Saturday, August 29, 2015

Upper Canada Village -- Time Travellers Camp (2015)

For the third year in a row, Ashley attended Upper Canada Village's Time Traveler's Camp. Unlike last year, this year they did not need jackets.

The camp runs from Sunday at 4 through Friday at 2. During the day, the campers dress as 1860's Canadian children and live lives similar to those of those children. They attend an apprenticeship (in Ashley's case she learned to make yarn, make a broom, and set type). At night they sleep in a modern house complete with running water. They also eat meals together and do chores (set the table, wash dishes, etc.). In the evenings they play games and have run of the village to themselves. 

We asked at the front desk where to find Ashley. They kindly told us to look in the print shop. The first year they gave us no such clues and we raced around the camp playing "where is Ashley?" That was also our first time at the Village and we had no idea where to look. They had her hard at work.

When she finished setting type, it was time for her to return to the cabin to make lunch. Or so we thought. We took this opportunity to buy lunch, only to learn she was playing games for the public to see. We missed that. Fortunately they played more games after lunch. 
While Ashley really made her lunch, Don and I finally took a boat ride on the canal. I say finally because every trip we talk about doing it, but we never do. We could see the United States from our ride. It was a slow cruise, a perfect way to enjoy the nice day. 

We found Ashley again in the school yard eating lunch. The first year she went to camp, this was her least favorite part -- eating lunch in front of tourists snapping pictures of them eating lunch. By now she is an old pro at it. We met the other family from New Jersey, all of the rest of the campers were from Canada. If they had a camp this awesome in New Jersey, we would send her to it, but if a historical sleep away camp exists within driving distance of our house, it remains a secret. 
From lunch they went to "school." First they line up girls on one side, boys on the other, and the teacher checks their hands to make sure they are clean enough to enter the school. They sit across the room from each other along benches. Lessons include singing "God Save the King," charades, reciting, and whatever else the teacher decides would be good. I like this picture of the teacher (also named Ashley) looking disapprovingly at Ashley and another girl as they are chatting when they are supposed to be doing their lessons.
By this point the sky was looking iffy. there was debate about having the campers play games inside or outside. It was hard to communicate with the parents (after all GPS tags and cell phones did not exist in 1866), so one group took one road, and the other took the other road. I found Ashley and her friends hanging out in front of the tavern watching a show. What do they teach these kids? Ashley is the one on the right wearing a snood. The week before camp she decided to cut off 8 inches and donate her hair to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program, thus rendering it too short for the usual braid.

The sun peeked through, so they played their games outside. The games are all very innocent and involve running around and laughing. Made me yearn for a simpler time when all children were entertained this way.

The camp provides two costumes for the children to wear during their five days wearing period attire. The Loyalists received a third outfit to wear on Wednesday, but Ashley was in the other group this time (I want to say Patriots, but that is such an American term, I'm not sure if that is it). At the end of the week she was sporting a new cranberry-colored tee-shirt and already dreaming about coming back in 2016. As the camp only goes up to age 14, next year will be her last year as a camper. Watching her become too old for things is a great topic for a future blog post.

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