Family Day tours, games, scavenger hunt at ANHS

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Annandale National Historic Site in Tillsonburg is worth a visit on Family Day.

"We have wonderful things happening on Family Day here at the museum," said Patricia Phelps, Culture and Heritage Manager/Curator at ANHS.

"We are doing guided tours on the hour," said Phelps, noting visitors usually take self-guided tours, but on Family Day they will have tour guides on site. Guided tours, which last about one hour, will be offered on the hour from 10-3.

"The tour guide will take you through each room of the house and talk to you - they will guide you through in little groups - and take you through all three floors of the house."

It's an opportunity to learn something new at Annandale House, she said, and ask questions.

Regular admission rates will not be charged on Family Day - admission is by donation.

"Celebrate Family Day in a family home... Tillsonburg's family, the Tillsons," Phelps smiled.

You can also join the annual Family Day Scavenger Hunt, or try one of three classic Canadian games - Crokinole, Rummoli or Yahtzee, which will be set in the Program Room in honour of Canada's 150th anniversary this year.

"Crokinole, Rummoli and Yahtzee are all Canadian-invented games. So we're encouraging families to come and play a game that is wholly Canadian on this Canadian Family Day in Canada's 150th. If you've never played before and you don't know how, there will be someone in the room to help you out... to tell you how to play those games. And tell you the history of them because it's really kind of neat that they are Canadian. And they're all a lot of fun."

Crokinole's board game roots go back to the 1870s in Ontario, and it shares themes common to curling (except that it's played on a round wooden board with wooden discs). The Rummoli card game, first marketed in 1940 by Copp Clark Publishing (Toronto), uses an octagonal game board. Yahtzee, a dice game patented in 1956, was acquired from a Canadian couple who had played it on their 'yacht.'

"My family grew up playing Rummoli," said Phelps, who owns one of the original Copp Clark versions from her grandmother.

"It's a very simple game. The neat thing about Rummoli is that almost any child can play. You just need to know red, black, and your numbers. I think that's why it was a very popular game with families with young kids."

Phelps remembers playing Yahtzee in their camper trailer - it was a perfect game for days when it was raining.

"I think a lot of people don't realize those games are Canadian inventions. The couple who invented Yahtzee, they were Canadian. They wanted something to play on their boat. Something they could easily pack, something they could do that didn't need a lot of space."

Eventually they sold the rights and the rest is Yahtzee history.

Scavenger Hunt

The always-popular ANHS Scavenger Hunt goes back to the first Family Day in 2008.

"It's something we've been doing since Family Day started," said Phelps, "and everybody has said to us, 'please keep that up, we had so much fun.' Families can sign up and we have prizes. You can do it any point in the day, but you have to have it finished by 3 o'clock because we like to check it all, and award the prize that day (before 4 p.m.).

"It's popular because people can fit it in on Family Day. It's a come-and-go kind of thing. You can show up right at 10 and get the clue sheet and questions and head out if you want... maybe go over to the Complex. Whatever works for your day." 


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