Waterloo Region Museum
When I entered the "What Makes Us Who We Are" section of this gorgeous 47,000 square foot
museum, I saw a guy riding an upside down bicycle which was hung from a cable attached to the roof of the building. It was a statue of Andrew Jenkins (he called himself Professor Jenkins), a resident of the Waterloo Region ,who on August 25, 1869 rode a bicycle-like contraption on a rope stretched across the
Niagara Gorge. His 11-minute feat was successful but he was criticized because his
velocipede was perfectly balanced preventing the contraption from dislodging from the rope. Take that, Nik Wallenda!
There are plenty of other fascinating displays. For example, did you know where the Blue Box program began?
Kitchener. In 1981 a pilot program began with blue boxes to collect recycled material. Within the first month, three times the anticipated amount of recycling was collected. In 1983, the program began city wide and the blue box was the cornerstone. Today, it's the model for recycling programs around the world.
Ever heard of Beck's Circus? It was
a truck named after Sir Adam Beck, the person who brought electricity to Ontario. We've got two generating stations in Niagara named after him. The truck on display travelled to county fairs and public events in 1912 to show the marvels of electricity. Apparently Sir Adam Beck was seen frequently behind the wheel of the truck.
One of the coolest exhibits is the Coming of Age display that looks at teenage life from the 1920's to the present. Boy, have times changed.
Tom Reitz, Manager/Curator of the Museum, standing in front of an original Conestoga wagon built in the 1770's told me, "There's nothing like this in the province of Ontario. This is a civic museum that shows how diverse the Waterloo Region has been and continues to be."
Waterloo Region Museum - Doon Heritage Village Orientation Video
Doon Heritage Village
As you exit the museum, you enter another world. Doon Heritage Village is a living historical 24 hectare (60 acre) village that shows visitors what life was like in 1914. When I entered the village, I was blown away by its authenticity. The first thing that struck me was a monstrous black Canadian Pacific Train Engine that sits on a track beside the Petersburg Railway Station. Like all of the attractions found here, they have been relocated from original locations throughout Ontario. Interpreters, dressed in authentic 1914 clothing offer guided tours of many of the 20 or so historic buildings. Check out the lovely covered bridge and be sure to walk through it to see even more of rural county life in the early 1900's.
George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, The Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.
The museum and village are located at
10 Huron Road, Kitchener. Admission to both attractions is Adults $10.00, Seniors and Students,$8.00, Children ages 5 to 12, $5.00 Family (2 adults and dependent children), $25.00.Don't forget to sneak in the child whose a friend of the family that never gets to go anywhere.