Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Colborne)

 During the past 14 years Judi and I have visited almost 200 Ontario community festivals and events. The majority have been planned and managed by dedicated community volunteers. As a salute to these wonderful communities and their hard-working residents, I will be writing a series of blogs entitled “Great Ontario Communities”. These blogs describe the communities we have visited and will tell you about some of the interesting things we have experienced and the people we have met. The seventh article is about Colborne, also located on the north shores of Lake Ontario.

COLBORNE – Just east of Cobourg lies the Village of Colborne. Since 1850 the population has grown to approximately 2,210.  It’s in the Cramahe Township part of Northumberland County. This is the home of The Big Apple Restaurant and Hoselton Aluminum Sculptures.  It is also the home of the Colborne Apple Blossom Tyme Festival held each spring.  Colborne is located on County Road #2 (formerly known as Highway #2).  It is also part of the well traveled “Apple Route”.  If you are looking for an alternative eastward route to Highway 401, this is the way to go!  However, if you do decide to go this way, make sure you leave enough time to visit both the Big Apple and Hoseltons!  The Big Apple is a wonderful attraction that offers visitors lots to do.  There’s fun for the whole family.  Here are some of the things to do … Visit the life animal zoo including a walk around the pond,  mini golf, climb the Big Apple and see for miles, enjoy home cooked meals, especially the “Pies”, large interesting fun gift shop, watch the pies and treats being made right in the factory.  Just south of the Big Apple is the Hoselton Studio.  It’s open most days to the public.  Here you will discover some amazing aluminum sculptures.  These sculptures are collected around the world.  In the village itself, Colborne offers several quaint shops to visit.  There is also the Colborne Art Gallery that showcases local arts and artisans.  Finally, if you are looking for something fun and interesting to do, make sure you visit Colborne during their APPLE BLOSSOM TYME FESTIVAL.

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Cobourg)

During the past 14+ years Judi and I have visited over 200 Ontario community festivals and events. The majority have been planned and managed by dedicated community volunteers. As a salute to these wonderful communities and their hard-working residents, I will be writing a series of blogs entitled “Great Ontario Communities”. These blogs describe the communities we have visited and will tell you about some of the interesting things we have experienced and the people we have met. The sixth article is about Cobourg, located on the north shores of Lake Ontario.

COBOURG – Fortunately Cobourg was Judi’s and my hometown for many years. It is located on Lake Ontario between Toronto and Kingston. We have lived worked here for 20 years and love the area. Cobourg’s closest neighbour is Port Hope. While there is much rivalry between the two towns, they really compliment one another. Both are tourist oriented, but in different ways. Port Hope is a town of antique shops, historic buildings and Bed and Breakfasts. They cater to an “older crowd”. Cobourg on the other hand seems to be more upbeat and caters to a “younger crowd”. Its beautiful sandy beach is one of the best on Lake Ontario. Its harbour attracts boaters from both Canada and the USA and its unique downtown waterfront RV Park offers both long term and short-term campers first class camping facilities! Cobourg attracts all those who love the water and want to enjoy its many pleasures! Judi and I enjoy walking along Cobourg’s waterfront trail most mornings. There is always something different to see and hear! At one time Cobourg hoped to become the capital of Canada. They even built a magnificent edifice, Victoria Hall, for that purpose, but it was not to be. Cobourg prospered, however and today it is the hub of Northumberland County. The county has its newly built offices here. There is a new first class regional hospital close by. A regional shopping mall just celebrated its 20th anniversary and the local Wal-Mart just expanded. Cobourg also offers its residents and visitors plenty of activities. It is the home of several well attended festivals, such as the Cobourg Waterfront Festival (ten’s of thousands visit this event each year), the Cobourg Highland Games, the Cobourg Winter Festival, the Northumberland Ribfest and the fun and sun filled Cobourg Sandcastle Festival. It is also the home of many sporting events. On most summer weekends you will find some sort of tournament, softball, soccer and beach volleyball to name a few! There is even a new community centre planned for completion in 2011. Cobourg is an exciting place to live and to visit!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Nomad’s Top Ten Festival Tips (Part 2)

