Thursday, June 17, 2021

Live and Learn!

It is always interesting to visit a festival or event and to learn something new! That's what happened during our visit to a community show. One of the demonstrations featured at the show was a "Dog Show". Judi and I stopped to watch. The moderator was talking and demonstrating "canine obedience". Listening to the speaker made me start to think about our cute and cuddly English Springer Spaniel, Dusty and her obedience or, should I say her "lack of obedience"! What really hit home were the two puppies that were brought onto the stage. They were NOT very old! I couldn't believe how well trained and "obedient" they already were! I looked at Judi to say "I told you so..." She looked back at me and raised her eyebrows and casually said "Yes, dear, but ours has personality"! That was the end of our "dog" discussion! How does one argue with that kind of logic? And, who said "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"? I DID! 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Port Perry)

 During the past 14+ years Judi and I have visited almost 300 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 twenty second article is about Port Perry which is located north of Oshawa and about an hour drive from Toronto.

PORT PERRY - Located northeast of Toronto, Port Perry lies on the bank of Lake Scugog. Scugog is a man-made lake and is the result artificial flooding. As a result of the flooding, Scugog Island was formed. The island is now the home of the Mississauga First Nations. On the island are the Blue Heron Casino and the Scugog Shores Historical Museum and Archives. There is also a small but well-preserved Pioneer Village at the Museum. Judi and I visited the Museum a few years ago, for their Pioneer Fall Fair, and had a great time! The town of Port Perry itself is a major attraction destination for Greater Toronto Area visitors. It’s 350 plus merchants and stores offer visitors a wide variety of products. The main street of Port Perry radiates the charm of a "country village". Beautiful retail stores act as a magnet for tourists. Port Perry boasts some very fine restaurants for both visitors and residents to enjoy. Lake Scugog is the closest entry point from Toronto to the Trent-Severn Waterway. Navigating the Scugog River can be a harrowing adventure. Judi and I have traveled that route a number of times and can tell you, from first hand experience, that you have to be VERY careful! One time, when we were motoring up the river to Lindsay, we hit a “deadhead” that severely damaged our transom and propeller. The humiliation was further enhanced when we had to be pulled back to the marina by a small motor boat!

Port Perry’s most famous son is Daniel David Palmer, founder of Chiropractic. Palmer’s statue dominates Port Perry’s municipal park. Other famous Port Perry alumni include John Ross Roach and Frederick Whitecroft (NHL stars), Craig Russell (famous impersonator) and actress Emily Van Camp. If you are ever near the area, Port Perry is definitely worth visiting and exploring!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Port Hope) ~ Part Two

 Port Hope was also the home of The Great Farini (William Leonard Hunt) and Joseph Scriven. Joseph Scriven is best known for penning the hymn “What a Friend we Have in Jesus”. This is as a result of a letter he sent his mother. Scriven was born in Ireland and eventually immigrated to Canada. He lived and died in the Municipality of Port Hope.

William Leonard Hunt lived in the mid 1800’s and was one of Canada’s and perhaps the world’s most interesting characters. Hunt, or as he became better known as "The Great Farini", was everything from a "tight rope walker", to a "trapezes artist" and  to a "Circus performer trainer and manager". He managed people and businesses. He was a botanist and produced several new plants. He was an explorer, "discovering" the Lost City of the Kalahari Desert He was an inventor and is credited with inventing the "human cannonball", "folding theatre seats" and much more! And, he was a land owner. He once owned most land in Hope Township (now part of the municipality of Port Hope). In his later years he lived and died in Port Hope and is now buried in Port Hope’s Union Cemetery. You can learn more about “The Great Farini” by going to www.shanepeacock.ca  and about Joseph Scriven by going to www.josephscriven.org . Other famous Port Hope residents include Baseball pitcher and Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer, Paul Quantrill, artists, David Blackwood and writer, Farley Mowat. Port Hope is a great place to work and live and a special place to visit.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Port Hope) ~ Part One

 During the past 14+years Judi and I have visited over 300 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 twenty first article is about Port Hope which is located about an hour east of Toronto along Highway 401.

