Sometime ago, my friends and I spent a fabulous day at the Gibson House, located close to Park Home Avenue and Yonge Street in North York. I thought I would tell you about it because it was such a unique experience, and one that I would repeat in a heartbeat.
The Gibson House was built in 1851 by David Gibson. Mr. Gibson was a surveyor by trade and took part in the 1837 Rebellion. Needless to say, after the rebellion was squelched he thought it wise to spend time in the United States. Eventually, he returned and built this lovely house. It is kept as a historical building and in open daily except holidays. They will be under renovations for the next two to three years, but will remain open. If you decide it's worth a visit, please check the website (http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/gibson-house.htm) for open hours and directions.
So, with a snippet of history and contact info aside, let me tell you about our day. We had a dinner tour! It was Mary's brilliant idea that if we came to the museum with a small group of people, could we cook a meal 19th-century style, using their 19th-century recipes, and then eat it. When they said yes, we were thrilled. We asked a few friends to join our little group, and, with eight eager ladies, we arrived at the house for a day of fun. The staff, dressed in period costume, were well prepared for our arrival with all the necessary ingredients, and showed us to the kitchen. After we washed our hands using a basin and pitcher, they handed us aprons, and we set off to work under their guidance. The meal we created was delicious. It was an authentic roast chicken dinner with seasonal vegetables and dessert, cooked over the open kitchen fire.
While the food was cooking, we went on a tour of the house, which I must say is lovely, and learned about the history of the Gibson family.
Following this, we went back to the kitchen where we sat around the table and enjoyed our day's efforts. The food tasted really good, not because we made it — it was just plain good!
As a fun thing to do with a group of friends I highly recommend it. We had a lot of laughs, great companionship, and we came home with a little more appreciation of the difficulties our great grandmothers faced daily in running a house.
If you know of any other museum in the Lake Simcoe area that runs a similar program, I would love to hear about it.