Shawna, Old Post Office | December 22, 2020
In the years leading up to Canada’s Centennial in 1967 there was a push to preserve the early history of Canadian Settlement. In 1960 D. Glenn Kilmer and Golden (Goldie) L. MacDonell, two Brantford high school teachers, began an outdoor museum project that would became Westfield Heritage Village. At this site there are 35 buildings where students and families can take a walk-through history to get a sense of early pioneer life.
Today Westfield Heritage Village is owned and operated by the Hamilton Conservation Authority. There is a $15 fee per carload that gains you access to their trails, picnic areas and the village grounds. They are open from 8am to 5pm year-round, but closed December 25th. Currently the village buildings are closed but washrooms are open, and masks are required in them. On the website and at the entrance there are maps of the trails, village and a Trailblazer app you can download from your app store. At the gate you can also pick up children’s activity sheets to complete during your walk of the village. If there is a time you cannot get out for a hike Idea Exchange has a number of hiking adventure story for kids, teens and adults. There are also a number of hiking trail guides in our collection.
December has always been a busy month when Christmas comes to the village. This year the staff have been working with social distancing guidelines to find a way to continue the tradition of Christmas in the village! The buildings will be decorated with homemade Christmas swags and there will be photo opportunities to take part in when you walk through the grounds. The majority of the buildings will have to remain closed but the Historic General Store and Gift Shop will be open Sunday afternoons on December 6, 13, and 20 from 12:00 to 4:00 pm, and they are stocked with their annual handmade Christmas decorations!
Since the 1960s, Westfield has been busy helping students learn about early Canadian settlers. With buildings and events being closed under current health guidelines, Westfield has developed a History at Home feature on the education section of their website. This section contains PowerPoint Tours of 5 key buildings of pioneer life with activities included! Here students can learn about early rural farm life at the Lockhart homestead; and the very important Cathcart one-room schoolhouse. More activity pages are listed at the bottom of their History at Home page. After learning about the buildings, you can take a virtual tour using the Trailblazer app as you walk through the grounds of the village.
The Idea Exchange website has an updated Homework Help page in the Kids section on our website. Here you will find 9 databases to help you find information for school projects of all kinds. If you are working on your pioneer unit, Explora Canada and Canadian Encyclopedia are great databases to explore for information. There are also download books for all ages from TumbleBook Library for picture books to TumbleBookCloud Junior for chapter books and classic stories.
There are plenty of books on early Canadian history on our shelves to help out too! In the Topics section of our Homework Help page we feature Education Kits. Each kit includes several books and an information sheet which has recommended activities to do. These kits are not in our online catalogue but can be requested by calling one of our children’s departments at one of our locations or emailing the location contact listed on the For Educators page. Depending on demand it may take up to a week to have you Education Kit ready for pick-up at the branch you contact.