PORT HOPE - If you love antiquing, Port Hope is the town to visit! Known for having the "Best Preserved Main Street in Ontario", Port Hope boasts over 20% of Ontario’s Canadian Antique Dealers offering unique antique shops and a flourishing Architecture Conservancy. Port Hope is also home of the Capitol Theatre, Canada’s only surviving “atmospheric theatre”. Many of Canada’s best-known stars have performed there. Port Hope, located on the shores of Lake Ontario offers an idyllic way of life. Many seniors have escaped from Toronto and now call Port Hope their home. For many years Judi and I worked in Port Hope and enjoyed it immensely. Port Hope offers its residents and visitors great amenities including 2 golf courses, Ganaraska Forest and the Jack Burger Recreation Centre. Port hosts numerous festivals and events.

(To be continued in Part Two)

Friday, May 21, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Port Credit) ~ Part Two

 Port Credit...

On a lighter note, I spent many years enjoying all that the beautiful harbor, river and parks offered to Port Credit residents. We sailed out of the Port Credit Yacht Club for over 10 years, kayaked from the Mississauga Canoe Club, rowed with the Don Rowing Club, played organized baseball in Memorial Park, canoed up the Port Credit river to the Mississauga Golf course to collect golf balls from the river bed. (we sold them to the players for 25 cents each, A fortune at the time!), and we spent many wonderful winters cross country skiing on the river and skating on it till our hearts content.

In 1968 Port Credit amalgamated and became part of Mississauga. On its 10th anniversary Mayor Hazel McCallion, was presented with a “45 vinyl record”. On it was a song written about and dedicated to Mississauga by the famous country singer Tommy Hunter. Although I can’t play the record (no equipment) the tune is engrained in my mind. A while ago, the Festival Nomad and I visited the Mississauga Waterfront Festival held in Memorial Park located in the heart of Port Credit.  Port Credit” still hosts many wonderful festivals and events.


Friday, May 14, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Port Credit) ~ Part One

 

By Festival Nomad "Sidekick" and Partner, Judi McWilliams

During the past few years, the Nomad 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, we 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 twentieth article is about Port Credit which now forms part of Mississauga.

PORT CREDIT - It is with many fond memories that I can write about the beautiful Ontario community of Port Credit. This is where I spent the majority of my childhood and where I “met up with” the Festival Nomad. Port Credit is located at the mouth of the Credit River on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is in the south-central area of the City of Mississauga. Earliest references to Port Credit date back to 1757 where it was once a fishing port and the regional trading centre for grain.  1882 saw its lighthouse built and it served mariners until 1918. It was destroyed by fire in 1936. The village, itself, was planned in 1834 and was a “police village” in 1909. It didn't become a “town” until 1961.

I have lived through two interesting stories. The first occurred with the Texaco Oil Refinery (1932-1985) tank “blow-up”! Talk about “Déjà vu"!  My memories of this are vague, although the massive number of flames and billowing black clouds remain vivid.  In my teenage years we lived in a high-rise condominium directly beside the train tracks.  It was a Sunday evening and our family were just sitting down to my mother's famous “roast beef dinners”.  The loud speakers from the fire trucks were bellowing out “leave immediately, get out now, evacuate now!.  My mother insisted that we finish our “dinner”, then we began to panic.  More and more police and fire vehicles came by, insisting we leave the area and evacuate immediately. This second "interesting story"! The "great Port Credit train derailment" had just occurred and there was a major chemical spill. At that point we tried to collect our two cats. With bleeding arms (on all of us) and the two terrified cats had "completely disappeared" and could not be collected. We hastily left the condo in tears and without our cats! We did not think to “pack” anything. We had zero provisions!  We had no idea that we would be “evacuated” for over 2 weeks!  We were eventually compensated for clothing and general expenses but it was a great stain anyway.  Fortunately, the humane society were able to obtain access to our unit and “checked on the cats” to ensure their well being. The cats were okay, but sadly, my mothers (over 200) plants had all died.  This happened not from lack of water but from the toxic odor that filled our unit.

(To be continued in Part Two)

Friday, May 7, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (St. Jacobs)

 During the past 14+ years Judi and I have visited over 300 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 twentieth article is about St. Jacobs, located in the heart of Mennonite country.

