Thursday, June 24, 2021

Looks Can Be Deceiving...

 Did you ever go somewhere or plan to do something and have a pre-conceived notion of how it was going to look or what was going to happen?  I’m sure that this happens to us all at some time or other.  Visiting as many festivals and events as we do, Judi and I are quite often surprised.  Sometimes negatively, but most often in a positive manner!  Some of our “discoveries” are greater than others.  Take the Norwood Fall Fair as an example.  If you have ever been to Norwood, you would know that it is a very small rural community.  I don’t know the exact population, but it's not large.  So, when Judi and I decided to visit the Norwood Fall Fair, my expectations were not that high.  Boy, was I wrong!  This was a fantastic event, large, well organized and definitely worth visiting!  I really should have guessed that it would be a great event, because their website was one of the best I’d seen.  Like the fair itself, it was clean, well organized and informative.  Others events through the years have also impressed and surprised us, but I think the Norwood Fall Fair surprised us the most!  I guess the moral is, don’t pre-judge an event, you may miss something really special!

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  and about Joseph Scriven by going to . 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.