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Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

About us

There's no need to drive more than 30 minutes beyond downtown Ottawa to step back in time at a historic village! Cumberland Heritage Village Museum provides an immersive and educational experience that showcases life in the 1920s and 30s with dozens of heritage and true-to-the-era reproduction buildings. Find a quiet escape, or join us for our special events. Cumberland Heritage Village Museum always offers a unique experience that encourages you to play in the past and make memories for the future.

Location and hours

2940 Old Montreal Road 
Cumberland, ON K4C 1G3 

Contact us

Tel.: 613-580-2988 
Email: museecumberlandmuseum@ottawa.ca
Facebook: @CumberlandMuseum
Instagram: @CumberlandMuseum
Subscribe to our monthly "At your museum" eNewsletter. 

Hours

The museum is now closed for the regular season. Special programming is offered throughout the year.

Please see our Programs and Special Events listing below, subscribe to our monthly "At your museum" eNewsletter, or follow us on Facebook for further information.

Admission

Unless otherwise indicated, regular admission fees apply.

Adults - $7.75
Seniors (65+), Children (6-17) and Students - $5.50
Families (2 adults and accompanying children under 18) - $19.75
Annual Family Membership - $38.00 (2 adults and accompanying children under 18)
Children 5 and under are free.

Group rates available upon request. Additional fees may be applicable to some special events and programs.

Programs and special events

Vintage Village of Lights

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings - November 29 to December 22 from 3 pm to 8 pm
Cost: Families $19.75 (two adults and accompanying children under 18); Adults $7.75; Seniors, students, and children $5.50. Annual memberships are welcome (please note that during peak hours new memberships cannot be purchased). Children 5 and under are free.

There’s holiday cheer to share with family, friends, and loved ones of all ages at the Vintage Village of Lights. The Museum’s 1920s and 30s village is illuminated to set a picture-perfect scene as you explore the festive touches that have been a part of preparing for Christmas throughout the years.

As you stroll through the village, enjoy the fun activities on offer including: receiving a Santagram; decorating gingerbread; taking a horse-drawn wagon ride (weather dependent); singing along to Christmas standards; decorating ornaments; a cozy campfire; and more. And don’t forget to say hi to Santa!

Frequently Asked Questions

Accessibility

  • The main walkways are packed gravel. Most buildings are wheelchair accessible. However, as heritage buildings were built to the standards of their time, not all parts of the site are accessible for all. We are happy to provide more information on accessibility. Please visit https://bit.ly/2TrmJGk or contact the museum at 613-580-2988 (museecumberlandmuseum@ottawa.ca).

Admission

  • Admission is paid on arrival by cash, credit, or debit.
  • Cost: $19.75 family (two adults and accompanying children under 18); $7.75 adults; $5.50 seniors (65 and up), students and children. Children under five are free. Annual memberships are accepted.
  • Please note that new memberships cannot be purchased during peak hours. If you are interested in purchasing a new membership, we recommend visiting the Train Station on Wednesdays (10 am to 5 pm), Thursdays (10 am to 5 pm), or Friday afternoons.

Food and Allergies

  • No outside food is permitted inside the exhibition spaces. There will be picnic tables in the shelter (non-heated space) for visitors looking to enjoy a snack brought from home or purchased at the canteen.
  • Visitors are also welcome to enjoy a snack around the bonfire. Seasonal treats, soup, and drinks will be available for purchase at the canteen. Please note that hours of operation for the canteen may vary.
  • While the cookies and icing provided for gingerbread decorating are nut free, we cannot guarantee a 100% nut free programming space. If you have an allergy, please let staff know when being seated for this activity. Further allergy information for the gingerbread, cookie decorations, and canteen items is available. Please email museecumberlandmuseum@ottawa.ca.

Grounds and Weather

  • This is mainly an outdoor event. Please check weather conditions and dress warmly. Our site can be quite gusty so keep the wind chill factor in mind. We recommend dressing in layers and wearing a hat, mittens, and winter boots. Snowsuits may be appropriate for younger visitors.
  • The Vintage Village of Lights is explored on foot and free parking is available.
  • Strollers and sleds are permitted. To reduce crowding in some buildings, visitors may be asked to leave their stroller or sled outside. We recommend labelling your item for easy identification.

