Thursday, August 6, 2020

Toronto Harbourfront Centre

If you have never been to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, you have missed a lot of fun and entertainment! I first remember visiting the harbour front area when I was a young man working for my father. My family owned a successful insurance agency (now brokerage) in Toronto and one of our commercial customers had their offices in the old “Terminal Building” (now known as the Queen’s Quay Terminal). One of my assignments was to deliver papers to our customer. Although the building was built in 1926 and was used mainly as a “Cold Storage” facility, it was very impressive! It was also one of the main buildings along the waterfront! The area had yet to be developed. 

That came in the 1980’s when the different levels of government decided it was time for change. One of the first projects was the conversion of the Terminal Building to upscale stores and condominiums. This, along with the development of the Harbourfront Centre started the harbour front “revolution”! Other condos and hotels quickly started to appear. Now the area is alive with “lots to do” and the Harbourfront Centre leads the way! 

So far, I have visited two of their events, the Toronto International Circus Festival (with my grandson Tyler) and the International Festival of Authors (with my friend Paul). Both were great events and I look forward to visiting many more. Check out their website for more information. (http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/)


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Free Stuff…

I haven’t seen too much “free stuff” at festivals lately! I guess I’m not surprised give the economy. I can remember years ago going to the Ex (Canadian National Exhibition) and bringing home lots of “free stuff”. It seemed like a lot back then, but I was just a kid, so anything “free” would have looked good to me! However, the food court “goodies” was a different story, large cups of pop, candy bars and Tiny Tom donuts! Back then, that was how the food and drink companies promoted themselves. And, if they didn’t give their products away for free, the price was much lower than normal! Of course, today, companies at industry shows do hand out some promotional items, but most aren’t that appealing! Well, I guess I should qualify that! Judi collects pens, so anyone who offers her a “free” pen, wins her heart! I like the more interesting promotions. I guess that is why I enjoyed the “business card” I received at the Lindsay Model Railway Show! We were just finishing our explorations when we came to a vendor who was selling model trains and train supplies. The store was called Hobbies and Beyond, from Lindsay. I stopped to say hello and to introduce myself. I do this when I find something interesting and I want to take their photo. We talked for a few moments and then I handed the lady my business card. In return I asked for one of hers. I need cards to remember who I talk with and to get their contact information. The lady came back with a small package sealed in a clear bag. Inside were three pieces of wood with instructions on how to put the wood together! It was a balsam wood glider! On the main wing of the glider was the store’s contact information! I was hooked! I thought if this is their business card, it must be a great hobby store to visit. The next time I am in Lindsay I am going to make sure I visit it!


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Festivaling with Kids (Part Four)


Last week, I talked about how to prepare for going to a festival or event with your kid(s). In that article I discussed Preparing for a Festival. This week I want to talk about what to do at the festival or event.



Part Three – Being There
You have now arrived at your festival or event. How do you stay sane and enjoy yourselves? Good question, so here are a few suggestions that I hope will help!
·         Parking - With many festivals or events parking can be a problem. Thankfully a lot of larger festivals have off sight parking and a shuttle service. I would encourage you to take advantage of this service. The other alternative is to arrive at the event before it actually opens. By doing this you will likely find a good parking spot.
·         Boredom – Since kids generally get bored fairly easily, a little preliminary planning goes a long way! This goes for the trip to the festival and the wait time before some events. Bringing portable games, such as a game boy, cards, a colouring book or a ball, can help kids pass the time and keep them from become too bored.
·         Site Planning – Unfortunately many festivals don’t have great site maps or event schedules on their website, so some or all of your planning will have to take place at the event itself. What to look for? First, I think, where are the washrooms located? (A good suggestion for youngsters and “oldsters”!) Next find out where all the “kid’s” events and activities are taking place. Determine which of the events is “time sensitive” and which you and your family want to see. That way you can plan to leave enough time to arrive at each event early. Like the parking, getting to an event early will usually mean good seating. This will likely mean some “wait time”, but you have already thought of that (see above) because you have brought along something to keep the kids occupied!
·         Emergency Plan – Having an emergency plan in place is important. Once you get to the festival you should have a predetermined meeting spot in case you get separated. Everyone should know where it’s located and what the timing should be if separation occurs. In the case of younger children, a cellular phone number should be sewn or pinned to the youngsters clothing. This way if they get lost, someone can reach you by telephone. (Make sure you bring the phone with you!)
I am sure that there is a lot more that could be thought of. If you can think of any more suggestions, please let me know and I will include them in the next issue. Happy festivaling!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Festivaling with Kids (Part Three)

Part Two – Preparing to Visit a Festival

How much preparation and what you need to know and do will depend on the age of your children and the type of event you are going to attend. So, many of the following ideas may or may not apply. Here is my “Kid Friendly Tips” checklist (in no particular order of importance):