ST. JACOBS - St. Jacobs is a quaint village located just north of Kitchener-Waterloo. It is a place that Judi and I love to visit whenever we are in the area. To me, the present-day St. Jacobs, although very interesting and still quite quaint, does not have the same feel as the St. Jacobs I visited so many years ago. The first time I visited St. Jacobs (about 1975), I was dazzled by the uniqueness of the village. St. Jacobs sits in a hollow, with both ends of the village slopping down towards the thriving village centre. Picturesque shops and restaurants line both sides of the main street. I first discovered St. Jacobs when I was living in Waterloo. A number of the people I worked with liked to go to St. Jacobs for lunch at the Stone Crock Restaurant. Back then it was visibly run by the Mennonites and the food was always fresh and lots of it! It wasn’t unusual to see Mennonite horse drawn carriages sauntering down the main street or tied up at one of the many hitching posts. The products, back then, seemed to be a little different in the types that they offered now. Most then, seemed to be hand made. Over the years I have continued to visit St. Jacobs and have noted the subtle changes. The Stone Crock became more commercial and I believe it is now owned by a corporation. The facility has been expanded and renovated, and the atmosphere and food remain warm and inviting. Judi particularly loves the restaurants fresh home-made raspberry pie, thick veggie soup and newly made sandwiches. St. Jacobs still is the home of picturesque older buildings. The Old Gristmill has had its silos converted into interesting shops offering a large variety of unique products. We were fortunate, years ago to acquire hand made pottery coffee mugs. We still use them today after all these years. Another addition to the village is the Benjamin Inn. Judi and I had the pleasure of staying there one weekend and enjoyed it immensely. South of the town, closer to Waterloo, is the fabulous St. Jacobs Farmers' Market. When I started visiting St. Jacobs, the Market was quite small and not that well attended. Now it has now grown and become one of the premiere attractions for the area. The Market grounds include not only the Farmers' Market but Factory Outlet stores as well. Close by a Best Western Hotel was built and now offers luxury accommodations for St. Jacob and Farmers' Market visitors. Other new businesses have come to the community and it is always fun and interesting to discover them. St. Jacobs is one of the many communities in Waterloo county and plays an integral part in attracting visitors to the area.

Friday, April 30, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Fenelon Falls)

 During the past 14+ years Judi and I have visited over 300 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 nineteenth article is about Fenelon Falls which is located just north of Lindsay.

FENELON FALLS - Fenelon Falls, often referred to as “The Jewel of the Kawartha’s”, is a picturesque thriving tourist destination. Judi and I can attest to this because of our many trips to Lock 34. Lock 34 takes boats from Sturgeon Lake to Cameron Lake and is a popular lock to stop and tie up at. I can remember one memorable experience when visiting this lock. We had just taken delivery of our new boat and were “sea testing it” with a trip to Fenelon Falls. At the top of the locks, we wanted to dock and tie up. As we approached an empty docking space a gust of wind caught our boat and, much to the dismay of other boaters, we turned in the lock. To boaters, this is NOT a good thing to, especially when you are out of control! To add our humiliation, the lockmaster (over the loud PA system) actually asked us if we were going back into the lock for the return trip down! I had trouble from there, both controlling the boat and docking it!  I couldn’t understand why I was having so much trouble! That is until I found out, upon further examination, that the steering wheel fluid had leaked, thus leaving me without any power steering. Power steering was needed to properly steer this type of boat! Once the problem was solved, I became a “pro” at docking the boat and fortunately did not have this type of “spectacle” again!  My memory of Fenelon Falls goes back some time, as my Aunt Jay and Uncle Herb had a cottage not far from the town.  My own mother and father eventually purchased a cottage close to theirs.  I can remember visiting my parents and Aunt and Uncle and then taking trips to Fenelon Falls. There we toured the town and purchased mouthwatering Chelsea buns from the local bakery. They were certainly something to remember. In later years, apart from visiting Lock34 with our boat, we used to drive to Fenelon Falls to get together with artist friends Marg and Terry Andrews. Terry became one of our favorite artists and was one of Judi’s first "art" mentors.  It was always fun when we played “Pictionary” with Terry.  Terry always drew the most elaborate picture that were easy to recognize. Unfortunately, he normally ran out of time and couldn't finish the picture!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Kincardine)

 During the past 14+ years Judi and I have visited over 300 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 eighteenth article is about Kincardine, located on the shinning blues shores of Lake Huron.

