Upper Canada Village opening set for May 6

Tour guide Lauren Casselman leads a group past Mr. Robertson’s garden in 2021.
Upper Canada Village Miniature train circa 2015. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

MORRISBURG – The area’s largest tourist attraction will open in early May. Upper Canada Village will open for its 61st season on May 6 but it will do so while short and long term repairs are made.

In early February 2022, an electrical issue saw the failure of the 74-acre historic village’s electrical grid. Since then, the village has used a series of diesel generators around the village to power lights, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems for the historic buildings. The electrical system failure affected the main administration building for UCV operator, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, and the Battle of Crysler Farm memorial site. Much of the electrical infrastructure was installed between 1959 and the 1980s.

“SLPC is committed to updating this infrastructure to offer quality and longevity for many years,” said Katie Forrester, communications and media relations officer for the SLPC. “Currently, this project is in the Design and Engineering Phase.”

The government agency is working with Infrastructure Ontario, a crown-agency that handles major government procurement contracts for the province. Forrester told The Leader that Colliers Project Leaders, an international project management company based in Canada, will manage the replacement project.

Design and engineering for the electrical replacement project is in the design and engineering phase. The SLPC expects that phase to wrap up this summer, with the project going to tender after.

“Further time-lines will be determined at that time,” Forrester said.

Diesel generator sets are, for the most part, placed in unobtrusive areas around Upper Canada Village to power the attraction after an extensive electrical failure February 2. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

The electrical failure at UCV was not the only major issue to face the SLPC last year. It is not clear when the miniature railroad at the village will reopen, but there are plans are to get the railroad back on track this year.

On July 22, 2022, a derailment of the village’s miniature railroad ride prompted the closure of the popular attraction for the rest of the 2022 season.

No injuries were reported from the derailment, which was reported to the Technical Safety Standards Association.

The derailment was caused by what is known as a “sun kink” where hot weather expands the steel rails beyond tolerance, leading to a mis-alignment or breakage in the track.

The derailment took place on the original loop line of the rail line. Further investigation last year by The Leader showed significant heaving and damage to the 2008-09 line extension to Crysler Park Marina. That portion of the park’s railroad had not been operated since 2019. Operation of the train ride was suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forrester confirmed repairs to the rail line are underway and the line will operate on its original loop line this year.

“The SLPC is happy to share that the miniature train will run this year,” she said. “Repairs are still ongoing and are expected to be completed following the Village’s May 6 opening date.”

Repairs to the longer loop to Crysler Park marina are more extensive. The SLPC confirmed that line will remain closed “for now.”

Tickets for the village went on sale online earlier in April on the SLPC’s website (uppercanadavillage.com). Adult tickets are $25/each, Students (13-18 years old) are $19, Youth (5-12) $16, and Children four and under are free. Military discounts are available.

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