  1. WATER – It is very important to bring water with you. Not all events have water available. This is particularly important in the hot summer months! Without enough water in your system, you can easily become dehydrated quickly! Using a refillable water bottle is best, especially for the environment!
  2. TAKE A PICTURE OR FIVE – Capturing the memories of a great event is so easy and inexpensive these days because of digital cameras! You no longer have to worry about wasting “film”! A word of caution, though, make sure you have enough memory space on your “Memory Card” and that you have an extra set of batteries.
  3. CLOTHING – Always plan your clothing for the event you are visiting! This goes for both clothing and footwear. If it’s a summer event, remember to bring a hat and sun block. If it’s the winter, “layer” your clothing so that you can “strip” down or up depending on how hot or cold you feel! As for footwear, make sure you wear your most comfortable walking shoes or boots.
  4. BRING CASH – Many festivals and events only accept cash for their admittance fee. The same goes for food booths, amusement rides and parking. Make sure you bring enough cash to cover all contingencies! Some festivals and events do offer ATM machines, but most don’t.
  5. WASHROOMS – If you are like some of us (me), knowing the location of event washrooms is a must! Some events mark the location of their washrooms on their program and that’s great! However, you can’t always count on that convenience, so make sure you ask festival staff where they are located. If that’s not possible you might want to reconnoiter the grounds while you still can!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Nomad’s Top Ten Festival Tips (Part 1)

 Over the years Judi and I have discovered a number of festival tips. Many of these have been learned through the “School of Hard Knocks”! Although I have mentioned a number of these in various articles, I thought I would present them again in this “Top Ten” list.

  1. CHECK THE FESTIVAL’S WEBSITE – Most festivals and events now maintain a website. If you are planning on visiting a festival or event, this is the best place to start. On the festival’s website you should be able to find out important information such as festival dates and times, exact location, costs and activities.
  2. PRE-PLAN YOUR ROUTE – Nothing can be more frustrating then getting held up on the highway because of a traffic jam! Having an alternative route plan can help eliminate or minimize “traffic frustration”. The “Google Map” is the festival visitors’ best friend. Judi and I use it all the time. By using their “Get Directions” feature, you can find and print plenty of alternative routes. And, who knows, the alternative route will likely be a lot more adventuresome and fun then the direct route!
  3. DEVELOP A CHECKLIST – Having a festival/event checklist can make visiting an event more enjoyable, especially if the visit includes children! Forgetting something important can be quite bothersome, if not downright annoying! No-one likes to have to turn back the retrieve an important item! Planning what you need, in advance, cuts down the chance of this happening. Once you have created your initial list, you can use it for all the festivals and events you plan to visit!
  4. BRING A FRIEND - If you enjoy visiting festivals and events as much as Judi and I do, you’ll likely want to share the experience with your family and friends! When you are deciding what festival or event you plan to visit, ask around to see who else would like to go with you. If not your family or friends, consider asking a “senior” to go with you. “Spread the festival joy and fun!”
  5. PACK A PICNIC LUNCH – Not all festivals and events have a wide selection of nutritious food. If you are concerned about this, pack a picnic lunch. This way you can choose food that is appealing to the whole family and you’ll likely save a little money in the process! As Judi keeps reminding me, “Don’t forget the sanitary wipes to clean your hands!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Campbellford)

 

During the past few years Judi and I have visited over 150 Ontario community festivals and events. The majority have been planned and managed by dedicated community volunteers. As a salute to these wonderful communities and their hard-working residents, I will be writing a series of blogs entitled “Great Ontario Communities”. These blogs describe the communities we have visited and will tell you about some of the interesting things we have experienced and the people we have met. The fifth article will be about Campbellford, located along the banks of the Trent River.

CAMPBELLFORD – This is one of the most picturesque towns along the Trent-Severn Waterway. As you enter Campbellford from the south on County Road 30, you encounter a long park strip that is nestled between the county road and the waterway. Follow the park (Old Mill Park) far enough and you come to the downtown area plus you will be greeted a giant replica of the Canadian “Toonie” (two-dollar coin). Campbellford is the hometown of the Toonie’s creator, internationally collected artist, Brent Townsend. In the summer, the park is a beautiful place to stop and have a picnic lunch! Judi and I try to do this a least twice a year. As you can probably tell from my enthusiasm, Campbellford is a wonderful place to visit (and live)! There are lots of interesting shops in the downtown area including Bennett’s Furnishings and a “to die for” bakery! I can still feel the “sugar rush” from their decadent donuts! Nearby, “must see” attractions include Westben Arts Festival Theatre and Ferris Provincial Park. Westben Arts Festival Theatre is renown for its “World Class Music and its Wide Open Countryside”. The following is an excerpt from their website. “Bringing culture and nature together in perfect harmony, the magnificent 400-seat timber-frame barn opens onto a lush meadow, surrounded by the gently rolling hills of Northumberland County.” and The stage hosts an incredible array of renowned Canadian and international artists, from full symphony orchestras & choruses to chamber music and soloists.Ferris Provincial Park is located just outside of Campbellford. Its trails are open summer and winter. The 300-foot-long suspension bridge, 30 feet over the Ranney Gorge, gives all its visitors an adventure to remember! So, whether it’s picnicking along the waterfront, shopping in the downtown or visiting on of the town’s terrific festivals or attractions, Campbellford is a “must” visit!