KINCARDINE - A number of years ago I had the privilege of living there for a few years. My most vivid memories of Kincardine are of Lake Huron, and of how it could be angry one moment and serine and calm the next. Summer in Kincardine was like most lakeside communities, full of fun outdoor activities, walks along the beach, and visiting festivals and events in the area. One such event happens every Saturday night during the summer. It is known as the Kincardine Scottish Pipe Band parade. This is were Kincardine’s Pipe Band marches down the main street to Victoria Park.  They are followed by towns people and visitors alike.  In Victoria Park the band performs for all those who have gathered. I used to live in a second floor apartment right across from the park. I can remember many Saturday nights sitting at the front window, watching the parade and listening to the music. It was always an awesome spectacle!  Other memories of Kincardine include dining at many of its fine restaurants, snowmobiling with friends in the winter, and getting together with friends for arousing games of ping-pong. Although winters in the area can be very beautiful they can also be very dangerous. I can remember on a few occasions driving from Port Elgin to Kincardine and getting caught in blinding white-out.  If you have never experienced a white-out, I can tell you that it is a most terrifying experience! White-out can occurs when strong winds blow across Lake Huron and then hits the shores and fields, blowing snow in every direction. When you are caught in a white-out storm, you have no sense of movement or direction. The snow banks along the highway can be as high as a transport truck, so there is no-where to pull off the road. You can’t stop driving and you can only pray that no large vehicles comes on your side of the road and crashes into you!  The only good part of this experience is when you finally emerge from the blinding snow and are safe! Fortunately these storms don’t occur often but when they do it’s certainly best to stay off the roads and hunker down in front of a warm fire. For all of this, Kincardine was a great place to live and it’s now a wonderful place to visit!  Kincardine is a wonderful place to visit and has some of their great festivals and events. One such event is the Kincardine Scottish Festival. It has gained province wide recognition as one of the province's best Scottish festivals. Other interesting communities near Kincardine include Goderich, Port Elgin, Southampton and Owen Sound.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Muskoka)

 During the past 14+ years Judi and I have visited over 300 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 seventeenth article is about Muskoka, land of lakes and recreation.

MUSKOKA - One of my all-time favourite places to visit is Muskoka. That's probably because this is where I spent most of my childhood summers. My first memory of Muskoka is of Lake of Bays and Baysville. For years my parents had been going to a lodge for our summer vacations, but that changed when I was about 10 years old. My mother and father decided to purchase a cottage rather than rent rooms at a lodge. The cottage search started in Haliburton, but was quickly curtailed when my mother saw a bear lumbering up a dirt road near where my parents were considering their new cottage. This took their search to Muskoka!  I don’t think, at the time, that my mother considered the fact that there were probably the same number of bears in Muskoka as there were in Haliburton! That being said, we all loved Muskoka, Lake of Bays and Baysville. After a fairly short search, they found a wonderful cottage on a small bay on the Lake of Bays. The cottage was on the west end of the lake and was located between Baysville and Huntsville. Those were halcyon years and set me for a life long love of the area. Even though we no longer have a cottage (sigh) there, I still gravitate back to the area! 

Muskoka cover a very large area with many beautiful lakes to discover and unique villages to visit.  There are four larger lakes and they include Lake Rosseau, Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph and Lake of Bays. The major towns in the area include Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Rosseau, Huntsville and Bayside.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Country Heritage Park)

 During the past 14+ years, Judi and I have visited over 300 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 sixteenth article is about Country Heritage Park. I am including this "Heritage Park" and others (Pioneer Villages) like it because I feel that they represent what communities and community life was and is all about.

