THIS MONTH (January 2020)
- Friday & Saturday, January 17 & 18: Frost Fair, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Fri.) & 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sat.). Fort York National Historic Site and The Bentway invite visitors to discover the winter beauty of Fort York’s 1812-era buildings blanketed in snow, with an evening lantern tour and samples of historic treats and drinks from the 1826 kitchen hearth. Admission: Free.
- Friday, January 31: David Gibson’s Favourites: A Farmhouse Supper, 4 to 7 p.m. Gibson House welcomes historic cook and interpreter Sheena Westcott Sykes to cook hearty recipes inspired by the favourite foods of David Gibson, the original owner of Gibson House. Visitors will work around the open hearth fire with Sheena, learning about life on the Gibson farm and early Victorian cooking techniques, and then share the meal in the historic dining room by candlelight. Guests should wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Admission: $50. Pre-registration is required.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)
- Saturday, January 4: Twelfth Night Party, 1 to 9 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn hosts a day devoted to a lively exploration of an old Christmas tradition, dating back to Scrooge’s time and even further: wassail. Led by dance teacher and historian Karen Millyard, this celebration features Twelfth Cake, roasted chestnuts, carolling, seasonal games, fiddle music and dancing. Guests will enjoy a festive meal and a lamplit tour of the inn, learn dances and play games of Dickens’ time! Admission: $50 to $70 + HST. Pre-registration is required at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-578-1031.
- Saturday, January 18: Queen Charlotte’s Birthday Ball, 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn hosts this annual recreation of a ball that was organized by the officers of the Garrison at York (Fort York) in January 1817, including a Georgian dinner served by liveried servants. Admission: $85. 519-939-8116.
- Thursday, January 23: Community Oven Nights, 3 to 7 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn opens its doors to community groups for a night of shared cooking and eating, using its kitchen, tea room and outdoor wood-burning oven. Admission: Free. Pre-registration is required at 416-394-8113.
- Thursday, January 30: Thirsty Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn presents Thirsty Thursday tavern night with beer, wine or a Thomas Montgomery specialty in the restored 1847 barroom, along with Irish stew, fresh-baked bread and live traditional music. Admission: Free. Cash bar; $5 for a bowl of stew while supplies last. 416-394-8113.
- Wednesday, January 1: Hogmanay, 1 to 3:30 p.m. (Peterborough, Ontario). Hutchison House celebrates Scottish traditions with a first-footer to be “piped in” at 1 p.m., followed by “Burns’ Address to a Haggis.” Visitors will be treated to the music of fiddle, bagpipe and drum, Highland dancing and tastings of Scotch black bun, clooty dumpling, Scotch eggs, potted salmon, cheeses, oatcakes, shortbread and haggis. Admission: $10 (adults), $5 (children), $20 (2 adults with 2+ children). 705-743-9710.
- Tuesday, January 28: Culinary Curiosities – Fermentation, 7 to 8:30 p.m. (Ottawa). Canada Agriculture and Food Museum presents Chef Daniel Halden leading an exploration of fermented foods and beverages. Participants will learn how to make kimchi, sourdough starter and kombucha scoby. Admission: TBD, including samples and recipes to take home. Participants must be 15+.
- Sunday, February 2: Wartime Food: Expect the Unexpected, noon to 2 p.m. Todmorden Mills opens its 1940s cottage for a demo and sampling of wartime recipes. Guests will learn how rationing affected menus and experience the unexpected flavours and food combinations of Cheese Cube Relish, Canada War Cake and Tomato Soup Cake. A recipe booklet of the offbeat dishes from the workshop, and a few bonus ones, is included. Admission: $20. Pre-registration is required.
- Wednesday, February 5, 12, & 13: Dinner with the Mackenzies, 6 to 9 p.m. Mackenzie House invites the public to join William Lyon Mackenzie and his wife, Isabel, for a Victorian-inspired four-course meal prepared by Daniel et Daniel’s awarding-winning chef Karen O’Connor and served by candle and gaslight in the restored 1858 dining room. Guests will hear the state of Toronto affairs in 1861 from the city’s first mayor and learn about Mackenzie’s long and colourful career. A souvenir menu printed on the 1845 Washington Press in the restored print shop is included. Admission: $125. Pre-registration is required.
