                                                                                                                    in the doorway;                photo: L. Wilker





In the print shop are, left to right, Andrew and Steven. Andrew told us about the print shop and presses, but it was Steven who showed us how to reproduce a print.


One more stop and then I will continue on another post.

And here we stop into the Keene Hotel (1870s) where a young woman named Sophie took us on a tour of the hotel and her friend, Sophie, came along as support on one of her very first tours. She explained that the tea room on the left was for the women. Sometimes men could be there too, but women were not allowed in the games room across the hall. The place was busy with a tour when we first arrived, and so I didn’t take more pictures at that time. Guest rooms located on the upper floor were rated according to what the person could afford, and the family who ran the hotel had 14 children, 8 of them their own and 6 more who were nieces and nephews they raised when the children’s parents died.




We’ll stop in here later for tea and a treat  a bit later in the day, when we see Sophie 1 and Sophie 2 again.

Watch for more upcoming posts on our visit to the Lang Pioneer Village.


Unless otherwise credited, the photos on this blog are  the property of C. Wilker

July 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

A much-needed vacation


Last weekend my husband and I headed off to Buckhorn Lake area in the Kawarthas for a short much-needed holiday. Well, perhaps I should speak for myself as needing the holiday. As much as my other half resists packing and leaves it to the last minute, I believe he enjoyed the time away.



Our GPS took us a lot of back roads once we got off the busy 401 and through a city. It seems as though the workings of the GPS are quite creative in passing by small towns and communities along the way, but I took each turn as it came and only overshot an exit twice in the whole route. On a country road, it’s usually pretty easy to turn around and get back on the path. We took a few stops along the way of what turned out to be a four-hour drive with stopped-up traffic on the big highway—one for food and stretch break and the second to ease some tight muscles in my leg.  Here’s a picture from one of our stops when we were at  about the three-quarter mark.




And then our arrival at Grandview Resort where family members anticipated our arrival. We got the tour and saw the room where we’d be sleeping. It’s a fine-looking trailer inside and the deck space, built by our son-in-law and his father, that extends the living area in the daytime.  One of the especially nice things about this park is its  commitment to being a clean and well-kept park, one that families can enjoy with a curfew at night so all are respectful of each other. Our family members have friends nearby with small children so they have playmates to spend some time with.






We had supper, cooked on the grill, and sat outdoors to eat. No bugs yet.  Then were off to the playground for the children to run off some energy before bedtime.





And the ducks played on the water too.






And of course the big kids—young adults— played badminton or tennis nearby.



There’s a marina on the lake for those who have boats …




And you might think there’s a golf course around here, but you would be mistaken. People ride around on the carts and car and truck traffic is lighter because of it. The park is quite large and the owners, wanting to be mindful of the environment, insist on electric carts. The mindfulness extends to recycle bins for each trailer and a station to drop off garbage and recycling.





And what is camping without a campfire? We did struggle to keep the insects—mosquitoes—from feasting on us, and that’s even with using repellant.


We made a new version of s’mores with the tiny cones that one uses for ice cream cones, rather than the graham crackers. Wrapped in foil and laid near the heat of the fire, it made a small yummy treat. The idea came from one of our daughter’s friends who visited the weekend before.



Early campfire for the children one evening before bedtime.




And what is a holiday for except to check out the local places.  We drove into Buckhorn and stopped at the favourite ice cream stop. After washing sticky fingers and faces, we watched a boat go through  a lock before going on its way into the next lake.




And a photo by the Buck statue that gives Buckhorn its name.




Even a golf cart has some protection from the rain. We did get a ride on one and a tour of the park. Perhaps a future purchase?


A picnic with our daughter and son-in-law’s friends wrapped up a good weekend with only rain in the late evenings.



Watch for Part Two of our holidays– a day at Lang Pioneer Village


Photos by C. Wilker, L. Wilker or a family member.





July 20, 2014 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

This Beautiful Earth

Carolyn Wilker 2Clickr Photography-James Woo


Today I blogged over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian.

At this time of year, when the garden is growing and flowers around my yard are blooming, it’s easy to appreciate beauty. I take photos at various times in the season when one kind of plant succeeds another. And seeing other gardens and natural areas to adds to the enjoyment of creation.

Folliot Sandford Pierpoint might have been a gardener too, or at least an appreciator of nature for he wrote extensively about it.

Read more here








All photos on this blog are the property of C. Wilker unless otherwise noted. Please ask permission.

