I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Bronte Creek Provincial Park is one of our family’s favourite outdoor spots in Halton Region. I was super excited to check out their Victorian Christmas event this year. We hadn’t been since 2012 (see my post from that time), and had never been with Em. The marketing specialist, Andrew, assured me that the event this year’s event was the best yet, with even more games, activities and decorations, and we couldn’t wait to check it out.
Not that I had any doubt, but he was right! We were greeted at the welcome centre by towering blow up snowmen (not very Victorian, but the kids got a kick out of it), old-fashioned games and plenty of Victorian character cut-outs for picture taking opportunities. The kids loved doing the reindeer toss, climbing into the sleigh and making their very own wooden toy trains (with the help of a nice young man with a modern day glue gun). Great tactile experience for the kids to practise using sandpaper and use their creativity in decorating the finished product. Not to mention learning that presents didn’t always come from the store- they used to be handmade by parents and grandparents!
From there, we walked over to the main homestead (there is a wagon ride but it was a nice mild day and we felt like walking) and the kids were eager to see Santa! The cabin may look unassuming from the outside..
but inside is a magical experience! The smell of oranges, cinnamon and cloves hits your nose, and the chilly outside air disappears into a warm, welcoming embrace as you step inside. Friendly costumed volunteers greet you, and immediately offer to dress you up in some old-fashioned garb as well. The kids were thrilled to do this- and WGD and I decided to as well! WGD has forbidden me to post the pics, but he looked quite dashing in his top hat. I felt a bit frumpy in my long skirt and button up top (over top of my normal clothes), so yeah..let’s stick with pics of the kids.
Once we were garbed, we were ushered around the corner and heard the jingle of bells and a soft chuckle. Santa!
Part of the Santa experience is that a staff member takes pictures of the entire visit for you- allowing you to take part in the moments without worrying about capturing them.
The girls were a little shy but Santa was a rockstar and warmed them up with hi-fives and gentle conversation. They were happy to sit on his knee and we got some great photos. The girls looked so adorable in their costumes- like little dolls!
Pretty sure this was the same Santa from years past- he has a very distinctive chuckle and was so great with the kids! We were given our USB right after the visit, which held about 30 unlocked photos. I had a great time editing them at home. I know I’ve said it before, but this was SO much better than a mall visit! Where else can you play dress up, be transported back in time and get to meet Santa?
We finished our excursion with a stop to say hello to the barnyard animals (turkeys and cows today) and then a tour of the Victorian home resplendent in holiday trimmings. The girls really enjoyed getting to hear an authentic gramaphone (no iPods back in the day) and listen to a storytime in the parlour. We couldn’t end the visit without a stop in the kitchen to enjoy fresh baked cookies and delicious apple cider.
Thank you Bronte Creek for a fabulous event! We certainly left even more high on the holiday spirit than before.
A few quick notes:
- Daily vehicle rate is $17. It allows access to the event itself but the separate Santa visit is an additional $15. The last time I was there (2012), it was $5 so I was curious to see what enhancements had been done to justify the price increase. I am happy to say I feel it is definite value for the money. There are a lot more activities in the welcome centre (the wooden train making station is an especially nice touch), more decorations and all in all, it is a lovely setting in which to enjoy a day. Friends of Bronte Creek Provincial Park, the organization that runs the event, is a non-profit group that relies on volunteers and monies raised through community fundraising and special event admissions. Your money is definitely well spent here.
- Bring small change. Cookies are a very reasonable $0.75 and hot drinks (coffee, hot chocolate or cider) not much more. They also sell locally made ornaments in the kitchen for a reasonable fee.
- Good walking shoes (or boots) are a must! We brought the stroller to hold all our extra mittens, water bottles etc.
- There are tons of beautiful spots to take family photos. Be a good neighbour and offer to take another family’s photo for them- there are so many pics of just DH and the kids, or just me and the kids- I know I always appreciate when someone else offers to take one of all of us together, so I always make an effort to do likewise if I see others in the same situation!
For more information, please check out http://www.brontecreek.org/~bront857/index.php
Congratulations to Natalie G., our lucky SOHM who won the Victorian Christmas giveaway via Twitter!
*this is a sponsored review for which I was given complimentary tickets. All opinions expressed are my own.