Fanshawe Pioneer Village

by Judi “Scoop” McWilliams

Telling the Story

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario
The following is an excerpt from the Fanshawe Pioneer Village website. The Village is an interactive museum that engages the community in the preservation and presentation of the past through living history experiences.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

Fanshawe Pioneer Village tells the story of rural communities in the former townships of Westminster, London, North Dorchester, Delaware, West Nissouri and Lobo in Middlesex County from 1820 to 1920 and the founding and development of the City of London up to 1840.”

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

“The following is a description of our tour of Fanshawe Pioneer Village


A New Pioneer Village to Visit
Judi and I have been to a number of Ontario pioneer villages, so we were looking forward to traveling to London to the Fanshawe Pioneer Village.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

This Pioneer Village is part of London’s Upper Thames River Conservation Area. We entered the entrance gates and followed the Village signs on the winding road. At one point we crossed a long high bridge. Down below a Dragon Race Festival was taking place.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

Eventually the road took us up to the Pioneer Village. The entrance sign read “1820-1850 Fanshawe Settlement”. The walkway took us to the Toll Gate and Visitor’s Entrance.  At the visitor’s centre we were given an overview of the Village.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

As we walked out of the Entrance building we were immediately “hit” with music. A Military Band concert Wurlitzer was playing. I had heard the music when we exited our car and wondered what and where was the music coming from.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

Now I knew! Fanshawe Pioneer Village is simply laid out and the handout map makes it even easier to follow.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

The Village is divided into four “time period” section; Fanshawe Settlement 1820-1850, Fanshawe Corners 1850-1880, Fanshawe Township 1880-1910, and finally, Town of Fanshawe 1910-1920.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London OntarioI could describe all the buildings in detail, but I don’t want to bore you, but I will say that they were wonderfully preserved and very interesting.

The only way to appreciate what they have accomplished in the 50 years since the Village was set up is to visit it in person.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

However, that being said, I want to elaborate on some of the interesting things we did see and observe.

Observations
First of all, like I said mentioned previously, the layout’s very easy to follow.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

A lot of thought has been given towards visitor comfort and experience.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

My second observation is the staff. They were all not only knowledgeable and helpful, but also enthusiastic.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

We stopped at one house to talk to two interpreters.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

When I mentioned that the animals in the barn area were hard to see, one of the ladies jumped up and said “I can solve that, come with me!.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

I followed her back to the barn yard and she opened the gates to the barn and led me to the animals – chickens, pigs, goats, etc. Up close and personal!

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

She then led me back to the gate at the field where sheep were gathered around a distant tree.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London OntarioShe went to a hidden bucket and pulled out a cup of feed and then came back to the fence.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

She banged on the fence and called the sheep to come, and they did, RUNNING! They knew why she had called! Up close and personal!

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

It turned out that one of her duties was to feed the animals. She had grown up on a farm and loved the task and the animals!

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

As we walked the grounds I looked for waste bins. I couldn’t see any! I was wondering where they were when all of a sudden I noticed two wooden boxes.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

On closer look, one read “litter” and the other “recycle“. The boxes had been built in such a way to blend in with the ambiance and character of the village.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

I then started to notice other innovations, buildings had “wheelchair ramps”, but they were built in such a way as they to blended in with the historical village setting.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

Much thought had gone into keeping the Village as true to the periods as possible, modern realities included.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

Visit the Village
To me, Fanshawe Pioneer Village is one of the best pioneer villages we have visited.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

Although I haven’t described the buildings, our photos should help you visualize what we experienced.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

However, it is much better to take the time to drive to London and visit the Village yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

Fanshawe Pioneer Village has a number of special events that are held throughout the year.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario
You can visit the Fanshawe Pioneer Village website for current event information. (Link: http://www.fanshawepioneervillage.ca/)

Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London Ontario

Leave a Reply