Although it relates to a personal anecdote, there must be a factual answer to my question which is why I post it here.
This thread has reminded me of a place I visited when I was an exchange student in Canada back in 1989.
It was a reconstructed First Nations* settlement in Ontario which impressed me a lot, arguably more than the Falls. I could really picture people living there and it was a fascinating glimpse on a culture I didn’t know much about. I was particularly impressed with the way it seemed well-integrated in its environment.
If I remember correctly, the settlement was located in a forest (a clearing, perhaps). It consisted of several wooden longhouses where several families could live. There may have been a hole in the roof to let smoke escape.
All this is terribly vague and general so I’ll try to narrow it down geographically. It was in Ontario. I was staying in the London area and we drove to get there. I remember it seemed like a relatively long trip to me at the time, probably 3 hours or so. In other words, it was not exactly next door but we had enough time to get there, visit leisurely and be back home for supper. We may have stopped near a vast expanse of water (Lake Erie ?) on the way but this happened almost 30 years ago and I may be conflating two different trips.
I’m probably not going to go back there anytime soon but I’d love to know what it was and see whether my memories match the pictures I’ll find online, if the place still exists.
- Sorry if I’m using this term incorrectly. I’m not a specialist of the appropriate terminology regarding Aboriginal Canadians. No offense intended.
It might have been Sainte-Marie among the Hurons.. I’ve not been myself but the Wikipedia description seems to match your recollections.
It is about 3 hours from Londonand near Lake Huron.
I was there last year, and the Indian longhouses are a separate section from the recreated mission, with their own stockade, so may have been remembered separately. Not really in a forest but with a lot of trees surrounding it. It’s close to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron, and has a small river running by it. You may recognize what you saw from the pictures on their website.
Some of the details may have changed since 1989, and the trees in particular may have been thicker, making it look more forested, or you may be remembering the surrounding area, as that part of Ontario is heavily forested outside the towns.
The pictures don’t ring any clear bell but it’s the right idea. The longhouses look different from what I remember and I’m sure I didn’t visit any European-looking building at the time but it sure could be the right place.
I’ve also found this interior view of a traditional longhouse replica at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology in London that is very close to my memories.
It could be this, too indeed…
I didn’t there were that many reconstructed settlements in Ontario. The interior pictures in that last link are very close to what I remember.
Yes, we are inordinately fond of that sort of thing! Another similar thing we have a lot of are pioneer villages. Due to the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and our flood-control system of dams and reservoirs, there’s been lots of historical houses available for recreations of 19th century villages, so Southern Ontario is chock full of those too!