There has been a lot of fuss made recently about changes to Upper Canada Village - an historic village west of Cornwall. There are plenty of runours flying about that it is being sold off, that it will become a theme-park style park, that the historical perspective will be lost.
We go to Upper Canada Village every year, because I really like the pace there. The kids like it too. They have milked cows, watched farriers, had their left hands tied behind their back by a period school marm, and generally enjoyed themselves meandering along the dusty roads. Me, I'm inspired by their gardens, (though refuse to give up my rototiller, a decidedly modern convenience).
This year, the Medieval Festival was held inside the village boundaries, albeit off to one side. It caused a great deal of consternation - that it was purely commercial, that it had no place being held at the village, that it was, in effect, ruining Upper Canada Village.
To which I reply, Rubbish. The Festival was historically interesting, and I think drew more people to the village. We went to see the jousting, and then went around the village, stopping for lunch at the Barn Restaurant before returning for the afternoon joust. It was a great day.
On Tuesday, the kids returned to Upper Canada on a school trip, this time without the Medieval Festival, and enjoyed another great day.
True the medieval festival was a different time period. So what? So is the Victorian Alight At Night Festival the village holds at Christmastime - a festival enjoyed by so many.
I would rather see a few interesting additions to the village on weekends that help make money, than see the village close for lack of resources. And a festival that takes place at the far edges of the village doesn't detract at all from the historic charm of the village - but merely serves as an added point of interest and may encourage people, who may not normally have given the village a thought, to come for a day.