COUNTRY HERITAGE PARK - You wouldn’t know it but hidden in the shadows of the Niagara Escarpment in Milton lies one of the best interactive heritage parks we’ve visited.  The park is called the “County Heritage Park” and if you look closely and quickly you can catch a glimpse of it from Hwy. #401, just west of Milton.  Don’t blink or you'll missed it. However, if you are looking for a really fun adventure with the whole family, the Country Heritage Park is the place to go.  The park depicts agriculture and rural life over the last 150 years.  The park is located on 80 acres and has 30 exhibit buildings and 20,000 artifacts.  Make sure, when you do go, that you take a good pair of walking shoes. Also, go early so you don’t miss anything.  Over the year the park has a number of special events, each highlighting different aspects of the park.

In addition to the historic buildings, the Country Heritage Park boasts a number of outstanding collections.  These include tractors, carriages, steam engines, cars, milking equipment and much more.  This is a special place, especially for those of us who enjoy experiencing and studying Canada's and Ontario's past!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Kleinburg)

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 fifteenth article is about Kleinburg which is located just north of Toronto.

KLEINBURG - Kleinburg is a beautiful village located just north of Toronto.  It’s probably best known for the home of the “Group of Seven”, McMichael Art Gallery.  The “Group of Seven” artists are one, of the best known and prestigious art groups Canada has ever known.  Original works of art include pieces by Franklin Carmichael, A.Y. Jackson, A.J. Casson, Arthur Lismer, and J.E.H. MacDonald.  Over the years Judi and I have enjoyed our visits.  I think the most memorable visit to Kleinburg was to its “Binder Twine Festival”.  The Binder Twine Festival (held the first Saturday after “Labour Day”) celebrates the fall harvest and was originally started by a local merchant (Charlie Shaw) to encourage farmers to the village and his store.  The festival was lost for a number of years but was brought back in 1967 when a committee of residents revived the concept as part of Canada's Centennial celebrations. The festival has grown ever since.  The town itself was founded in 1848 by John Kline a German/Canadian settler and is the home of several famous people including Pierre Berton over 50 years ago (although he died in 2004), former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.   Other interesting tidbits of information about Kleinburg include that it is home of Toronto International Film Studio, the popular television show “The Forest Rangers” was filmed in Kleinburg in 1963-1965, the movie “The Sentinel” was filmed in 2006 at the McMichael Art Gallery.  With the quaint shops, historic architecture, fine dinning, and beautiful lush settlings, Kleinburg is a wonderful place to visit! 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Should I Tell You?

In order to save on the cost of going to festivals and events and to eat healthier meals, Judi has been making and packing picnic lunches for us to take to the festivals and events we visit! We’ve been doing this since the beginning of August and it’s been going very well, until now! Each time Judi carefully thinks through what we are going to eat and what she needs to pack. She includes such things as forks, knives, spoons, salt, napkins, etc., all of this along with our food and beverages. To preserve the food in the hot weather and to keep our drinks cool, we have a thermal lined picnic bag. As I said, all was well until last week! Judi prepared and packed the food as usual. Our recyclable water bottles were freshly filled and also packed. We loaded everything into our car and then headed for our destination! We were going to visit the event in the morning and then head to Wellington to visit my brother Chuck and his wife, Flo. After the festival visit, we went back to the car, ready to have our picnic lunch. We wanted to eat before we headed out to Chuck and Flo’s. Judi opened the thermal bag and let out a loud scream and then a low moan! This was followed by a few well-chosen words! I can’t repeat them here! The bottom of the bag was completely filled with WATER! We had just purchased new water bottles and had not tested them out! The contents of the water bottles had leaked! Everything was soaked and the water bottles were empty! Even though the sandwiches had been carefully wrapped, the water had managed to seep in! They were just nicely soggy! I was hungry and needed eat, so I suck in a big breath and bit into the soggy sandwich! Needless to say, the lunch was not quite what we had in mind when we started out that morning! So, here is my FESTIVAL NOMAD advice for the day… “Check out your new water bottles for leaks BEFORE you pack them with your lunch!” Also, take your mother’s advice, “Never eat a soggy sandwich! 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Perth)

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 fourteenth article is about Perth which is located about an hour southwest of Ottawa and is considered one of the prettiest towns in Ontario.