Hours of Operation

  • Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November 29 to December 22 between the hours of 3 pm and 8 pm. The Christmas lights are best enjoyed after 5 pm.
  • Saturday evenings are usually our busiest. If you are looking for a more relaxed experience, we suggest visiting on Fridays or Sundays. Families with younger children may want to consider beginning their visit in the afternoon to avoid longer waits for popular activities.

Santa

  • Santa is happy to take photos with visitors. Please note that there is not a photographer on site. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own camera.
  • Santa is bilingual and happy to speak with children in both English and French.

School programs

Curriculum-linked school programs and educational activities are offered for students from kindergarten through Grade 6. Students will learn through discovery and an up-close, hands-on exploration of the skills, lifestyles and challenges of the 1920s and 30s. 

All school programs are 2 hours in length.

Bookings for school programs for the 2019 season begin January 21, 2019.

Bookings for the Heritage Christmas 2019 program begin September 3, 2019.

If you have questions about any of the programs or require more details, contact us by email at cumberlandprogramming@ottawa.ca or phone at 613-580-2988. Detailed outlines of the curriculum objectives can be obtained upon request.

*All bookings are tentative until a confirmation letter is provided by the Museum (sent by email). 

School programs

Maximum 100 students per booked program unless otherwise noted.

From Farm to Table: May, June and September - JK to Grade 3

This guided education program is designed to give students the opportunity to learn about a variety of animals on a family farm and discuss the importance of livestock for work, food, clothing, transportation, health and companionship.  Children will learn about safety surrounding farms and farm animals and will be invited to share their own knowledge.

Kindergarten and UP! : May and June - JK and SK 

This guided education program introduces students to the variety of herbs and vegetables that would have grown on farms in the 1920s and 1930s.  Students will plant their own fruits or vegetables and learn about fruit and vegetable life cycles.

*Maximum 60 students per program.

Cumberland's Community: May, June and September - Kindergarten and Grade 1 

During this guided booked tour, students will explore the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum to learn about farmers and their communities. 

  • Kindergarten students will focus on the role of a farmer in the 1920s and 1930s and how it relates to today.  They will learn about people and trades in the community and how they engaged with farmers.
  • Grade 1 students will focus on the museum and the roles museums play in communities.  Students will explore the museum and the people in a 1920s and 1930s community that the museum represents.

Waste Not, Want Not: May, June and September (under revision for 2019) - Grade 1 to Grade 5

In this guided education program, students will learn about different methods used by people in the 1920s and 1930s to stretch their resources further.  Reduce, reuse, recycle is not a new idea!  Topics include: food preparation and preserving; sewing clothing; and other grade specific activities.

In a Pickle: May and June - Grade 1 and 2

Learn about the life cycle of plants, plant from seed in a garden, examine plants that re-grow (carrots, potatoes, leeks, lettuce), and investigate how the gardens are important and related to each other.

*Maximum 60 students per program.

Food from the Farm: May and June - Grade 2 to Grade 4

This guided booked tour will explore food chains that exist on a farm.  During a planting activity students will learn about vegetables and grains that are grown to feed farm animals and humans.  Students will explore how farm animals provide nutrients to both the soil and humans.

*Maximum 75 students per program.

A Lesson in Learning: February to October - Grade 1 to Grade 6

A sample school day from the 1920s / 1930s: math/language, recess, school rules, daily life, manual training (an art activity with clay); and social studies using a map of the museum. For the two hour program, teachers choose math or language.  If they wish, they can do both the math and language in a three hour program.

*Maximum of 25 students per program.

Heritage Christmas Program

Bookings for the Heritage Christmas 2019 program begin September 3, 2019.

2 hours in length. 100 students maximum (for larger groups please contact cumberlandprogramming@ottawa.ca). 

Program cost is $4.75 per student. *Prices subject to change.

