Wednesday, September 30

Roadschool Trip to Canada

Until recently, the kids had never been out of the country.  While in upper Michigan, we decided to remedy the situation...discovering some historic sites along the way!  Join us to explore bushplanes, the War of 1812, and Canadian history!

ETA - Yes, we now realize that this isn't actually WEST Ontario.  Southern US public schools don't exactly emphasize Canadian geography....and I resemble that comment!  Who knew Ontario was so huge?!
With a day to kill and passports in hand, we headed up over the Mackinaw Bridge, an hour north of our hotel, and into Ontario, Canada.  It was the boys' first trip north of the border, but given how much we enjoyed our short time probably won't be the long as we visit in summer.
You know him; you love him; you've learned more than you ever wanted to know about airplanes because of him!  Oh wait...maybe that's me.  😏  Our airplane kiddo was desperate to visit the Bush Pilot this is his new career goal - bush pilot in Alaska...and so that was our first stop.  We spent several hours chatting with the folks who worked there, many of whom were past bush pilots themselves.  Where the museum is used to be an emergency outpost...

The inside is much larger than it looks!  There are hands-on exhibits, airplanes you can crawl up inside of to play, airplanes you can get inside of to 'fly' over the area, and a lot about fire safety.  (We learned that one of the things these bush pilots do is airplane firefighting.)  There are also exhibits about life in the bush camps, where they live when it's too far to get back to base in the same day.  
These airplanes are much larger inside than  you'd imagine!  We toured emergency planes, hospital planes, research planes, and good old passenger planes.  There are models of airports past and many hands-on STEM exhibits where you can fiddle with the mechanical drawings of several different planes.  One of his favorite planes was the old DC-3 passenger jet.  He loves the golden age of flight!
He also liked the large cargo jet, where he was able to get into the cockpit and actually 'fly.'  If you have children, or just airplane folks, this is an affordable and fun museum to visit in the northwest Ontario region!   
If you have a kid that's interested in flight, you might check out AV-STEM.  It's an online class that we've been doing for about a year, and is taught by an Alaskan bush pilot.  It comes with all of the equipment needed and will prepare you to get your pilot's license...and the customer service is fantastic.
As much as one loves airplanes, the other loves historic costumes.  Every museum we visit (that has uniforms) involves us stopping to take dozens of pictures of the minute details for future re-creation....  These War of 1812 uniforms were discovered inside the Ermatinger-Clergue Museum just across the street from the airplane museum.

Not only were there uniforms on display, but there were costumes to play dress up!!  I am totally the mom who will dress up and re-enact with her kids.  😊  We played here for a bit, watched a historic video (where the characters actually say 'Eh!'), and then headed to the second part of the museum.
One of the things we discovered in the house was this old map.  Not being from Canada, we'd never seen one like it before, and the boys love historic maps!  We'll be studying it further as we study Canadian history next year in our curriculum.  We also found snowshoes, furs, and other cold-weather gear that aren't often seen in the historic homes in our neck of the woods...  (pic above)

This house was built by Charles Ermatinger, of the NorthWest Company, and is the oldest surviving house in northwest Ontario.  It was constructed when the area was a fur trading post on the Upper Lakes, and became the center of the region's social and business life.  It also served as military headquarters briefly.  We enjoyed looking around at the inside, which is set up to represent family life in the 19th century, and wondered at the architecture of the home beside it, which was not open to the public.
With daylight rapidly fading, it was time to cross back into the US, meet up with dad in Sault Ste. Marie, pick up some fudge, and prepare to hit the road again!

War of 1812 & Canada Resources 

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