What’s better than a living history museum? A Dog-friendly living history museum.
Want one better? Add a dog festival to a dog-friendly living history museum and I’m driving to London. London, Ontario, Canada, that is.
Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London, Ontario is one of those charming historic villages of organized historic buildings – some original and moved to the site, others replicas – augmented with costumed interpreters acting the part of printer, baker, weaver, or blacksmith that I love to wily away an afternoon strolling through.
If I’m strolling, so should my dog Victor because that pup’s got to move. And he loves smelly stuff. Old buildings and livestock pastures fit the bill to Victor’s satisfaction. (Check out our adventures at a Shaker Village in Kentucky).
Designed like a mini-towns with gravel walkways from one building to another, Fanshawe Pioneer Village tells the story of rural communities in Middlesex County, Canada from 1820 to 1920. Walk through a 19th century general store, visit a turn-of-the-century doctor’s office, or help layout letters at the printers for a pressing the weekly newspaper – this is the type of ‘experiential’ learning happening here … for people.
Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed in the buildings (though I carried Victor almost in at times). The buildings aren’t large so leaving the dog outside for a minute isn’t a problem – often he’s within view.
But it’s the green grass, car-free back-in-time outdoor environment that’s appealing to dogs and their walkers. Truth is dogs would have run around here one hundred years ago, out of necessity. Little terriers with strong prey instinct like Victor were welcome – so, if they want to be authentic, shouldn’t he run free? (Try explaining that to 21st caretakers).
Today, however, I’m among like-minded company. It’s the annual ‘A Day for Dogs’ 2016 (next on September 10, 2017) and Fanshawe Pioneer Village has literally gone to the dogs.
What’s at ‘A Day for Dogs’ that’s not usually at Fanshawe Pioneer Village?
- Fido-friendly vendors (naturally)
- a canine talent show
- several agility contests thanks to Cruisin’ Paws Agility Show (also part of Pawloosa in London)
- races between kids and dogs (you’ve got to see that)
- biggest and smallest dog contests
- and the seemingly mandatory Dachshund Races in this case sponsored by Wienerfest Home Country Festival, another regional dog event.
Visit the blacksmith building – always a popular living history stop – and pick up a special branded souvenir with your dog’s name on it for only $2. Then buy even more swag from the vendors.
If you’re like Victor (and why wouldn’t you be?), you can’t stay on leash all day. Thankfully, there’s a lure course to try out and a leash-free play zone in the Brewery Yard, great for Victor but unfortunately no actual brewery for mom.