Un interprète historique en costume de marin à parler à un groupe d'étudiants sur le HMS Bee - un des navire à le Havre de la découverte

School Programs

Truly Interactive Learning

Take your students back to the 19th century, on the actual site where British warships docked, sailors and soldiers toiled, and settlers carved an existence out of the wilderness. Students of all ages love spending the day reliving history, and learning was never easier.

Education programs at Discovery Harbour meet the requirements of the 2023 Ontario Curriculum for History and Geography (Grades 7 & 8), by using the inquiry process to explore life in Canada in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Please contact us for more information or to book a visit, please send an email to:

Educational Programs

A NAVAL AND MILITARY OUTPOST

Discovery Harbour traces its roots back to the original British naval and military base in Penetanguishene, built to safeguard access to Upper Canada after the War of 1812.

Education programs at Discovery Harbour meet the requirements of the 2018 Ontario Curriculum for History and Geography (Grades 7 & 8). The inquiry process is used to explore life in Canada in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Through tours and activities, students at all grade levels will gather information, ask questions, evaluate the information, and communicate their findings as they explore early settlement in Upper Canada and the significance of the War of 1812.

Engage your students with this immersive staff-led tour of a recreated 19th century British Naval and Military establishment and its significant connections to the Indigenous and Métis peoples of Upper Canada. Hands-on opportunities abound in this exploration of the lifestyles and work of British sailors, soldiers, officers and ladies of the outpost, and of the Indigenous and Métis who interacted with them.

  • Interactive tour of the historic site
  • Availability: May 23 to June
  • Tour length: 2.5 hours
  • Capacity: 15 to 75 students
  • Grades: 7-8 (adaptable to grades 3-6)
  • Cost: Contact us for our 2024 rates
  • Teachers/Chaperones: Free admission for 1 accompanying adult per 10 students

This program looks at the core elements of the British military in Upper Canada; skills, technologies, lifestyles – and their relationship with Indigenous peoples.

Across the British Empire, the life of a British redcoat was a highly regimented mix of hard work and technical skill. A posting to Upper Canada saw soldiers face unique challenges in remote areas and harsh climates, and an ever-evolving relationship with Great Britain’s Indigenous allies.

In this highly interactive program, students will:

  • Set-up camp, learn basics of musket and cannon drill, and explore the key belongings of the common soldier.
  • Tour Discovery Harbour’s original stone Officers’ Quarters and see the striking contrast of their upper-class lifestyle.
  • Explore aspects of Indigenous and Métis culture and their complex relationship to the British Empire.
  • Take in a concluding black powder demonstration (weather permitting) highlighting 19th century British weapons technology – and its use as an oppressive tool of colonial expansion.

NOTE:  This program does not visit the replica vessels HMS Tecumseth and HMS Bee – if you wish to include this experience for your students, please consider pairing with the “Outpost Explorers Tour” or the “Sailor in Upper Canada” program. 

  • Availability: May 23 to June
  • Program length: 2.5 hours
  • Capacity: 15 to 75 students
  • Grades: 7-8
  • Cost: Contact us for our 2024 rates
  • Teachers/Chaperones: Free admission for 1 accompanying adult per 10 students
  • Don’t have time for the full day?  Add a ships-only visit (up to 1 hour) for $4 to your “Soldier in Upper Canada” program.

This program looks at the core elements of the British Navy in Upper Canada; skills; technologies, lifestyles – and their connections with Métis and Indigenous peoples.

The lives of sailors in the Royal Navy comprised of very particular skills, mixed with ongoing manual labour and a highly developed social order.  These men, and the officers who commanded them, also relied on the knowledge and expertise of Métis and Indigenous peoples in continuing to expand colonial boundaries on the waters of British North America.

In this highly interactive program, students will:

  • Board the replica transport vessels HMS Tecumseth and HMS Bee and try their hand at various sailors’ tasks.
  • Experience the trades-related skills required to keep a fleet of vessels afloat and in sound condition.
  • Explore the important relationship between Métis and Indigenous peoples and the British Royal Navy in the exploration and charting of remote areas.
  • Learn about the social aspects of sailors’ lives and explore the basics of signal-flag communication.
  • Availability: May 23 to June
  • Program length: 2.5 hours
  • Capacity: 15 to 75 students
  • Grades: 7-8
  • Cost: Contact us for our 2024 rates
  • Teachers/Chaperones: Free admission for 1 accompanying adult per 10 students

Expand your dynamic half-day experience into a full day and ensure you get the complete Establishments story. Each of these extended hands-on sessions focuses on the European and Indigenous aspects of the subject at hand, based on the lives of the people at this remote 19th century base.

  • Pick 2 half-day programs from these 3 options: Outpost Explorers Tour, A Soldier in Upper Canada, A Sailor in Upper Canada
  • OR Pair 1 half-day program with 1 activity block (choose 3 activities)

Activity Block Menu (pick 3 activities to be combined with 1 half-day program):  

  • TO PLAY’S THE THING: Historic Games:
    • Explore the uses and importance of games from both the European and Indigenous perspectives by learning about and playing examples of each.
  • MEANINGS IN INK: Quill Pens / Doodems
    • Compare European writing skills with Indigenous use of doodems and pictographs and discover how two different worldviews approached politics, nationhood and treaties.
  • KNOWING THE ROPES: Ropework Skills
    • Discover the similarities and differences between European and Indigenous development and uses of rope.  Students will try their hand at basic processes and knots.
  • A SPARK OF KNOWLEDGE: Fire Starting
    • Whether European or Indigenous, the ability to start a fire was a crucial skill to have in the 19th century.  Students learn about and try the various methods utilized.
  • FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Historic Cooking
    • Europeans and Indigenous each brought core recipes and techniques to the table when it came to 19th century foodways.  A taste of history indeed!
  • CLOSING THE DEAL: Treaty Negotiation
    • Treaties and agreements underpin all European/Indigenous relations in the 19th century.  In this immersive activity, students take sides to negotiate an historical land purchase – the territory encompassing Penetanguishene harbour.

  • Availability: May 23 to June
  • Program length: 5 hours
  • Capacity: 15 to 75 students
  • Grades: 7-8
  • Cost: Contact us for our 2024 rates
  • Teachers/Chaperones: Free admission for 1 accompanying adult per 10 students
Rope on the deck of a ship

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