Take a journey back in time this holiday season by visiting Bethune House in Gravenhurst.
Shortly after opening in 1976, Bethune House began hosting their Victorian Christmas, and did so for many years. However, as new facilities, programs and exhibits were developed the traditional Christmas celebration was put on hold.
Now, due to popular demand, the Victorian Christmas will be making its return this holiday season on Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“We’ve always enjoyed being an active member of the community and . . .this gives local folks the opportunity to see the church manse decorated for the season and to give school children and their families a chance to explore and learn about life here in 1890,” says Scott Davidson, the site manager.
There will be plenty to see and do for guests.
In place of today’s ubiquitous Christmas lights, guests will see over 150 feet of cedar rope, adorned with hand made decorations and ribbons, an eight foot Christmas tree with antique decorations and actual Victorian gifts under and even in the branches of the tree.
Staff will greet visitors in historic costume, answering any questions as they explore the house. And they can sample hot apple cider and other traditional treats in the restored kitchen.
“For some visitors, this will remind them of a grandparent’s home during the holidays,” says Davidson. “For others, it will be a unique peek into the season 130 years ago and a sense of how life has changed and how some traditions remain.”
Admission is still free for Canada 150 celebrations, but they are asking visitors to bring along a non-perishable or monetary donation for the local food bank.
“Visitors and staff often discover that the decorated house reminds us to slow down and appreciate the simple beauty that a Victorian Christmas would bring to a household, a family and a community,” says Davidson.