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Celebrating Local Food, Community Life and the History of the Harvest


Toronto: Black Creek Pioneer Village will host the 55th annual Pioneer Festival, a harvest celebration of local foods, beautiful crafts and the communities who create them. By continuing traditions which date back to Ontario’s early settlers, the Pioneer Festival provides the public with a window into sustainable living practices and community building: issues which are as relevant in our time as they ever were in the past.

“The Pioneer Festival is a chance to experience how what was once old-fashioned has become cutting-edge again,” said gardening expert Mark Cullen, advisor to Toronto Region Conservation, which owns and operates Black Creek Pioneer Village. “This is the perfect occasion to re-discover the value and pleasure of fresh, local and sustainable.”

“This event is a great example of bringing communities together,” said Chris Bagley, general manager of Black Creek Pioneer Village. “Many groups and hundreds of people are involved in the preparations: harvesting, baking, crafting and stitching. It’s a joy to share the fruits of their work.”

The Pennsylvania German Folklore Society will demonstrate how sausages are made. The group typically sells hundreds of pounds of the prepared meats, along with traditional apple butter and sauerkraut to festival goers

“There is no ’fast food’ here,” said Lorne Smith, director of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society and historian of the Town of Markham. “All of the cuisine is prepared on site that day, or by volunteers here in York Region. Everything is made by hand with the freshest local ingredients. We’re passing on skills from the past that are still relevant today. We’re making sure these arts are not lost.”

Each year the Mennonite Central Committee organizes quilt-making and baking bees for the event and hosts a lively auction to sell the quilts. All of the proceeds from their work are directed to international relief agencies and the Ten Thousand Villages program.

Visitors can join four generations of the Snider family pressing apple cider on the same mill used by their ancestors. The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire offer their ever popular Bargain Emporium, and the York Centre District Women’s Institute runs a tearoom with home baked goods, a welcome break for rest and refreshment during a full day.

The Pioneer Festival runs from 10:00 am to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 17 at Black Creek Pioneer Village. Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and students, and $11 for children 5-14, and includes full access to Pioneer Village. Black Creek Pioneer Village is located at 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto, (one block east of Jane Street, south off Steeles Avenue, right next to York University).

About Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek Pioneer Village is Toronto’s premier outdoor living history museum. Visitors can explore 40 heritage homes, shops and buildings restored to re-create an 1860s Ontario village. Historic interpreters in period dress demonstrate how villagers lived, worked and played. The Village hosts learning programs and special events that highlight local heritage and culture. The tranquil setting, rural landscapes, heritage gardens and period farm animal breeds make Black Creek Pioneer Village the perfect place to break out of the modern world and journey into the past. Located in north Toronto, Black Creek Pioneer Village is owned and operated by Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). For more information please visit


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