·         Comfort – If you are going to a parade or an event where you will be sitting for a while, you might want to bring a cushion or folding chairs. A blanket would also be useful, either for warmth or for covering the ground.  Bringing an extra empty fold up bag might come in handy to carry purchases or winnings.
·         Extra Clothing – Packing extra clothing or layering is always a good idea. Accidents happen and changes of clothing are needed. The younger the child the more likely the “accident”. Also, weather can change in an instant. Cold weather can become warm. Warm weather to cold and sunshine into rain. I have learned this through bitter experience.
·         Sun – Bring along sun protection, hats, sun block, sun glassed, lip cream, etc. even if it’s a cloudy day. Sun created illnesses are not fun and can be very dangerous!
·         First Aid – You might want to take a small first aid kit with you, Band-Aids, Gravel, aspirin, Lysol wipes, etc.
·         Festival/Events Information – If the festival’s website has a site map or a schedule of event or list of activities, you should print it off and bring it with you. 
(To be continued in Part Four)

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Festivaling with Kids (Part Two)


Preparing to Visit a Festival

How much preparation and what you need to know and do will depend on the age of your children and the type of event you are going to attend. So, many of the following ideas may or may not apply. Here is my “Kid Friendly Tips” checklist (in no particular order of importance):
·         Stroller or Wagon – if you have a younger child or children, a stroller is a must. Carrying a tired child around a festival is not fun! For you or the child! Plus strollers can be used to carry other things, like a big stuffed panda bear you just won!
·         Meal – most festivals offer the standard festival fair, hotdogs, hamburgers, sausages, French fries, cotton candy, etc. Plus it can be expensive. If you and you family are not into that type of food, prepare a picnic lunch that the whole family can enjoy. If bringing food is not an option, check out the areas for family restaurant before you enter the festival grounds.
·         Water – bring bottled water (in a reusable bottle) is important in the hot summer months. Becoming dehydrated is not fun and can be dangerous to yours and your children’s health.
·         Snacks – Many times you may have to wait for an event to start or your lunch is delayed. Having a few healthy snacks available will keep the children “at bay” and save you a ton of money!
·         Entertainment – Again since there may be some periods of waiting between events, bringing a few toys for entertainment purposes might ward off some of the boredom. What you bring will depend on the interests of your child.


(To be continued in Part Three)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Festivaling with Kids (Part One)


Festivaling with Kids
With the economic times as they are, many families will exchange their expensive “away holidays” for less expensive “local excursions”. Many of these “local excursions” will be to festivals or events that are located close by. Because of this idea, I thought now would be a good time to write about kids and festivals. Most parents know how to “travel with kids” plus there are lots of articles about the subject. So, I won’t talk about “getting there”. Instead I’d like to discuss choosing “kid friendly” festivals and events, how to prepare for them and what to do when you get there. Because this is a fairly lengthy subject, I am dividing it into three parts, “Choosing”, “Preparing” and “Being There”.

Part One – Choosing a Festival
The best way that I know of, to find a “kid friendly” festival or event is through research. I think that the Internet provides the best tools for this research. Most festivals and events have websites. If they don’t, I feel sorry for them. Each website should show you what the festival/event is offering, things such as theme, activities, events, etc. This information should give you a good idea as to how “kid friendly” the event will be. For example, if the event is mainly arts and crafts, it may appeal to you but not to your kids! On the other hand, if it has a midway, music, animals and puppet shows, it likely will appeal to them. Price could also be a big factor, so check out the festival’s admission fees. Most festivals have reduced children’s rates. The distance you need to travel could affect your decision. If your children don’t travel well, long distances may eliminate some events. The festival website will hopefully give you a schedule of events and their times. This information will allow you to plan when to leave home so that you won’t miss any of the events you really want to see. If you don’t find all of the information you want from the website and you still want to go to the event, contact the event organizers by telephone or e-mail and get them to answer any questions you might have. If they don’t respond, it probably isn’t a festival you want to attend. After you have decided on which festival or event you are going to visit, preparation comes next. 
(To be continued – Part Two, Preparing to Visit a Festival)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Artists’ Series – Marg Lamendeau (Part 2)


It had rained heavily just before the Match started and the fields were pure mud! Marg told me that vendors tried to get through the mud to set up their booths but couldn’t. Festival organizers had to arrange tractor pulled wagons to help. She described the day that she and Kenny had arrived. “We tried walking to our booth area, but every step became harder and harder. We were sinking down into the mud so low that it kept sucking our booths off as we tried to take our steps. Kenny finally had to carry me back to hard ground!” When I met them at the Match, the ground had hardened. The weather, however, had taken its toll! Both Marg and Kenny, when they greeted me, look like they had been competing in a mud wrestling tournament! Fortunately, not too many shows were like that! During the helicon days of print sales, I spent a great deal of time either driving to and from their home in Arnprior or sitting in their kitchen drinking hot tea and munching on a goodie or two! I miss trips to Arnprior and sitting and talking with Marg and Kenny! However, times change and so do our lives. Marg eventually tired of the nomad life and moved off in other directions, while Judi and I left the art and framing business altogether.