Thirty-degree heat did not stop East Yorkers from coming down to Todmorden Mills on Sunday for the Harvest Festival, a celebration of Canada 150 through recreating what Danforth would have looked like over 100 years ago.
The event involved recreations of homes, devices, food recipes and historical sites at the site to look like how they would have looked like over 100 years ago to give visitors an insight to how Canadians lived back then. It was used to celebrate the fall.
“It was a big occasion in the early days of the history of Canada, a good harvest meant that you could live through the winter without being hungry,”Philip Chung, a museum coordinator who was volunteering at the event said.
Chung likened the festival to Thanksgiving.
“We are a more integrated society now so we get different kinds of food throughout the year. Harvest is a universal thing, it is celebrated in different cultures all over the world. Think of it like Thanksgiving” Chung said.
The interpersonal aspect of the festival was what struck Claire Ricci, program officer of Todmorden Mills Heritage Site.
“The interesting thing is that when people walk into it they remember things from their parents or their grandparents,” Ricci said. “It strikes a chord, they know what the items are, things like the telephone in the hallway, the refrigerator in there.”
Ricci also touched on how the festival brought people together in a sense that people from different cultural backgrounds can relate to some of the exhibitions at the event.
“It is always interesting to see people whose heritage is different but they see similar things, either the food or the way they do laundry or the bed setups. It is always nice to see those connections,” Ricci said.
“That’s what I like about this job, you get to make history with other history.”
The festival was also an avenue for East Yorkers from a different cultural background to know more about Canadian history. That was so for Jang Hung, a Chinese-Canadian and his family.
“We learned the history of the TTC, the old printing technique and it was nice to show the kids around. I have been here for over 30 years and I really love this country so it was nice to learn some of it’s history,” Hung said.
The festival was also an appreciation of nature, preservation and it’s history, which is one of the things Todmodern Mills is about.
Bruce Beaton, who works in the Toronto Community Theatre was portraying Charles Sauriol, a major environmentalist that lived in the Don Valley in the 1900s.
“He believed that nature is important to the people of this city. He was involved in creating the wildflower preserve here [Todmorden Mills],” Beaton said.
As it was over 30 degrees on a late September afternoon, Beaton spoke about climate change and the effect humanity has on nature.I think that we are at a tipping point as a species.
“Anybody that denies that the impact that we have had a species on the planet is leading to some changes is not looking at the facts of what is going on,” Beaton said.
Beaton believes that people would get a better attitude towards nature if they come to experience it a bit more.I think that the closer that the general population gets to nature the better.
“If people are actually walking in nature, breathing and smelling it. If I could recommend anything to anyone it is to take a walk in the park,” Beaton said.
Beaton had a map on display, which showed how much wildlife was left in the City of Toronto, which was just the preserve at Todmorden Mills Heritage Site. In that light, Ricci spoke about the importance of having the site now more than ever.
“We are the Don Valley Basin, it is nice to have a nature preserve, a wildflower preserve and an animal preserve, to have a space in the middle of the city so that they somewhere to live and we have somewhere to go that there is rock cement pavements and buildings,” Ricci said.