July 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

Continuing story of my garden


In May, my husband finished constructing raised beds for our garden. We’d looked at a plan and decided to make our own. Rather my husband figured out a plan to build the beds to fit into our sloping back yard. And since sandy soil makes it hard to grow some garden varieties, we decided this plan was good for our yard and we’d use a garden mix that has peat and compost in it already.



My husband and our neighbour, Pete, who lent a hand in the construction and moving into place.



Moving the soil from the pile in the driveway was a rather lengthy task, but done with the help of our daughter, as shown, with wheelbarrow and ramp and a steady hand for tipping the load. Granddaughters and I filled buckets with soil and for the second bed, Pete was there to lend a hand again, this time filling the wheelbarrow and pushing it to the back yard. We so appreciated his help.

DSCF7105One box in place, being filled.

We were pleased, at the end of the first afternoon that we could begin our planting.


planting garden with Grandma

Help with planting. They each have their own packet of bean seeds, one green and the other yellow.


DSCF7109 Then the  tomato plants and a few others, and the netting. All this in one day.

Once we had the second frame in place we could put in the rest of  the plants, basil, cucumbers and more tomatoes.





The cucumber, tomato plants and beans are all doing well, along with the peas my granddaughter started in her  Jr. Kindergarten class


IMG_20140603_192302The garden, along with strawberry plants, need tender loving care.



And we like strawberries especially. It’s a big watering can for a small girl to manage, but she’s ready and willing to help.



And here is where our garden is today. Small tomatoes are forming on the tall plants. There’s blossoms on the cucumber plants too. Waiting and watering for the day of harvest, which will be awhile yet.

Last evening I cut some slots in the netting so the tomatoes could grow. Also pinched off little new shoots that don’t need to be there so the energy can go to producing the fruits.  There are small tomatoes growing on the plants.

Waiting now for the tomatoes, cucumbers, beans to grow big enough to harvest.





July 1, 2014 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

A one-year celebration–Maranatha Lutheran and St. Philip Lutheran




One  year ago, after much searching on the part of Maranatha Lutheran Church, council chairs Sharon Heeralall (Maranatha) and Carolyn Hertzberger (St. Philip) signed an agreement to work in a covenant relationship together. The agreement means that the Carribean Lutheran congregation will have their own services and that St. Philip is their church home. Also agreed was the possibilities of sharing particular services and celebrations over the year, and that banners and altar arrangements for the seasons would alternate months. St. Philip meets at 9:30 am on a Sunday and Maranatha meets at 11:15 am for their service.




Our new sign out front of the church, noting the special celebration. And I see we need to correct one spelling next time around


When sharing a building, congregations also need to consider sharing kitchen space, storage for banners, serving dishes, as well a space for another pastor’s desk and an additional phone line.  A communications team handles any concerns that come up, and this far, we have worked together at accommodation and coordination, wherever needed.

The pastors have worked together as well. St Philip’s members were invited to Maranatha’s Black History month celebration, and Maranatha Lutheran has joined in combined Lenten services, especially those held at St. Philip over Lent. Also Christmas Eve service was shared in St. Philip’s sanctuary. Today the celebration marked the one-year anniversary and we look forward to more years with our sister church.




Pastor Rick Pryce (St. Philip) and Pastor Peter Kuhnert (Maranatha)



Today’s service was one of celebration, but there was also an emotional counterbalance. A mix of joy at the celebration and sadness as we’re bidding good-bye to Pastor Rick who will be heading east to Nova Scotia in a few weeks. I certainly felt the cross paths of emotion today. The joy at the lively music with the realization that friends are moving across the country. Pastor Rick  and his wife Deb have had a good effect on St. Philip in so many ways. We will miss them.




Worship assistant Cheryl greeting members at the close of the service, along with Pastor Rick and  Pastor Peter





Cheryl and Diane sharing  the peace




Deb Pryce with Alma





Checking out the dessert table at the celebratory lunch, with Monica and Angela





We are blessed with our pianist/organist and choir director Zhana Wohl just as Maranatha are blessed by their man of many talents. Ubaldo Rojas plays many instruments. I wondered if he could be a contender for Oktoberfest. Dinner music.

We had a mix of foods and I tried some different Caribbean food this time. The Jamaican patties were very tasty, and the punch tasted like watermelon.