- Thursday, February 6: The Austins Entertain, 6 to 10 p.m. Spadina Museum presents an exclusive party inspired by the Jazz Age. Guests will get an inside look at the life of the Austins and step back in time to enjoy live music, food and drink demonstrations, games, and a specially curated tasting menu of small plates and historic cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) based on period cookbooks and the museum’s historic collection. Period attire encouraged. Admission: $95. Pre-registration is required.
- Thursday, February 6: Community Oven Nights, 3 to 7 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn opens its doors to community groups for a night of shared cooking and eating, using its kitchen, tea room and outdoor wood-burning oven. Admission: Free. Pre-registration is required at 416-394-8113.
- Friday, February 7: David Gibson’s Favourites: A Farmhouse Supper, 4 to 7 p.m. Gibson House welcomes historic cook and interpreter Sheena Westcott Sykes to cook hearty recipes inspired by the favourite foods of David Gibson, original owner of Gibson House. Visitors will work around the open hearth fire with Sheena, learning about life on the Gibson farm and early Victorian cooking techniques, and then share the meal in the historic dining room by candlelight. Guests should wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Admission: $50. Pre-registration is required.
- Saturday, February 8: Historic Tavern Meal, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Montgomery’s Inn presents the fascinating history of an 1840s Toronto tavern and a typical 19th-century tavern meal in a unique historic setting. The meal includes peppermint shrub cocktail, artisan cheese, freshly baked bread, pickled and preserved vegetables, hearty meat and potatoes and a selection of historic desserts, all prepared according to authentic early Victorian recipes. Beer and wine will be available at the cash bar. Also, Richard Fiennes-Clinton, author of Muddy York, will speak about the history of inns in early Toronto. Admission $35. Pre-registration is required.
- Sunday, February 9: Hungry for Comfort: Celebrating our Food History, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Fort York National Historic Site welcomes guests to explore how different peoples survived and thrived in Canada’s bitter winter. This year, the spotlight is on the Jewish community across Canada, with speakers, demonstrations and workshops. Participants will enjoy tastings and a catered lunch of Jewish recipes. A special feature that coincides with this event is the Baking & Preserving Competition; anyone can enter a favourite recipe in any of four categories. The winners will be announced during the event. Admission: $75. Pre-registration is required.
- Wednesday & Thursday, February 12 & 13: Dinner with the Mackenzies, 6 to 9 p.m. See Wednesday, February 5.
- Saturday, February 29: Exploring our Culinary Roots: African-Canadian Cuisine Then and Now, 2 to 5 p.m. Fort York National Historic Site invites the public to explore African-Canadian cooking then and now, with a lantern tour of the Officers’ Mess, where soldiers once dined and relaxed, a tasting of a historic punch from Robert Roberts’ 1827 cookbook, A House Servant’s Directory, and visits to the 19th-century kitchen and the Blue Barracks for historic cooking demonstrations and samples. Admission: $25. Pre-registration is required.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)
- Thursday, February 27: Thirsty Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn presents Thirsty Thursday tavern night with beer, wine or a Thomas Montgomery specialty in the restored 1847 barroom, along with Irish stew, fresh-baked bread and live traditional music. Admission: Free. Cash bar; $5 for a bowl of stew while supplies last. 416-394-8113.
- Saturday, February 14 to Sunday, February 23: Fort Gibraltar at Festival du Voyageur (Winnipeg). He! Ho! Watch interpreters recreate life at Fort Gibraltar at the height of the fur trade, including demonstrations of pounding pemmican and outdoor cooking. Admission: $10 to $75
- Monday, February 17: Family Day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Galt, Ontario). McDougall’s Cottage drop-in program for Family Day will have classic family-friendly games, fun crafts and tours of the Cottage. McDougall’s popular Family Day Café will be open from 1 to 4 p.m., offering samples of tasty and traditional Scottish treats like shortbread, Scottish toffee and more. Free recipes will be available. Admission: By donation.
- To January 5, 2020: Auld Lang Syne: 19th-Century New Year’s Celebration (Toronto). Mackenzie House presents an exploration of the Hogmanay rituals of 19th-century Scottish Canadians and how they parallel New Year’s celebrations in other countries and cultures. Visitors can tour the restored house, learn about the Mackenzie family and New Year’s traditions, and taste cider and cookies, among other activities. Admission: $5 to $8.