Program includes: gingerbread cookie decorating; guided wagon ride; hot chocolate at the bonfire; a visit with Santa Claus; and a craft. Program is designed for pre-school; junior and senior kindergarten; grade 1; and grade 2. 

Requests for booking forms and questions about the program can be directed to cumberlandprogramming@ottawa.ca. All bookings are tentative until confirmed in writing (email). Cancellations must be received (by phone or email) as soon as possible. 

Please note that there is no available lunch space during the Heritage Christmas Program. 

While the museum makes all possible efforts to address allergy concerns, please identify to the staff assigned to your group all students with food allergies.  For questions about food handling or ingredients, email cumberlandprogramming@ottawa.ca. Please allow up to three business days for a reply.

Please ensure all students are dressed for the weather.  While many parts of the Heritage Christmas program are inside, several components are outside.

Programs for Visiting Summer Camps

*June, July and August. Please contact cumberlandprogramming@ottawa.ca for further information. 

From Farm to Fork (3 to 9 years; max. 100 participants) 

Meet different farm animals on site.  Play games related to farming and farm animals.

Country Sampler (4 to 10 years; max. 100 participants) 

What would a day in the country look like?  Meet some of our animals, visit the school for an activity, and get dirty in one of the gardens.

Museum Sampler  (9 to 13 years; max. 60 participants)

A sample of what the museum has to offer: plant in a garden; participate in a trade; meet some of our farm animals; and participate in a scavenger hunt.

Games we played (4 to 8 years; max. 150 participants) 

A program of games: tug of war; potato sack races; 3-legged races; tag; egg and spoon; "cooperative walking boards"

Fees

The cost to book a single program is $4.75 per child. Additional $1.25 per child for a second program. *Prices subject to change.

Availability

Wednesday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fully bilingual staff is on site at all times.

Planning your school visit

Booking Information

All educational programs must be booked ahead of time. As we can only accommodate a limited number of visitors at a time, plan alternate dates for your outing in case we cannot accommodate your first choice. To receive a booking form, please email: cumberlandprogramming@ottawa.ca.

Upon booking, you will receive a booking confirmation form as well as our Guidelines for Visiting Groups.

Cancellations must be received (phone or email) seven days prior to your field trip. Cancellations due to severe weather must be received as soon as possible.

Before your Visit

Please arrive 15 minutes before the designated start time of your program. Complete programs cannot be guaranteed for late arrivals. Please consider weather and traffic in your travel time.

A member of staff will meet your group at the group entrance, at the east side of the Train Station to direct your group to the location where you will meet your guide(s) and are able to leave your bags.

A single payment per school visit is due upon receipt of contract (cash, debit, credit, cheque payable to City of Ottawa, and online).  Prices are subject to change.

Adult Supervisors

Please make sure everyone is dressed appropriately for the weather.

Please notify museum staff of any food or environmental allergies within your group.

Children’s groups are required to maintain a student to adult ratio of 1:5 for pre-school, junior and senior kindergarten, and grade 1, and 1:7 for grades 2 through 6.

Supervisors are reminded to stay with the children at all times including lunchtime, self-guided visits, and washroom breaks.

Collections and exhibits

Artefact collections

Representing a fascinating period in our history - the 1920s and 1930s - the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum's collection represents the social, cultural, technological, and economic changes of the era between the First and Second World Wars. Textiles, mass communication devices, agricultural equipment, recreational items, and furnishings are just a few examples of the more than 19,000 objects in our care in this collection, with many of them on site as part of the museum's immersive exhibition experience.

Exhibits

Permanent exhibition

Nestled next to fields of hay, corn, and barley, the entire museum is an immersive exhibition that tells the story of rural life as new technologies, transportation, and cultural trends were emerging. As you stroll through the village and explore its many buildings and spaces, you and your family will learn the stories of a fascinating part of history and see thousands of historic objects, machinery, and equipment that may seem in some ways so different from today, and in other ways very much the same.

