Westfield Heritage Village

Westfield Heritage Village

If you’ve never heard of Westfield Heritage Village, you’re not alone.  I happened to stumble across it while looking at the Hamilton Conservation site.   As usual, the descriptions online were lacking so we were a little apprehensive when deciding to visit.

They have some special Halloween evenings coming up and then some Christmas activities after that.

View of the street
View of one of the streets.

Great History (but your kids won’t give a crap)

I love it when I stumble upon a hidden gem like this.  My husband and I had a great time reading about the history of the buildings and exploring.

But –

If your kids are young like mine – they won’t give a crap about any of it!

There are things that they will like though, keep reading 🙂

Westfield Heritage Village is a pioneer village with a number of historical buildings including a blacksmith shop, homes, a school, a Queen’s Rangers’ cabin and many more.

Trading Post c. 1841
Trading Post c.1841
View from the bandstand in the centre of 'town'
View from the bandstand in the centre of ‘town’

I assumed I was going to see a bunch of re-created buildings, but most of these are the real deal.  Buildings from the time periods 1775 to 1925 are arranged here to make a very lovely experience.  This is not the original location of the buildings but they are cared for here by the Hamilton Conservation Authority.  You can see a map and descriptions here.

Queen's Rangers' Cabin c1792. One of the oldest log cabins in Ontario.
Queen’s Rangers’ Cabin c1792. One of the oldest log cabins in Ontario.
Blacksmith shop
Blacksmith shop
Historical building
It was very interesting to read about the history of these buildings. Most of them were open and you can go inside.

So many Facebook picture opportunities :)…..This would also make a nice outing for extended family (grandparents) as each group can get something out of this trip.

The Pioneer Theme

There are costumed interpreters who work in the buildings and mingle so you can ask questions about what you are seeing.

Ladies preparing bread to be put in the oven.
Ladies preparing bread to be put in the oven.

We stopped at Eddie. D. Cat General Store – very nicely done inside and the prices were nice as well – a large assortment of candies and goods for .25 to $2.

Some of the goodies for sale in the general store
Some of the goodies for sale in the general store

Hint:

I scored big points with the family by buying us all candy sticks – @25 cents each.  My son even told me I’m the ‘best mom ever’.   Best.Mom.Ever.  Makes the cavities and the sugar high all worth it!

To illustrate some of the hardships our ancestors had to endure, they don’t take debit or credit in any of the stores.  Do you know how difficult it was for me to scrounge up 1 single dollar in change to buy some candy??

You can use plastic to pay the entrance fee but once you are inside its pioneer livin’ with cash only and no ATM on site.

Continuing with the theme, the toilets we saw were port-a-potty style.

The Stuff Your Kids will Care About

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Hilton Falls

Hilton Falls

It’s heeeere….For all you Fall lovers out there, now starts the autumn fun!  Farms and pumpkins here we come….Many of the Halton Parks have their annual fall festivities lined up – you can find some info here.  Today we visited Hilton Falls.

Path to the falls
Path to the falls

Our main reason for going was to do marshmallow roasting at the bonfire that they have going near the falls.  Our son has been asking for camping activities and I thought this would be a good way to do something camp-ish, with little effort 🙂 More on this below…

My husband and I like hikes with waterfalls and have been to some nice ones in Hamilton, such as Sherman Falls and Tiffany Falls.  With a perfect 16c day before us we set out to explore the park.  Hilton Falls is located at 4985 Campbellville Rd in Milton.

The Looong Trail to the Falls

There are a few different hiking trails here.  We did the yellow path – Hilton Falls Trail – and followed the trail markers from A to C to D (the straight line route between C and D) and then doubled back.

Nice tall trees along the path.
Nice tall trees along the path.

It was a long walk, especially for our 3 year old.  Our 5 year old was fine, but a bit impatient that it was ‘taking so long to get to the campfire’.  We seem to be moving away from using our stroller, but this was one outing where I wish we brought it with us.

Kids on the trail.
The trail was flat and wide most of the way. But it was a long walk for a 3 year old.

The terrain is flat and easy, but seemed even longer than it was due to 3 year old snail pace walking.  I saw  numerous families sluggishly carrying their toddler and muttering ‘almost there’.  Trust me, just bring the stroller.

Speaking of strollers, I would say that the path we followed was stroller friendly, but there is one small section at the beginning of the trail that will be a bit tricky.  It’s steep and rocky, depending on your ability you might need a helper in this small area.  But after that it’s smooth sailing.

There is also an additional viewing platform that is accessible via stairs – but you can avoid them and see the falls from the viewing area near the bonfire.

Steep part of the trail.
Pic of the steep part at the start of the trail. Everything else after this is flat.
Rocks on the path.
Close-up of some of the rocks at the start of the path.

However, there are a few entrances to these trails so another spot may have a smoother entrance.

I also saw many parents walking the trail with their very little ones in a carrier.

Beautiful Tree Covered Walking Trail

It was peaceful and the trees were very beautiful, the smell of pine in the air.

Trees on the path.
Lots of greenery. A pretty path.
Pretty trees.
Pretty trees.

It wasn’t crowded at all – so if your 3 year old has a mini meltdown because the nut she found on the ground has a line on it…there are very few people around to stare at you 🙂

Here’s my husband trying to find her a nut with no lines on it.

On the way to the falls.
The mini-meltdown on the long path to the falls.

My kids enjoyed spotting chipmunks and caterpillars and mushrooms growing on logs.

This trail was very nice, just a bit far for the little ones.

There is a picnic table off to the side, about 3/4 of the way to the falls where you can stop for emergency snacks if needed.  You will also find an outhouse style toilet en route as well (regular washrooms are near the park entrance).

Picnic table en route.
Picnic table for emergency snacks.

The Bonfire – hint: Bring Marshmallows

As you approach the falls viewing area, there is a nice bonfire area set up with benches and large rocks for sitting.

The bonfire area.
The bonfire area.

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Lakeside Park

Lakeside Park

If you are not quite ready to spend each weekend at a farm and want to head out to a good ol’ fashioned park before the weather turns, you might want to consider Lakeside Park in Oakville.  We were pleasantly surprised by Lakeside Park, 6 years in Oakville and this was our first visit!

Playground at Lakeside Park.
Playground at Lakeside Park.

 

In our search for nice bike paths for young kids, I thought Lakeside Park and surrounding areas might be a good choice.

Lakeside Park is located at 2 Navy St. in Oakville, and as the name suggests, it’s right beside the lake.

Our Plan: Take the kid’s bikes; go for a short ride and then end up at the playground.

Our Reality: bike chain came off 30 seconds into the trip and we couldn’t get it back on.  Kids saw the playground first and didn’t want to leave…so that’s where we spent our time.

There is nothing extraordinary about the playground here, regular swings, slides etc. but what made this a neat park were the small heritage buildings on site.

Oakville Historical buildings FREE to take a look

There are two historical buildings here.  Oakville’s first post office and Thomas House (a farm house from 1829).  Lakeside Park was not the original location for either; they were moved there by the Oakville Historical Society. https://www.facebook.com/OakvilleHistoricalSociety/

I had no idea these buildings were at the park and I was very excited to take a look!  Both are FREE to go in (they are very tiny structures).

The post office has a staff member who can answer questions and provide you with information. There are also plaques along the wall with interesting facts (young kids won’t give a crap about these though J

But they do have a couple of small activities that kids might enjoy.  Colouring pages and writing with a feather and ink.  My kids really liked this and they seemed to be a natural at it!

Some fine lettering in the historic post office.
Some fine lettering in the historic post office.

 

Using a feather to 'write' her name.
Using a feather to ‘write’ her name.

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