Saturday 7 December 2013

Frost Fair at Fort York

I had heard a few weeks ago that Fort York was holding a Frost Fair Christmas Market this weekend, so this afternoon Teena and I headed over.

Imagine yourself transported back in time to the early 19th century, where the local Christmas Market was one of the social and shopping highlights of the year. Wander through the historic buildings of Fort York where Historic Merchants will be selling their quality merchandise – all inspired from the 18th and 19th century. Feel the excitement and charm of the festive season in Upper Canada some 200 years ago! 

There was a variety of vendors and demonstrations. The first building we went into had a pottery maker. I watched as he made a candle holder.


There was also a printer from Mackenzie House He described the printing process and also explained that England held Frost Fairs on the Ice of the Thames River on which a printer would sell of souvenirs.


A reproduction of a volunteer form to enter the militia.

This merchant was selling old style glasses from the early 1800's plus writing quills.

The next building held chocolate makers who are volunteers from Mars Canada. I got a personal demonstration of chocolate making methods from 200 years ago. It was quite interesting. Then Teena and I sampled some hot chocolate made from that process. It was much more bitter and a little oily, but quite good!

Here are the beans after roasting. Then the shells are separated from the powdery chocolate inside.

The powdery chocolate is sprinkled onto this heated board and crushed into liquid chocolate. The chocolate is then placed into molds to harden for shipping.


Mars Heritage Chocolate made from this method is sold at the fort a a few other historic locations.

Next up was the kitchen where I sampled cookies, mincemeat pie and baked peaches. The peaches were my favorite! The oven is the box to the left of the fireplace. The baker said it is a little challenging as it does not heat evenly.

Teena was quite interested. She enjoyed the cookies too!


Before the cookies go into the oven, an unused comb makes the lines on the cookies. Nice that it has not been used for its original purpose!


I can't visit the fort without capturing some shots contrasting old and new.


This officer put some kids through their paces then demonstrated firing a musket.


More musket firing demonstrations, always my favorite!

Vendors selling period weapons. I had a good long talk with vendor who had all the sabres and muskets!


The Orange Peel Morris Dancers gave us a period performance and sang carols.


It was a fun and interesting afternoon. Too bad it wasn't better advertised. I can't remember where I heard about it for this year but apparently this is the third year for it. Teena and I will be heading back next year!

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