“Murder by the Book” A Victorian Who-Dunnit? at Upper Canada Village
My husband and I haven’t had a true date night in months. Busy work schedules, volunteer commitments, events, etc. have kept us from doing anything outside of the house together, let alone a date. Thankfully, Upper Canada Village invited us to come check out their new Murder Mystery dinner. As this summer is all about trying new things for us, I confirmed our attendance.
Neither of us had been to Upper Canada Village so we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. The drive from Ottawa was easy. Straight up the 416 then East on the 401. It went by quickly as we actually talked instead of texting or tweeting each other. I know, what a concept these days.
When we arrived we were both taken by the fact that the park is right on the St. Lawrence River. I’m not sure what we were expecting but I certainly did not have this beautiful backdrop in mind. Clearly we live a very sheltered life. Unfortunately we didn’t allow ourselves enough time to walk around the whole park that was still open to the public. Having a wee fascination with graveyards I did speed walk through Pioneer Memorial: a collection of tomb stones of well known residents from the area who were recognized for their contributions to community life. As we were about to take in a murder mystery dinner, a cemetery tour was the perfect kickoff to our evening.
While the show itself didn’t start until 7 we were encouraged to arrive at 6:30. All guests gather at the Discovery Centre. Here we were greeted with information on the show, directed to the bar and invited to tour the Centre. As it was our first time to Upper Canada Village we took advantage of all that we could. We got historied up on the importance of the War of 1812 to Canada. The small museum houses a number of artifacts from the 1800s. Each section of the museum has an interactive display that tells you about life during those times.
After the tour all the guests gathered back in the lobby. The beginning of the evening was very much like any other dinner party. People mingled enjoying cold beverages while chatting. Then a drunk guy in pajamas showed up. What, that doesn’t happen at your dinner parties? Sheesh. I thought I lived a sheltered life. Before we knew it we were witness to a lovers quarrel and celebrations of a novel being sold. That’s when we realized we were already playing detective. We quickly tried to take it all in by analyzing the characters.
After cocktail hour the cast led us to the church at Upper Canada Village where the plot thickened. Following church we headed over to the Harvest Barn where a killer meal was served. Just as you thought you had it figured out, Chick would drop a bomb that had you pointing at Dorothy until she revealed something about Cliff who was having a spat with the drama queen all before Cocoa had one of her visions. It takes a special person to do improv and the actors here did a dynamo job.
The evening had plenty of fun and was cleverly plotted. While you don’t have to, we really got into it. After every twist we analyzed the events and asked questions of the cast who interacted with guests. We took stock of the evidence and drew conclusions as to who-dunnit. As always, I was right. Hubs poked fun at my guess so I didn’t submit it. I did, however, keep my torn up case summary as a souvenir. Really it’s just written proof that I was right.
Getting to see bits of the park through the evening was enough of a teaser that has us planning our next visit. If you’re looking for a unique date night or activity for the family, definitely check out Upper Canada Village. What I love is that everything there is unique. Where else can you find a murder mystery set in a village from the 1800s? So take a step back in time without wasting too much time getting there. It’s a great little trip just over an hour from Ottawa, Kingston or Northern New York. We’ll definitely be headed back for the haunted walk and Pumpkinferno!
The last night for this performance is Saturday Evening August 9, 2014. Reservations required. Call 1-800-437-2233 to book your spot.
Many thanks to Upper Canada Village for inviting Life in Pleasantville to join them for their latest event. It was a killer evening.