- To January 19, 2020: Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment (Toronto). The Gardiner Museum presents a multifaceted exhibit that explores the ways food and dining were transformed in Europe during the Age of Enlightenment, and how these profound changes still resonate today.
- Daily: Historic Afternoon Tea & Tour at Fort Langley National Historic Site, tea 1 to 2:45 p.m.; tour 3 to 4:30 p.m. (Fort Langley, British Columbia). An elegant afternoon tea at the Little White House Salon Café in the coach house of the historic Marr House. Fort Langley, a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, was first established in 1827. On the tour, visitors will hear about local historical characters and explore the homes and workshops of the people of the trade. Admission: $15.68 per person (plus admission fee for groups of 15–30), including tea and tour. 604-513-4799 or email@example.com.
- Daily: Fishing the West Coast and the Canning Line, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Steveston, British Columbia). The Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site offers exhibits on the development of fishing on Canada’s West Coast and modern fishing practices, too. Admission: Free.
- Sundays, Tea and Tour of Roedde House, 1 to 3:15 p.m. (Vancouver). A tea tasting of Roedde House blend by Metropolitan Tea Co., along with a tour of the museum. Admission: $8. No reservations required.
- Saturdays & Sundays: Tour & Taste Weekends, 1 to 4:30 p.m. (Toronto). Gibson House offers tea, cookies and a seat at the harvest table in the 1850s historic kitchen. Admission: Free with regular admission.
- Daily: Demonstrations at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Ottawa, Ontario). Participate in a full day’s schedule of activities, including cooking with oats, butter making, milking and grinding grain. Admission to museum: $8 to $10, free from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Indefinite run: Beggar’s Banquet (Louisbourg, Nova Scotia). Participants enjoy an 18th-century maritime meal while dressed in period clothing.
- Sundays, Tea Time at the Inn, 1 to 4 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn offers a spot of tea and a taste of history in the Tea Room, including in-house baking and unlimited tea service. Tea served and goods baked by the dedicated Montgomery’s Inn volunteers. Admission: $8.
Compiled by Julia M. Armstrong
April 18 (Leeds, UK)
35th LEEDS SYMPOSIUM ON FOOD HISTORY & TRADITIONS
March 26 to 28 (Greensboro, North Carolina)
THE MEANING OF FOOD: INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE ON REPRESENTATIONS OF FOOD IN THE ARTS & HUMANITIES
Program: Building on a 16-year tradition, the schedule includes mix of short presentations and interactive pedagogy-focused workshops. Read more about the conference ethos.
Of note: See the conference site for resource lists on food in film and literature, and more.
May 26 to 27 (Dublin, Ireland)
DUBLIN GASTRONOMY SYMPOSIUM
Theme: Food and Disruption: What Shall We Eat Tomorrow? Disruptors in food history can include people, movements, technological advancements and disasters.
Of note: Browse the contents of past symposiums.
May 27 to 30 (Athens, Georgia)
JOINT ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AGRICULTURE, FOOD, AND HUMAN VALUES SOCIETY (AFHVS) AND THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF FOOD AND SOCIETY (ASFS)
Theme: Cultivating Connections: Exploring Entry Points Into Sustainable Food Systems.
Host: The University of Georgia’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative.
Call for proposals (deadline 31 January): An invitation to envision a more sustainable and equitable future by critically engaging with the histories and legacies that have framed agricultural food landscapes over time.
June 21 to 25 (Sturbridge, Massachusetts)
ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR LIVING HISTORY, FARM AND AGRICULTURAL MUSEUMS
Theme: 50 Years of Living History.
Venue: Old Sturbridge Village, New England’s largest outdoor living history museum.
September 23 to 25 (Antwerp, Belgium)
SIEF 23RD INTERNATIONAL ETHNOLOGICAL FOOD RESEARCH CONFERENCE
Organizers: International Society for Ethnology and Folklore.
Theme: Food, People and the City: Comparative Perspectives. A look at food production, distribution and consumption as cultural practices, in different periods and societies.
Deadline for proposals: January 31; see information here.
May 13 to 15 (Guelph, Ontario)
14TH TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE OF THE RURAL WOMEN’S STUDIES ASSOCIATION
Theme: Kitchen Table Talk to Global Forum.
Venue: University of Guelph.
Of note: The RWSA is an international association that promotes and advances farm and rural women’s/gender studies in a historical perspective.
Deadline for proposals: May 31, 2020; see conference website.