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Gwen Tuinman

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Upper Canada

Fall Fairs in Upper Canada: A Brief History

One of the pleasures of October is attending the fall fairs so prevalent across Ontario. After discovering archived images of fairs held in the early 1900s, I became curious about the origins of such events. These curated details will find their way into my writing one day.

Agricultural Societies appeared in Upper Canada as early as 1793 when the first one began at Niagara. In the eighteen-thirties and forties, the societies grew in popularity. Their membership activities provided an opportunity for socializing among farmers. The farmers’ wives, however, were disallowed from participating in the society. Women rarely broke the monotony of their daily routine except to visit a neighbour or a general store. To join in men’s activities was considered improper.

Continue reading “Fall Fairs in Upper Canada: A Brief History”

Julie Oakes: Historical Culinary Expert– Part 2

It’s been such a joy to discuss pioneer living with Julie Oakes, culinary expert and long-time live history enthusiast at The Pickering Museum Village east of Toronto. Part One of our interview is full of fascinating details that are finding their way into my novel. Enjoy the show notes for the equally delightful Part Two.

Please enjoy this Wellspring Podcast of Julia Oakes: Historical Culinary Expert–Part 2.

Gwen: Julie […] I’m going to ask you to finish this sentence. Each time I cross over that bridge at the Pickering Museum Village, and walk along the path that winds into the village, I…

Julie: …I feel like I’m going into the past and I feel like I’m going to have a wonderful day. Because I have to say that the days I’m able to go and just volunteer and go into the kitchen…I really like cooking on the wood stove, that’s my personal favourite. When I have a day that I can just cook on a wood stove and whole rest of the world goes away and there’s no phone, there’s no devices of any kind. But people come and chat and we talk about cooking and all kinds of things. Continue reading “Julie Oakes: Historical Culinary Expert– Part 2”

Pioneer Food Gardens and Orchards

What must food growing have been like for the earliest newcomers to Upper Canada? Many families arrived with a sack of seed and little else.This spring when we cleared more ground for planting vegetables, I thought about how much more difficult the task must have been for the earliest settlers. Before planting food, settlers first had to cut down an army of trees and remove obstacles  like roots and boulders. I certainly didn’t have to contend with such challenges. Our garden plot will generate produce to can or freeze, but nothing sufficient to sustain us until the next growing season. Plants are just beginning to yield and August is half over.

(Please enjoy this Wellspring Podcast of Pioneer Food Gardens and Orchards.) Continue reading “Pioneer Food Gardens and Orchards”

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