Violet is seated at the far end and Angela close by.  There’s a lovely young woman in the middle whose name I do not know yet. Then Jean standing at the back



DSCF7262                                                                                                                                    More Maranatha ladies smiling for the camera




We had not only St. Philip and Maranatha represented, but also a family from Pastor Rick’s previous parish at Wellesley





Ubaldo Rojas and two fine looking ladies, then Katarina Kuhnert, Arlene Knight, Hanne Kuhnert and Pastor Peter Kuhnert





More posing for the camera




Eva at the end, then two more ladies whom I had not met before



Deb at the table with the members from Wellesley. You can see other members from both congregations



Another member of Maranatha, then Jean ( Eugenie) and Leonard whom I met at  a Lenten supper


I am pleased to greet our Maranatha sisters and brothers and know in time that I will learn more names. I came away hoping that more St. Philip members will share in future events.  We move on to our second year together.







June 24, 2014 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

Latitudes Storytelling Festival–Kitchener, Ontario

Today and tomorrow (Sunday), the Latitudes Storytelling Festival is going on in Kitchener`s Victoria Park. It opened at 1 pm and went until 5:30 pm today and will continue on the same time tomorrow. Let`s hope the beautiful weather holds up until  it is over.

The storytelling runs concurrently with the Multicultural Festival and stories and storytellers reflect that diversity.


DSCF7247Victoria Park, Kitchener, a pretty place to hold the festivals






I arrived a short while after the festival opened to see Janice Lee, a local poet, hosting  and introducing storytellers in the coffeehouse tent.




First up in the 1:30-2:30 set was the expressive storyteller and author Rukhsana Khan. She`s performed at this venue before and most often tells to children, but this time she`s telling to adults. Her first story was one recorded in her holy book, the Koran, about Moses who wanted to know everything.




Then Dan Yashinsky, no stranger to storytelling. He founded the Toronto Storytelling Festival, and cofounded the Toronto School of Storytelling. I first met Dan at the Story Barn in Baden, bought his book  and was entranced with his storytelling. Here he is with his storytelling stick.  We met him in early May at the Toronto Storytelling Festival. Dan started with riddles today and then told a story that included riddles in it.


After sitting for an hour for stories, I needed to get up and move around and so I took other pictures at the children`s tent where Andrew Too Tall Queen (and his partner) entertained to the delight of the children.



And a children`s craft tent set up nearby



called the Wee Create




Back at the Coffeehouse Stage, cartoonist and broadcaster Kevin Sylvester was telling stories about sports heroes and why we might sometimes think they`re weird for pushing boundaries. But he says we can learn from them not to give up when the going gets tough.



It was time for a wander around the park, the tents set up for promoting various cultural organizations and on the field, the food stands where lengthy line-ups deterred me from food cooking there. O Canada played from the stage and people stopped to pay attention to the song. Introductions followed for regional and city dignitaries, but I listened as I headed back to Latitudes. I did not want to miss Sarah Granskou`s story performance at the Coffeehouse stage. She had already told at the children`s stage.



While I awaited Sarah`s time, I stopped to talk with Angela Walker, the author of a picture book, and her husband Bob. We made acquaintance and chatted a bit about how we promote our books and let people know what we do. I purchased the first of her series: Harry Purple Monkey Dishwasher, the story about a talented purple monkey for whom things turn upside down. That`s all I`m going to tell you. You`ll have to read it for yourself. I bought a copy for a certain young lady (no spoiled surprises) and read it on my return home.


Back to the Coffeehouse Stage with Janice Lee telling us about her childhood as an immigrant and singing two songs about her experiences.




And next Sarah Granskou, storyteller,  songwriter and musical performer, member of the Baden Storytellers`Guild, sharing stories of a Nordic heritage and more entertaining stories.


Sarah tuning her unusually shaped fiddle


She brought along puppets and props for her stories, all things she had made, with some help from her children, who have already contributed to storytelling through puppets,  including last Stories Aloud.


Singing a lullaby for a child (puppet) who won`t settle down to sleep. That was entertaining and most audience members likely have experience with this. This and other songs were a fitting contribution to Latitudes Storytelling Festival that goes on one more day.

Thank  you, Lori-Ann Livingston, for getting this tradition started and for all the volunteers who help make the event happen.



All photos on this blog are copyright of C. Wilker, unless otherwise mentioned. Please inquire first if you wish to use a photo.


June 22, 2014 at 1:36 am 2 comments

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