Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Friday, August 21, 2015

Village Life

Can't tell you how wonderful the Pioneer Village at Lang, near Peterborough, is. Although I had wanted to go there for a long time, because of its association with a friend's story, I wasn't sure what I would find. One of those earnest local museums containing a hodgepodge of proudly donated treasures, lovingly displayed, but not especially well curated or interpreted, maybe.

We have spent many enthralled hours in such small museums, and admire the dedication of those who keep alive these vital links with our past.

 Lang Pioneer Village is not one of them. It is top-notch. Beautifully created, under the direction of one of Ontario's best restoration architects, Bruce Napier Simpson, Jr. Staffed by dedicated informed costumed volunteer village people.

A bucolic setting along Indian River, under Friendly Village trees (who remembers that reader from Grade 2?) Buildings moved from communities with which we have connections. Menie. Norwood. Keene.

Peaceful and uncrowded, yet there is a buzz. Creative and resourceful people, engaging events and programs.  At the time of our visit, a week-long fibre-fest was culminating in a special event, the grand ribbon-cutting opening of a massive rescued and restored Jacquard loom at the museum village's S.W.Lowry weaver shop.

The whole sheep to shawl story. Freshly shorn sheep in the orchard pasture (I swear they were unshorn when I visited early that same week!) A woman dying wool using plant dyes, in an iron pot on a crane over a smoky little fire outside the 1825 Fife Cabin (heard that name? Think wheat.)

Demonstrations of all the 'womanly arts.'

So many wonderful memories. I cannot say enough about the place: a treat for the senses, the memory, the mind, the heart. I do urge you to go. But they close for the season soon. Check out their superb website.


  1. We haven't been to Lang Pioneer Village since the early sister, a fiber junk unlike anyone else I know, went with her friend to the display you mention.
    She told me that Andrew was at the General Store. He is the son of my cousin, who I haven't seen since he was about 10! Thank you for this piece!

  2. Great to hear from you, and to hear the connections! You must plan a return visit.

  3. Planning a return visit next time we are in Peterborough.
    I LOVE your site. My family were UELoyalists who migrated up to PEC, then Northumberland Co. then on to Peterborough. I learn so much interesting stuff about their lives on your pages.

  4. Where did your UEL folks come from? I'm always fascinated at the routes families took. One side of my family crossed frozen lake Ontario from New York state, the other came via Sorel, PQ and the St. Lawrence.Thanks so much for visiting AR.