Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Niagara Region)

 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 eleventh article is about the Niagara Region, with its quaint towns, beautiful wineries and, of course, Niagara Falls!

NIAGARA REGION - Who hasn’t heard of Niagara Falls?  It’s known all over the world for its strength and beauty!  Lovers honeymoon there!  Adventures try to ride the Falls and sightseers from all over take thousands of photographs!  But Niagara Falls is only part of the allure of the Niagara Region.  A big part, but only a part!  Judi and I love to visit this area because there is so much to do!  In Niagara-on-the-Lake there’s the Shaw Festival and wonderful historic shopping.  Artists such as Trisha Romance live and work there!  In St. Catherine’s there’s Port Dalhousie, home of the Antique Carousel hosting ride at 5 cents and Harbour where the annual Royal Canadian Henley Regatta is held in August.  There are also a number of great restaurants there to enjoy a savory meal.  Fort Erie has the Fort Erie Rack Track plus it’s right on the border to Buffalo.  Crystal Beach is one main attraction not to be missed there.

The Niagara Region is also known for its great wineries.  On any given day during the warmer seasons, you’ll see thousands of people touring the areas numerous wineries (especially during the Niagara Wine Festival in September in St. Catharines). Throughout the region there are many interesting and quaint towns and villages to discover and explore! In the Town of Pelham are 5 villages nestled including Fonthill full of quaint shops.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Kitchener-Waterloo)

 During the past 15 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 tenth article is about Kitchener-Waterloo, located about an hour's drive west of Toronto and is home of the fabulous Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest!

KITCHENER-WATERLOO - I can never go to Kitchener-Waterloo without thinking of food!  This may seem strange but having lived in Kitchener-Waterloo for several years, I was able to discover the many wonderful places to have a meal.  The thing is that Kitchener-Waterloo is surrounded by many, many quaint villages and hamlets and all seem to have a restaurant to remember.  I think you have to live there for a while to really appreciate the shear numbers.  As you likely know, Kitchener-Waterloo is the home of a very large German population.  I believe this is why there are so many great places to eat!  The Germans seem to have a knack of preparing and serving delicious food and, of course, German beer is likely the best in the world!  This all being said, Kitchener-Waterloo is one of my favorite places to visit and it’s not just for the food.  There is a lot to do in this area! 

Located in the Grand River Valley, Kitchener-Waterloo is just an hour drive west of Toronto, so it’s easy to take day trips if you live in or near the GTA.  One of my favorite places to visit and things to do include a visit to St. Jacobs and lunch at the Stone Crock. The Village of St. Jacobs, Ontario’s Mennonite Heritage lies approximately 15 kilometers north of Waterloo in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Southern Ontario.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Kingsville)

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 ninth article is about Kingsville, "Canada's Southmost Downtown area".

KINGSVILLE - Kingsville's downtown is located as far south as one can travel in Southern Ontario.  Some years ago, Judi and I traveled to Kingsville via Essex.  We were on our way to visit the Kingsville Migration Festival.  Along the way we stopped in Essex to visit our friend Mary Kendrick.  Mary, as I have written before, is a wonderful floral artist.  From Mary’s we continued on to Kingsville and the Migration Festival.  It’s easy to understand why Kingsville holds a migration celebration each year.  Kingsville residents are enthusiastic supporters of their favorite son and conservationist Jack Miner and his ideas!  This is a pretty town located near Canada’s southern most boundary.  The shops, residential housing and parks all add to the ambience of Kingsville.  I think that the Migration Parade is probably the best indicator of the town and its people.  As Judi and I sat watching the parade, it seemed that if you weren’t in the parade, you were sitting on the side of the road cheering the people you know. The residents of Kingsville love their city and cherish its past.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Kingston)

 

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 eighth article is about Kingston, one of Canada's most historic cities.

KINGSTON – If you have never visited the City of Kingston, you have missed enjoying one of Ontario’s and Canada's most historic and beautiful cities.  Not only are there many historic buildings, it is the home of the father of confederation, Sir John A. MacDonald.  Throughout the city there are landmarks honoring Sir John A.  To the east of the city, you will find the World Heritage Site, Fort Henry.  The Fort overlooks the St. Lawrence River and offers a glorious view of both the St. Lawrence and the City of Kingston.  Throughout the summer months the Fort offers visitors an authentic look into Canada’s past.  In October, it changes it’s look and transforms itself into “Fort Fright”.  My son-in-law, Eddy and I visited Fort Fright last year and had a wonderful “frightening” time!  If you are looking for great shopping, Kingston’s downtown shopping area offers lots of variety.  One of Judi’s favorite stores is located there, Wallack’s Art Supplies.  Judi tells me she could spend hours there, “just looking”!  Kingston is also the home of Queen’s University and Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu Hospital.  Unfortunately, I have intimate knowledge of the hospital as this is where I had my triple By-Pass surgery.  I must say that Kingston is one of my favorite places to visit (not the hospital).  There is always lots to do.  From shopping to sightseeing and from attractions to festivals and events. Here's a list of some of the events and attractions:

·         Fort Henry

·         Portsmouth Village

·         Grand Theatre

·         Woodworking Museum

·         Pump House Steam Museum

·         Bellevue House National Historic Park

·         International Hockey Hall of Fame

·         Museum of Health Care

·         Royal Military College Museum

·         Music in the Gardens

·         Sheep Dog Trials

·         Kingston Fall Fair

Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Ameliasburgh & Prince Edward County)

 During the past 15 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 eighth article is about Ameliasburgh and Prince Edward County.

AMELIASBURG & PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY - Ameliasburgh is a small hamlet located in Prince Edward County.  We discovered Ameliasburgh by chance.  I was surfing the “Net” looking for an event to visit last May.  One of the events that caught my eye was “Welcome Weekend”.  I’m not sure why this phrase stood out, but it did.  Judi and I decided to investigate and we weren’t disappointed!  The “Welcome Weekend” is the season’s first and one of many events held at the Ameliasburg Museum.  It is also the first event for Ontario’s re-enactors.  To find out more about our visit, you can read my article on the Ontario Festivals Visited website.  We had a great time!  The other wonderful thing about Ameliasburgh is that it is located in Prince Edward County.  The county is a most interesting place to visit.  From its quaint towns and villages, Picton, Bloomfield and Wellington, to its many wineries, Prince Edward County offers more and more each season.  The residents of the County love to throw collective “parties”.  A Taste of the County”, “Maple in the County”, and “Art in the County”, to name a few!  There always seems to be something interesting happening!  Retired people have discovered this area, as they continue to move to the County.  In fact, my brother Chuck and his wife Flo, now live in a retirement community in Wellington.  They love it and are active participants in many activities.

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!