Dairy in the Interwar Period (Taylor Barn)

This interactive exhibition examines how dairy farming made significant gains and continued to emerge as a major industry in eastern Ontario.  The shift in farming techniques, the movement towards creating products like cheese and butter allowing for year round income, and advancements in technology and legislation, allowed farmers to produce products for Ottawa and the surrounding areas. 

Train Station

The Vars Train Station, complete with a station master’s office, a passenger waiting room, and freight room, tells the story of rail and telegraph service just before the automobile and telephone became the dominant means of transportation and communication for rural residents.

Watson’s Garage (temporarily closed)

Housing vintage vehicles, mechanic’s tools and commercial automotive supplies, Watson’s garage symbolizes the move towards advanced technology and a more mobile society during the interwar period. This single-storey building was originally built as a bicycle shop in 1925 and then converted to an Imperial Gas Station.

A.E. McKeen General Store

An essential service in a rural community, the general store tells the tale of how people shopped and the variety of goods available for purchase as the consumer culture wave began sweeping its way across Canada. On display you’ll find dry goods such as fabrics, notions, and gardening tools, as well as consumables like tinned goods, packaged tea, and candies available to rural communities in the 1920s and 30s.

Blacksmith Shop

Our resident blacksmith tells the story of the transition from handmade goods to mass production and the ever adapting craftsmen in the face of technological advance. See the blacksmith forging wrought iron and steel into items of all kinds. You’ll see bellows used to fan the coals of the fire and then the hammering of the red-hot iron on the anvil before the metal is cooled with water.

Sawmill and Shingle Mill                                      

Equipped with a diesel-powered engine, the fully operational sawmill is an example of local manufacturing industries unable to compete with factories of mass production.

Pump Factory

Housing equipment once used to make wooden water pumps for local farms, the pump factory is a unique example of rural ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit.

Dupuis House

This tiny house, built circa 1820, stands in stark contrast to other buildings as a testament to how far rural communities had modernized by the end of the 1930’s. It is furnished as the modest shop of a seamstress at a time when manufactured, ready-to-wear clothes began overtaking the clothing industry. The oldest building on site, it’s associated with one of the area’s first settlers – François Dupuis.

Duford House

The Duford House symbolizes a home typical of rural farming families with limited means with a garage and vegetable garden. The home is modestly furnished throughout with evidence of the many children who once lived there. The log-frame construction is hidden with wood siding. The house evolved over time to accommodate a family of 14 at one point. Jean Baptiste Duford built this 1 ½ storey home in 1925; the smaller home incurred cheaper taxes than a full 2-storey structure.

School House

Unlike their city counterparts, rural children were taught in one-room school houses equipped with wood stoves and oil lamps during the interwar era.

Print Shop

Exhibiting various styles of printing presses, the print shop shows a profession under pressure as mass communication through print and radio distributed from urban centres found its way to rural communities during the 1920s and 1930s.

Foubert House

With its modern electric appliances, telephone and automobile garage, Foubert house (built circa 1915) represents a rural home on the brink of the modern age. The electric ice box and the stove contrast with the wood burning stove and the pressed tin ceilings.

Knox Church

A focal point of every village and town, rural churches held communities together through worship, charity and fellowship. They were the center of life’s celebrations, personal contemplation and remembrance.  Built in 1904 in the Gothic Revival tradition, the Church features decorative cornices, arched windows with stained glass, hand-painted stencilling, decorative wooden wainscoting, and an ornate coffered ceiling.

Fire Hall

Home to the village of Cumberland’s first fire truck (1938), the fire hall displays equipment and memorabilia relating to the evolution of fire fighting technology that made huge strides during the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Gardens

Heritage herbs and vegetables are grown on site.  In rural communities families still grew their own food in gardens beside their homes, preserving the produce for the remainder of the year despite the convenience of the emerging grocery stores and outdoor markets in the city.

Our volunteers

The City of Ottawa Museums are committed to offering residents meaningful and rewarding volunteer experiences.

Heritage volunteers play an invaluable role in preserving our unique heritage and in providing museum visitors of all ages with opportunities to appreciate our shared story.

