This February my Guide unit returned to Fort York for our second sleepover. They run a great program and I can not recommend it enough.
Where: Fort York, Toronto
What: Sleepover Program
When: Winter 2019
What was Included: A full Saturday of program (starting at 10 am) and use of a two story barrack building for our sleepover. They included a period appropriate dinner, before bed hot chocolate and breakfast. We brought our own lunches and snacks.
Booking: The booking process is very easy but this is a popular program that fills up quickly. If you want to book this sleep over it is not a bad idea to be contacting them now for 2020. They can only accommodate one group per weekend.
After the initial booking I contacted them a month before hand with the exact number of girls, dietary restrictions and our workshop selections. We paid at the fort when we arrived.
Program: The workshops they offer fit in well with Canadian Connections. They have a wide selection of workshops you can take. Some might be more relevant to a school group but there were lots that were relevant to our program. We learned about the history of the fort, baked in a historic kitchen, played instruments and learned how they were used at the fort, learned about the different approaches to war of the British soldiers and their First Nations allies, handled some archaeological finds, learned a period dance, learned period songs and played some period games. I was even more impressed with the facilitators this time around. They really engaged the girls and were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and patient.
There is an hour of free time for the girls before dinner. We bought a casual craft for them to do and the girls enjoyed that. The fort program ended at 8pm so we had an hour long campfire program before the girls settled into bed for the night. Breakfast isn’t served until 8:30 so the girls all had a decent time to sleep.
Food: The food the fort provided was really good. The dinner consisted of a beef (or vegetarian) stew, bread, rice and carrots. The cookies the girls baked in the Officers Kitchen were provided for dessert. There was plenty of everything no one left hungry. For breakfast the girls had a choose between cold cereal or oatmeal.
Accommodations: There were bunks on both floors of the barrack building. (18 upstairs, 16 downstairs) There are also three large tables with benches on the main floor. The bunks were sturdy and included a thin matrices. The lighting cupboard was unlocked this time so we had more control over our own lights. Around 8:30pm, the overnight guard came by and went over fire alarm practicals with the girls. There are lanterns on a dimmer switch throughout the building but it gets quite dark upstairs. I brought some glow sticks to scatter around and that was well received by the girls.
The bathrooms are in a different building then the sleeping quarters, maybe 50 m from one door to another. This is a tad inconvenient but understandable in a 200 year old building.
The main floor was quite chilly. We ended up moving a few matrices upstairs so all the girls could sleep on one floor. Some of the Guiders downstairs were quite cold. It is worth adding and extra blanket to your kit list.
Coffee and Tea are available for purchase in the fort store but only during the hours the fort is open. We brought a kettle with us this time and were happy we did so.
Crests: We were able to buy the girls a lovely crest at the fort store. We had a choice of two designs.
For more information: email the fort at firstname.lastname@example.org