PERTH - I can’t count the number of times we have passed through the northern portion of Perth and have never taken the time to stop and visit this beautiful historic town and its rich architecture.  Located in Eastern Ontario at the Tray River flowing through it, Perth is considered to be the “Prettiest Town in Ontario” … “Eastern Ontario’s exciting get-away destination”.  When we finally took the time to actually divert from Hwy. #7 into the downtown area, we were amazed at what was to be found.  The plain buildings and open roads turned into tree lined streets with charming century old homes.  The downtown business area was even more amazing.  Quaint shops housed in historic stone quarried buildings all bring to life the history of the town.  In researching Perth’s past, we found that Perth will turn 200 on April 18th, 2016.  It was April 18th, 1816 when Perth was established as a military settlement with lands obtained from the Algonkians.  Throughout its 200 years, Perth has grown and prospered.  It claims a number of interesting historic fact of events such as Eastern Ontario’s first newspaper (Bathurst Independent Newspaper), producing the World’s Biggest Cheese, Canada’s “last fatal duel”.  Now Perth is known as “The Big Town of Festivals”.  Perth boasts of such festivals as the Festival of Maples, Stewart Park MusicFest, Perth Fair to name a few.  There are also a number of wonderful attractions in Perth including the Conlon Farm (an amazing recreational facility), a busy farmers market, a cheese factory, the Perth Wildlife Reserve, the Perth Museum and much more.  So, if you are driving one day along Hwy. #7 near Perth and are looking for a memorable adventure, take the to find out more about Perth.  You may want to visit their website which is full of interesting facts, and details of things to do and see at. 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (Picton)

 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 thirteenth article is about Picton located along the Loyalist Parkway in Prince Edward County.

PICTON - One of Eastern Ontario’s most scenic drives is taking the Loyalist Parkway from Trenton and following it to the “end-of-the-rainbow” town of Picton.  Picton is one of those towns that you want to visit many times because there is so much to discover.  Picton is located about halfway along the scenic Loyalist Parkway.  To reach it from the west you start at Trenton and drive through the picturesque villages of Carrying Place, Wellington and Bloomfield.  Approaching it from the east, you start at Kingston and then drive along one of the most beautiful stretches of Lake Ontario until you come to the Glenora Ferry.  Here you embark on a free 15-minute ferry ride across the Bay of Quinte. 

Picton “a town proud of its past and excited about its future”.  This is proven by its many historic buildings and quaint shops.  One of the reasons Judi & I love to visit Picton and its surrounding areas is because of all its fun and interesting things to do.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Great Ontario Communities Series (The Kawarthas)

 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 twelfth article is about the Kawarthas and all it has to offer.

THE KAWARTHAS - For the last 25 plus years Judi and I have, at some time or other, worked, lived and played in the Kawarthas!  Our first real venture into the Kawarthas was to visit the Buckhorn Fine Art Festival (then known as the Buckhorn Wildlife Art Festival).  This began a long love affair with the region!  A few years after our first visit, we had the opportunity to move to the area to live and work.  We found and purchased a small waterfront home on Upper Chemong Lake (aka Mud Lake) which is located between Lakefield to the south and Buckhorn to the north.  While we lived there, we had a wonderful time.  Our neighbours were great and we had many good times with them.  We purchased a run-a-bout and began to explore the Kawartha Lakes.  From Upper Chemong Lake we were able to easily travel to various small Kawartha towns and villages.  Buckhorn, Curve Lake Reserve and Bobcaygeon to name a few.  Unfortunately, times and jobs changed and we moved away from the area.  However, our love affair didn’t stop.  We eventually purchased another, larger boat and moored it in a marine on Upper Buckhorn Lake.  During all this time we visited many wonderful restaurants and events, and, or course, we continued to visit the Buckhorn Fine Art Festival.  The number of friends and acquaintances made over the years remain vividly in our memory today.  In recent years we have continued our close relationship with the Kawarthas, visiting many of their numerous festivals and events.  One of our favorite places to visit is the Lang Pioneer Village in Keene.  I have written about the village and its staff many times and look forward to continuing visiting and writing in the years to come!  The Kawarthas, with its lakes, towns and attractions is a wonderful place to live, let alone visit. 

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!