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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.

Hours and admission

Please note that the museum is now open for the Vintage Village of Lights: Drive-through edition.

Wednesday – Sunday between 5 pm and 9 pm
November 25 to December 23
Cost: $25 per vehicle. Registration is required. 

Programs and special events may be offered during the off season. See “Programs and special events” below, follow Cumberland Heritage Village Museum on Facebook and Instagram, or subscribe to the “At your museum” eNewsletter for updates.

Planning a COVID-wise visit

Help reduce the risk of transmission by being COVID-wise! More information can be found on the Ottawa Public Health website.

  • Only visit the museum with members of your household.
  • Masks are required inside museum buildings including the Train Station and washrooms, as well as outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Maintain two meters of distance from others outside your household.
  • If you or a member of your group is not feeling well, cancel your visit by calling 613-580-2988 or emailing museecumberlandmuseum@ottawa.ca.
  • Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is available in the Vars Train Station but bringing your own is recommended.

Programs and special events

Vintage Village of Lights: Drive-through edition

Wednesday – Sunday between 5 pm and 9 pm
November 25 to December 23
Cost: $25 per vehicle. Registration is required.

Share in the holiday cheer with your household at Cumberland Heritage Village Museum. This season, we’ve adapted our Vintage Village of Lights as a drive-through experience. Relax and enjoy the festive scenery from your vehicle as you pass through a 1920s and 30s village illuminated by over 30,000 lights. Colourful vignettes will highlight Christmas traditions from the interwar years while an old-fashioned radio program will bring the sounds of the season to you. You may even spot Santa hard at work preparing for the big night along the way! As an added festive treat, each household will receive a goody bag to continue the celebration at home.

Radio Show

Complement your tour through the Vintage Village of Lights by listening to our special radio program in the style of 1920s and 30s productions. 

Audio mixed and engineered by: Arturo Portocarrero
Audio mastered by: Phillip Shaw Bova at Bova Labs Studio
Voice work by: John Doucet
Produced by: Cumberland Heritage Village Museum / City of Ottawa

How to register

Advance, pre-paid, time-ticketed registration is required for this program. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the entrance. Registration is completed using Service Ottawa’s online system.

  1. If you do not already have an account, create one before registering.
  2. To find the event, from the welcome page, click Activity Search from the menu at the top of the page.
  3. Under Advanced Search in the left-hand menu type “Cumberland” into the Containing Keyword field.
  4. Click Show Courses to browse the scheduled time slots. View Details and then click Add to proceed to registration for your desired start time.
  5. Register only once ($25) per vehicle.
  6. After registration, print a copy of your receipt. Your receipt is your ticket for the event.
  7. If you require assistance with registration, please contact the museum at 613-580-2988.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Admission:

  • The cost of admission is $25 per vehicle and is paid at the time of registration.
  • The number of visitors per vehicle must not exceed the number of seatbelts.
  • Annual memberships and/or library passes are not accepted for admission to this special program.
  • Arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled start time (please avoid arriving earlier than this to prevent crowding at the entrance). The number of visitors on site at one time is limited according to public health guidelines and late arrivals cannot be accommodated.
  • Registration is nontransferable. Please present a printed copy of your registration receipt for admission. Printed receipts will allow us to maintain a contactless check-in process. If you can no longer attend this program, please contact museecumberlandmuseum@ottawa.ca for assistance.

Allergies/Food:

  • A gingerbread cookie decorating kit will be distributed. While the cookies, icing and decorations provided are nut free, we cannot guarantee a 100% nut free environment. If you have any food allergy concerns, please inform museum staff.
  • All items distributed to visitors, including the cookie decorating kit, will be prepackaged and quarantined. Distribution will be contact free.

Be Covid-Wise:

  • Participate in this program with members of your household only.
  • Bring a mask for use indoors (i.e. public toilets) or any other time when physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Practice hand hygiene (we recommend bringing hand sanitizer for personal use).
  • If you or a member of your household are not feeling well, please cancel your visit and contact museecumberlandmuseum@ottawa.ca for assistance with managing your registration.

Photos:

  • Leaving your vehicle to take photos is not permitted for the safety of visitors and to maintain the flow of traffic.

Route:

  • Vehicles will follow a preplanned, unidirectional route through the site. Please follow directional signage and maintain a respectful distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you.
  • The route will take an estimated 15 minutes to complete. Timing may vary depending on the pace of vehicles, etc.
  • As the number of visitors permitted on site at one time is limited, repeat loops through the displays are not possible.
  • In the event of a vehicle breakdown, designated layby areas are indicated on the provided route map.

Santa:

  • For the health and safety of our visitors, staff, and Santa too, visits with Santa will not be possible. Each vehicle will receive a telegram from the North Pole.

Washrooms:

  • A portable toilet will be available for public use at the entrance to the site. Masks are required. Prior to accessing the washrooms, a selfassessment must be completed and information will be collected for contact tracing.
  • Practice hand hygiene (we recommend bringing hand sanitizer for personal use).

Weather:

  • In the event of extreme weather conditions that might impact operations, updates will be shared to the museum Facebook page. Registered participants will also be notified by email in the event of cancellations.

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

*Please note that due to public health guidelines, interior exhibition spaces are not accessible at this time.

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 

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.

Rentals

A vintage rural setting with dozens of historic and true-to-era buildings, acres of greenspace, and gardens provide a nostalgic and picturesque backdrop for your special events.

Please note:

  • The marquee tent is not available for use at this time.
  • Rentals must comply with all conditions of use in place for managing risks associated with COVID-19.

We are regularly updating our rental program according to public health guidelines. For more information, please contact our Customer Service Booking Clerk. Call 613-580-2988 or email museecumberlandmuseum@ottawa.ca.

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.