Thank you to all our volunteer team members for their continued support.

To enquire about volunteering, please contact heritagevolunteers@ottawa.ca.

Venue rental

Cumberland Heritage Village Museum is a rare village setting with modern conveniences and rustic charm. Whether you're planning a meeting, a special event, or the most important day of your life, the museum offers facilities with historic character set in a beautiful, tranquil location. With the addition of modern-day conveniences, your guests will enjoy a successful and memorable day.

An affordable and flexible option just 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa, the museum showcases historic buildings, lovely gardens, and 100 acres of fresh country air. 

Book an appointment

The charm of Cumberland Heritage Village Museum must be seen to be believed. Make an appointment with our Customer Service Booking Clerk for a tour of our venue and to receive a full rental information package and application form: museecumberlandmuseum@ottawa.ca

Weddings and special events

The Cumberland Heritage Village Museum offers a uniquely vintage experience making it the ideal outdoor setting for your special day. A mixture of historic buildings, lush green space, and lovely gardens provides a nostalgic backdrop to capture your wedding memories, celebrate your anniversary, or commemorate a special occasion. Choose your own caterer to make sure your event is exactly how you’ve always dreamed it would be.

Corporate meetings and retreats

The museum is a fantastic setting for your next corporate event. A lovely, spacious outdoor area for meetings, BBQs, picnics, and team building exercises will surely energize your entire team. Smaller groups up to 59 people (standing room) can be accommodated year-round in the Community Hall.

Birthday parties

Birthday boys and girls can have a blast when they host their next birthday party at Cumberland Heritage Village Museum. Parents can plan their own activities, or work with our team to incorporate some of the museum’s favourite kids programs into their celebration in a fun and safe environment.

Our venues

Knox Church

The Knox Church is a 1904 Victorian Gothic Revival and is a popular choice for wedding ceremonies, recitals, and gatherings for up to 100 people. The Church is no longer consecrated.

Bandstand, Picnic Shelter, and Marquee Tent

The picnic shelter and marquee tent are a popular choice for outdoor weddings, receptions, family picnics, and other events with a maximum capacity of up to 150 guests. The turn-of-the-century replica bandstand offers another choice for an outdoor ceremony. The bandstand, tent, and picnic shelter are rented as one unit.

Community Hall

The Community Hall provides a large open space that is ideal for use as a dressing room for brides, grooms, and special guests.  Heated and therefore available year-round, this quaint structure can accommodate a total of 59 guests (standing room).

Amenities for rentals include

  • Tables and chairs up to 150 guests
  • Access to the museum grounds
  • Free parking

You can book your outdoor special event up to 18 months in advance, and your indoor events can be booked up to 6 months in advance.

Accessibility

Work with us to shape your experience. Contact the museum before your visit to discuss your needs. Information about the accessibility of the facility, or our programs and services, is available upon request.

The accessibility features of this facility are detailed below. While the City of Ottawa is constantly working to improve access, please note that not all parts of every facility are necessarily 'accessible for all' as facilities were built to meet accessibility standards of their time.

Parking

  • 4 designated parking spaces
  • Accessible path of travel from the parking lot to entrance
  • 22 metres from parking space to the door

Entrance/Exit

  • Ramp
  • Direct access to the main floor and admissions.

Interior

  • Ramps in 16 of 20 buildings
  • Automatic door access to Train Station and Canteen
  • Wheelchair available to patrons

Reception desks

  • Accessible counters
  • Floor area for manoeuvring a wheelchair

Signage

  • Directional signs
  • High contrast signage
  • Large lettering

Floor Surfaces

  • Slip resistant surfaces
  • Low pile carpet, Wooden floor boards and G-floor covering

Washrooms

  • Accessible washroom (Canteen)
  • Automatic door opener
  • Lowered sink counters
  • Large stalls to allow transfers

Stairs

  • Good colour contrast (Train Station)
  • Continuous hand rails (Train Station & Duford House)

Museums/Galleries/Archives

  • 14 exhibitions spaces are accessible

Learn more about special needs and accessible services.