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Doon Heritage Village

Doon Heritage Village photo of blacksmith shop photo of Repair Shop photo of village interpreter with calf photo of train photo of railway station photo of Freeport Church

Doon Heritage Village is a picturesque 60 acre living history village that shows visitors what life was like in Waterloo Region in the year 1914.

The Waterloo Region Museum is the entrance to Doon Heritage Village. The living history village is open seasonally from May 1 to December 23. One admission price includes entry to the village and museum exhibit galleries.

The village comes to life with knowledgeable interpreters dressed in authentic 1914 clothing and features historic buildings, farm animals and fun activities the whole family will enjoy.

Learn what was happening locally, provincially, nationally and internationally in the year 1914, the time period Doon Heritage Village is set in, by watching our Orientation Video. Visitors can also view this video in the Christie┬« Theatre located in the grand lobby of the museum before entering the living history village.

In the settlement of Waterloo County, many small villages developed at the intersection of two roads. These crossroads became a natural point at which trades and services developed to serve the surrounding farm community. Tied to the land and the seasonal activities of farming, the rural community represented stability and continuity.

The early 20th century saw an enormous growth in Canada's population with the influx of immigrants. Berlin, the centre of county government, grew from 9,700 in 1900 to more than 15,000 by 1912 when it became a city. Toronto, the provincial capital, grew from 209,000 to more than 380,000.

People from many parts of the world arrived on Canada's shores. Most people from Great Britain and Europe were welcomed. And yet at the same time, some people were denied entry into the country due to restrictive immigration policies.

Canada's western provinces were being settled. Large eastern cities were booming, but not without social and economic problems. Infant mortality rates were high. Typhoid fever, smallpox and diphtheria were a constant fear. Sweat-shops, child labour and poverty were common.

Rural Waterloo County could not escape the changes that swirled around it. The stability of the rural community was being challenged.

Telephones, newspapers and telegraphs now meant that current world events, political decisions, and the latest sports scores were topics of conversation on village streets. As well, extensive rail service and an improved mail system resulted in the newest fashions and household items, as seen in mail order catalogues, appearing in rural homes.

Although horses were still the main form of power on the farm, the introduction of electricity combined with the use of steam and gasoline engines made it possible for more work to be accomplished by one individual in a shorter amount of time. Labour saving devices allowed a larger segment of rural society to pursue a variety of leisure activities from hockey to music.

August 1914 and the start of World War I brought the impact of the changing world into the rural community. The outside world was no longer a foreign place. It was known; it was personal. The rural community, like the larger community around it, could no longer be isolated from world events.

In 1914 the lives of everyone in Waterloo County were changing ... relive that time at Doon Heritage Village.