9 Historical Sites that are Fun for Kids & Families

Upper Canada Village

With today's modern technology and conveniences, kids might have a hard time imagining what life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries. Luckily, they don't have to learn about life long ago just from books—they can experience it firsthand at one of the many historic villages located right here in Toronto and the GTA.

From working farms to blacksmith shops, general stores to castles, these historical sites offer plenty to see for day-tripping families. This summer, unplug the family and step back in time at one of these attractions that are fun for kids and adults alike.

Photo credit: Black Creek Pioneer Village

Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek is a working village, typical of those established in south central Ontario between the 1790s and the 1860s. At Black Creek, visitors are invited to escape the modern world, and experience Ontario’s rich rural heritage. Visiting the village is like stepping back in time to 19th-century Ontario. Forty authentically restored homes, workshops, public buildings and farms recreate the atmosphere of life in a rural Victorian community. This summer, explore the heritage buildings and gardens, enjoy outdoor games and discovery stations, take part in musical performance, visit with farmyard friends or attend a special event!

1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto, ON
Summer hours: Open daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm and weekends from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Cost: $12 to $15 per person. Children ages 14 and younger get in free Monday to Friday, in August.

Photo credit: Casa Loma

Casa Loma
Visit Canada's Majestic Castle, Casa Loma and step back in time to a period of European elegance and splendour. The 98 room castle, designed by architect EJ Lennox, features secret passageways, elaborately decorated rooms with authentic period furnishings and breathtaking views of the Toronto skyline from its towers. Today, Casa Loma is one of Toronto's top tourist attractions.

1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, ON
Summer hours: Open daily 9:30 am - 5:00 pm.
Cost: $20 to $30 per person.

Dundurn Castle. Photo credit: City of Hamilton

Dundurn National Historic Site
This 40-room Italianate-style villa built in the 1830’s on Burlington Heights and former site of a fortified military encampment established by the British in 1813, was once home to Sir Allan Napier MacNab, railway magnate, lawyer and Premier of the United Canadas (1854-1856) and his family. Today, Dundurn Castle tells the story of the family who lived above stairs and the servants who lived and worked below stairs to support their affluent lifestyle. A variety of events, workshops and exhibitions take place at Dundurn National Historic Site throughout the year. No two trips are ever the same!

610 York Blvd, Hamilton, ON
Summer hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday, 12 noon to 4:00 pm. 
Cost: $6 to $11.50 per person. Family Passes available.

Photo credit: Discovery Harbour

Discovery Harbour
Discovery Harbour is a historic site nestled along the shores of beautiful Penetanguishene Bay - just waiting for you and your family to join in the adventure. Discovery Harbour's story is filled with shipwrecks, ghost tours and life aboard tall ships. Visit this historic property throughout the summer and take part in an exceptional line up of special events. Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and Discovery Harbour are just 20 minutes drive from each other. Purchase one adult admission at either site and receive 50% off one adult admission to the other site! 

Discovery Harbour
93 Jury Dr, Penetanguishene, ON L9M 1G1
Summer hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Cost: $5.25 to $7 - Kids 5 yrs and under are free

Photo credit: Fort York

Fort York National Historic Site
Built in 1793, Fort York National Historic Site is the birthplace of urban Toronto. It is best known as the location where the Battle of York ended. Fort York is a 43-acre national historic site located in the heart of downtown Toronto. Referred to as Toronto’s founding landscape, Fort York National Historic Site is also a Heritage Conservation District, a registered archaeological site, and home to Canada’s largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. Special events take place throughout the year.

250 Fort York Blvd. Toronto, ON
Summer hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Cost: $6 to $14 - Family Passes are available.

Photo credit: Pickering Museum Village

Pickering Museum Village
Think History is boring? See it Live at Pickering Museum Village! Visit the largest living history museum in Durham and explore nineteen heritage buildings including a blacksmith’s shop, general store, steam barn, chapel and more. Pickering Museum Village offers tours, workshops, birthday parties, camps and events to engage and entertain the whole family! It’s a new adventure every time. Nestled on the banks of Duffins Creek, Pickering Museum Village is a living history pioneer village consisting of 19 heritage buildings, gardens, and orchards.

2365 Concession Road 6, Greenwood, ON
Summer hours: Open Wednesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm and Sunday: Noon to 4:30 pm
Cost: $6.50 to $9.00 per person

Photo credit: Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons
Located near Midland in the beautiful Southern Georgian Bay area, this world-renowned reconstruction illustrates the interaction of the French and Wendat nations. Visitors get a unique opportunity to see the earliest Canadian pioneer life, through guided or self-guided visits, school group tours, interactive education programs and special events. Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and Discovery Harbour are just 20 minutes drive from each other. Purchase one adult admission at either site and receive 50% off one adult admission to the other site! 

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons
16164, Highway 12 East, Midland, ON 
Summer hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Cost: $8.75 to $10 - Kids 5 yrs and under are free

War of 1812 reenactment. Photo credit: Upper Canada Village

Upper Canada Village
Touring Upper Canada Village is a magical experience, transporting you back in time to the 1860s. A key part of the experience is the authentic buildings that make up the village, the activities that each housed, and of course, the people who lived there. Founded in 1961, Upper Canada Village is one of the largest living-history sites in Canada. Life in a rural English Canadian setting during the year 1866 is depicted. There are over forty historical buildings, many moved to the village prior to flooding of the “Lost Villages” during the St. Lawrence Seaway development project. These include homes, functioning mills and trades workshops.

13740 County Road 2, Morrisburg, ON K0C 1X0
1-800-437-2233 or 613-543-4328 
Summer hours: Open daily from 9:30 am - 5:00 pm.
Cost: $13 to $20 per person

Photo credit: Westfield Heritage Village

Westfield Heritage Village
Westfield Heritage Village has a stunning collection of over 30 historical buildings, and is one of the most interesting historical locations in Ontario. Buildings have been carefully restored and are staffed with costumed interpreters. Look for special events throughout the season.

Westfield Heritage Village
​1049 Kirkwall Road, Hamilton, ON
Summer hours: Sundays and Holiday Mondays from 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Cost: $6.50 to $12.00 - Family Passes available

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