Halloween: Parlour Games

Lang Pioneer Village, 2021

A Halloween party, fortune-telling party games and a roaring fire in the stove? Sounds like the kind of 1890s Halloween party that I "hosted". Dressed as the Sun and my partner as the Moon, we "hosted" an 1890s Halloween Party. We chatted with visitors about popular party games, the Halloween party trend, and even led them in divination games inspired by turn of the century party guides.

Victorian Calisthenics

Lang Pioneer Village, 2021

AppleFest is one of the largest events of the year hosted at the Village. Calisthenics was a new interpretive station this year. Dressed in a reproduction 1890s Cycling Sweater (knit by me) and tartan bloomers, I taught willing participants some key moves from Catherine Beecher's book Physiology and Calisthenics: For Schools and Families. For interested parties, I also discussed how sports and fitness changed drastically for women in the 1890s, in part due to changing societal views and numerous sport crazes.

The Great War & Suffrage

Fort York National Historic Site, 2021

The first major event at the Fort since the beginning of the Pandemic saw hundreds of visitors over the course of the two-day event. I was asked to participate as a living historian to discuss the interplay between suffrage and the Great War in Canada. Quite a bit of research (with still much to learn) went into this impression, from contextual history to material culture. It was a great experience to bring this impression to life and have conversations with guests about the long and complex history of the enfranchisement of all women in Canada, not just the few who got the vote in the war years.

Sergeant of the Canadian Regiment of Fencibles Infantry

Fort York National Historic Site, 2017-2021

Beginning as a Private in the summer of 2017, I was honoured to have worked my way up to Sergeant in my five seasons working at the Fort. I had this role for my last two years with the Guard (2020/2021). With navigating being a team leader for the first time, figuring out safe practices with regards to COVID 19 policies, and making drill COVID safe to continue to provide high quality demonstrations for the public visiting the site, it's safe to say I learned a lot.

As a member of the Fort York Guard Program I had the opportunity to learn how to safely fire a blackpowder musket and artillery piece, learn era appropriate drill and marching techniques for the War of 1812, learn about costume and uniform history as well as social history regarding the lives of the soldiers we were interpreting. On special days, you could also find some of us in small clothes in the 1826 kitchen cooking up treats for guests from historic recipes. Outside of our day-to-day at the Fort we also did special events for Canada Day and Simcoe Day. We also partner with sister sites to do a reenactment battle at Fort Eerie and our annual competition at Fort George. In the summer of 2019 at this particular competition, the Fencibles brought their A Game and we brought home the first place trophy.

My last summer as a member of the Fort York Guard was an amazing learning experience, and I am excited for new things but I know I will miss this position. I trust that 'Elsie' (it is tradition to name one's musket) and my uniform will be passed on to the next great Sergeant of the Guard!

Summer 2021, image taken before I learned how to tie a sash properly.