Monday, December 10, 2018

First Night: Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons

This past weekend, we took a day trip to Midland, Ontario to experience "First Light" at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons.  Sainte-Marie is a reconstruction of the first (17 century) French Jesuit Settlement on the Huron / Wendat territory and a historical landmark (more on the area's history can be found  here).

For nearly 20 years, the park has been open for three weekends in November - December for a festival called "First Light."  Visitors can explore the site at night by candles and lanterns (approximately 5000) candles are lit.

We opted for the full experience and had a traditional French tortiere supper at the Restaurant Sainte-Marie.

Below are a few photos (grainy due to the low light) of the our experience.  It was about -2 degree C.    If you plan to attend it is important to dress warmly and wear winter boots.  There are a variety of activities in the buildings (musical entertainment, crafts, nature demonstrations) and there were many young families. This past weekend was the last weekend so there was a special fireworks display.

Musical entertainment in many of the buildings (lit snowshoes)

Settlement - 5000 lanterns and candles light the settlement

Duck Quill Pen and Ink

corn husk doll making
duck quill greetings

learning about tawny owls
Fire works to end the night
Visitors can follow the underpass and walk from the settlement under the road and up the hill to Martyr's Shrine. This church is closed during the winter months, but during First Light we were able to take a peek inside.  The interior roof is wooden, I read that it is meant to imitate a canoe.   The church honours eight Jesuit Saints who worked and died in the area 350 years ago.  Each season, over 100,000 visitors make the pilgrimage to the visit the Church and the grounds. 

The Martyrs' Srhrine

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