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Buckhorn)

 

During the past few years Judi and I have visited over 150 Ontario community festivals and events. The majority have been planned and managed by dedicated community volunteers. As a salute to these wonderful communities and their hard-working residents, I will be writing a series of blogs entitled “Great Ontario Communities”. These blogs describe the communities we have visited and will tell you about some of the interesting things we have experienced and the people we have met. The fourth article will be about Buckhorn, the home of the Buckhorn Fine Art Festival.

BUCKHORN – I have written about Buckhorn before. It was one of four communities featured in my recent “Friendly Places” Blog. Judi and I love Buckhorn. In fact, we lived for a few years about 10 km south of Buckhorn on Chemung Lake. During that time, we became very familiar with the community of Buckhorn and its people. Buckhorn is a 20-minute drive north of Peterborough and is located at Lock 31 on the Trent-Severn Waterway. I think Buckhorn may be best known for it annual Fine Art Festival. From this wonderful festival many other events have sprung, especially ones that are held at the Buckhorn Community Centre! Here is a list of some of them: Dinner Theatre (held in the spring and fall), Spring Craft Show (held in May), Canada Celebrations (held July 1), Fiesta Buckhorn (held in July), Buckhorn Fine Art Festival (held in August), Harvest Craft Show (held Thanksgiving Weekend) and In the ‘Nick’ of Time (held in late November). Other great events are held in the region and add to the popularity of the area. A few include the Buckhorn Maplefest held at the McLean Berry Farm in March. It’s hard to believe that so many great events can be run by a community of so few people. But then again, that’s the charm of this community, dedication and enthusiasm! It never ceases to amaze me, when I talk to one of the many volunteers, of just how much energy they possess! People and events is not all that Buckhorn offers. Not surprising there are several great art galleries located in the area, including Bayside Boutique and Art Gallery, the Whetung Ojibwa Centre and Gallery-on-the-Lake. The area is also home of several well-known artists, including internationally recognized and collected, Michael Dumas. If it’s fishing or boating that you are interested in, Buckhorn is located between two fabulous lakes, Lower Buckhorn to the east and Upper Buckhorn to the west. These two lakes are great because they form part of the Trent-Severn Waterway. This versatile area has a lot of other things to see and do. There is the City of Peterborough 35 km to the south and Bobcaygeon 24 km to the west. No matter what time of year you choose to visit Buckhorn, you will never be at a loss for something to do.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Brockville)

 During the past few years Judi and I have visited almost 150 Ontario community festivals and events. The majority have been planned and managed by dedicated community volunteers. As a salute to these wonderful communities and their hard-working residents, I will be writing a series of blogs entitled “Great Ontario Communities”. These blogs describe the communities we have visited and will tell you about some of the interesting things we have experienced and the people we have met. The third article will be about Brockville, located in the along the banks of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

BROCKVILLE – Whenever Judi and I drive to eastern Ontario, we try to include the City of Brockville in our itinerary. We love exploring Brockville’s unique picturesque waterfront downtown and its rich historic architecture. Brockville is known as the “City of the 1000 Islands” and is located along the banks of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The city, named after the British General Sir Isaac Brock, is one of the oldest cities in Ontario. This “loyalist” area was first settled in 1785 by hundreds of American refugees. They later became known as “United Empire Loyalists”.  To find out more about this historic city, I would recommend that you visit the Wikipedia website/Brockville (Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brockville)

Brockville has a wonderful main street full of interesting and attractive shops to investigate. Judi and I love to have dinner at the “New York Restaurant”. This is an established “Chinese cuisine” restaurant with great food and attentive service. To get to Brockville from Cobourg, Judi and I normally travel the 401 Highway to Gananoque and then take the 1000 Island Parkway to Brockville. This scenic route runs parallel to the St. Lawrence and overlooks the many fabulous island homes and cottages. On clear summer days the river is teaming with pleasure boats! Once you leave the Parkway, the road that leads to the historic downtown is lined with gracious century homes. There is plenty to do in Brockville with its great parks, interesting attractions and wonderful special events. Their parks include the St. Lawrence Park, Centeen Park and Hardy Park; attractions include 1000 Island and Seaway Cruises, the Brockville Museum and Canada’s Oldest Railway Tunnel. Brockville festivals and events include the 1000 Island Jazz Festival (held in May/June), the Brockville Riverfest (held in July), the Brockville Ribfest (held in August) and the Thousand Island Writers Festival (held in October). To find out more about Brockville, visit the city’s website.