Story Ideas

10 things you need to know about…cool Canadian history adventures.

Victorian school classes or a First Nations sweat lodge are just two of the ways travellers can immerse themselves in Canadian culture.

25 December 2013

Suggested tweet: Soldier? Baker? Pilot? Dive into Canada’s dynamic history via these experiential adventures #explorecanada

Quiet at the back of the class, please. Canadian history is full of dynamic characters, intriguing stories and traditions—not an ounce of boring. You can hear all about these tales—or even better, dive right into them—via these experiential adventures.

1)    Attend school during the Victorian era. Want to freak out the kids? Take away their video games and smartphones (for a couple of hours at least) and enrol them in a class at Fort Henry in Kingston, ON, led by a schoolmistress that rewinds back to 1867.

2)    Be a soldier for a day. The popular, day-long experience at Halifax Citadel, NS, puts new “recruits” into authentic uniforms from 1869 when Canada was just a toddler (ie, two years old). Learn foot drills, how to fire a Snider-Enfield rifle and eat in the sergeants’ mess.

3)    Make bread the old-fashioned way: Get baking over an open hearth at King’s Landing Historical Settlement in Prince William, NB, as part of Fredericton’s popular edVentures. Stoke the fire and smell the aroma as the dough bakes. You’ll never want to go back to store-bought bread again.

4)    Fly in a vintage airplane. The Hamilton Warplane Heritage Museum, Hamilton, ON, is a fantastic place to look at classic aircraft. But why look when you can touch and feel during an actual flight? Numerous planes are available for eager co-pilots, from World War II vintage bombers such as the Avro Lancaster to a Boeing Stearman biplane.

5)    Sweat it out. Thunderbird House in Winnipeg, MB, offers a genuine sweat-lodge experience, a First Nations tradition that goes back to ancient times as a means of purifying the body and soul.

6)    Slip into a petticoat. Looking at the historical buildings in Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, ON, will give you a glimpse into rural life in the 1860s. Don’t stop there; take a two-footed jump into history by donning a fashionable period costume for the day. For $20, you’ll be outfitted from head to toe.

7)    Sleep in a covered wagon. Tap into your pioneer spirit at Beaverfoot Lodge in Golden, BC. Spend the night in one of 20 covered wagons arranged in a circle, thankfully much more comfortable than they were when immigrants settled in the West.

8)    Bone up on ancient history. Get down and dirty by participating in a day-long dig for dinosaur fossils at Dinosaur Provincial Park in Brooks, AB. During the Bonebed 30—1 Day Guided Excavation program you’ll probe into history millions of years old, guided by a palaeontology technician.

9)    Get ship shape. Canada has a long history as a leading shipbuilding nation. Volunteers on a tall ship can relive sea life just as our ancestors experienced, in positions ranging from cook to deckhand to skipper.

10)Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy. The once secret bunker at Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, 23 m (75ft) underground in Ottawa, ON, was built in 1961 to protect the Canadian government from a nuclear attack. Now an education centre and sometime movie theatre, its Cold War Cinema series includes a tour of the facility and a film (with a spy or political theme, naturally).

Looking for more visual Canadian historical inspiration? Browse our Brand Canada Library for thousands of images and videos from all over the country.

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