Saturday 7 December 2013

Frost Fair, Fort York, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to the Frost Fair at Fort York this afternoon.

Imagine yourself transported back in time to the early 19th century, where the local Christmas Market was one of the social and shopping highlights of the year. Wander through the historic buildings of Fort York where Historic Merchants will be selling their quality merchandise – all inspired from the 18th and 19th century. Feel the excitement and charm of the festive season in Upper Canada some 200 years ago!

Fort York is a historic site of military fortifications and related buildings not far from our 'hood. It was built by the British Army and Canadian militia troops in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, to defend the settlement and the new capital of the Upper Canada region from the threat of a military attack, principally from the newly independent United States. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923.

We checked out the vendors in the South Soldiers' Barracks first.

There was a fella from Mackenzie House discussing how they did publishing. William Lyon Mackenzie, was Toronto's first Mayor, a radical journalist and publisher, and leader of the Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada.

This contraption ...
made these

There were lots of things from Sanderson Leather ...

Douglas Loveland was making cups and candle holders.

Joseph the Chandler was selling old eyeglasses frames from the 1800s, quills, lanterns, etc.

We learned how they made hot chocolate from Mars Canada Heritage Chocolate.

Cocoa beans are rolled on a heated stone to form a mass.
The result is then formed into a bar and allowed to harden.
To make hot chocolate they would mix shavings with water.
Made with spices rather than sugar, I found it too bitter
The Heritage products are sold at heritage sites.

Next door, soldiers discussed what it was like living at Fort York.

We learned about the guns.
Kids got a lesson outside.

We headed to the officers' building.

They were making cookies in the kitchen.

The cookies were delicious!
Kids were encouraged to help.
They were baked in the oven next to the fireplace.
You could also sample some traditional minced meat pie.

Outside, you could buy pork sausages on a stick, baked potatoes and mulled cider.

We headed to the Blue Barracks.

The York Regency Dancers entertained.

There were more vendors.

I sampled some of Grainstorm's cookies and muffins ...
they were good!
Arnold Knives and Forge
Spencer's Mercantile had a fun selection.

The woman made cool stuff with the sleeves of men's shirts ... like wine bottle holders, baby pants, etc.

Then we went to the Centre Blockhouse.

Sutler Cyrus was just inside.

The Orange Peel Morris Dancers entertained ... first doing traditional Morris dancing followed by singing Christmas carols.

There was a vendor selling dolls, Christmas ornaments, wreaths, etc.

It was a fun afternoon and surprisingly not very crowded.  If you are into history and curious to see a Christmas market from the 19th century, you should check it out.  The things for sale were reasonably priced, depending on what you wanted to buy.  The dancers and singers were entertaining.  I learned a lot!  It's great for the whole family!


Masshole Mommy said...

Wow, lots of neat stuff. It reminds me of Plimouth Plantation, which is a recreation of where the first settlers landed.

Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady said...

What a great fair. The last time I was at Fort York was years ago as my BF had her wedding reception there!