Even Scrooge would approve of Parks Canada Winnipeg's Red River Christmas at Lower Fort Garry  - These fine folks from the 19th century are ready to bring some Christmas cheer (Parks Canada Winnipeg)

These fine folks from the 19th century are ready to bring some Christmas cheer (Parks Canada Winnipeg)

By: Only in the Peg December 1, 2017 // Attractions, Family Fun, Festivals & Events

In a show-down for “best historical Christmas period,” the Victorians would likely out-tinsel the retro animation Rudolph.

In fact, it wouldn’t even be close, as no time period did the festive season better than the 19th century, something that Parks Canada Winnipeg knows so well. 

That’s why they are kicking off this holiday season, on December 9 and 10, with a Red River Christmas, an event for the whole family featuring more splendour than you can pin a wreath on -- within the walls of stunning Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site. 

Here’s the gist:

As soon as your family enters Lower Fort Garry, you’ll immediately be taken back to the mid 1800s via the fort’s inhabitants (aka costumed interpreters), who will charm you with affections from the time period when Sir John A. Macdonald was prime minister. 

Almost everything was created onsite by hand – which while you’d think was hard work, nowadays it comes across as a good old time, something your kids will surely relish. 

In the Big House (which back then wasn’t slang for jail), your family can take part in a wide variety of historic, hands-on activities, including Christmas ornament and card making, and button or magnet making (all of which make great souvenirs and stocking stuffers). Plus, there will be a candle making workshop – a skill that will melt the hearts of any craft lovers.

For all your epicureans in tow (one of our 2018 resolutions is to stop using the word foodie, so we are practicing that now), there will be cookie decorating (and surely eating), along with the setting of a Christmas feast, where you’ll see many outrageous dishes those Victorian Canadians created, including boiled beef tongue, a delicacy that you’ll get to sample!

Outside there’s also plenty to do, such as horse-drawn wagon rides, snowshoeing – not to mention a gang ski obstacle course to test your fancy footwork, and skating on the mini rink (please bring your own skates). 

Of course, this would not be a true festive event without the Big Guy himself! That’s right, Father Christmas will be in the house (aka the Museum Building) all day long while your kids get to dress up in Victorian garb for a photo with him. At school, when they show their friends their historic photo with Santa, it’s going to make those mall versions oh so lame. 

And this is just a sampling of all the festive cheer that will be spread throughout the day. There will be caroling, live music courtesy of traditional folk group Simpson’s Folly, and even a special appearance from Charles Dickens, who will read his classic tales by the fire. 

To wet your whistle, the Thirsty Beaver Tavern will be open for drinks and lunch, while the Stone Fort Trading Company will also be open for some civilized Christmas shopping. 

This wonderful event to kick off the holiday season will run on both days from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fees are just $27.75 for a whole family (2 adults and up to 5 kids); while individual tickets are $9.70 for kids (ages 2-17); $13.60 for adults; and $12.35 for seniors (65+).

You can purchase your tickets online here.