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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Niagara sparkles; Hornblower trips delayed and Ontario Parks' dogs

   One-Tank Trip for March 21/20
   (c) By Jim Fox

  They’re hoping to “add a bit of sparkle to the early days of spring” with a rescheduled “festival of fizz” touring event in Niagara wine country.
   Plans for the first Spring Sparkles Festival were all set to go this weekend – before the coronavirus outbreak reared its ugly head. 
   “The Niagara Grape & Wine Festival has been closely monitoring the evolving progress of the coronavirus COVID-19,” said Dorian Anderson, executive director.
  Enjoying the fizz in Niagara.

   It “remains a low-risk event (according to Health Canada assessment tools),” and organizers decided to postpone it until April 18-19 and April 25-26, she said.
   “We will continue to monitor the situation and consult with Niagara Public Health, Health Canada and other event experts daily, and will inform if further postponement or cancellation is required by April 10.”
   The event is similar to its popular Discovery Pass program and celebrates Ontario VQA sparkling wines in the traditional or charmat method of any varietal or style.
   The latter is a sparkling wine-making process that traps bubbles in wine via carbonation in large steel tanks.
   Discovery Passes (costing $45; designated Driver’s Pass, $35) entitle visitors to eight wine and culinary experiences designed by winemakers and chefs to celebrate the flavours of Niagara, Anderson said.
     They are redeemable at 34 participating wineries across Twenty Valley and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Ontario Parks' events continue during March Break

    One-Tank Trip for March 14/20
   By Jim Fox
   With so many events being cancelled over the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, there are some spring things still on at Ontario Parks during March Break.
   “At the current time, the events are still going on,” Connor Oke, marketing intern at Ontario Parks, said at press time on Friday.
   “March Break is a great chance for families to spend time together in nature,” said Jeff Brown of Ontario Parks.
   The provincial parks are hosting events throughout the week “to take advantage of the last bit of winter,” he added.
It will soon be time to get back on the lakes in Ontario Parks. (Jim Fox photo)
    There’s the Maple Syrup Festival at Bronte Creek Provincial Park in Oakville through the break and weekends this month.
   Staff members dress in historical attire and immerse visitors in the history and culture of maple syrup.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

LEGO fascination reflected at Toronto Discovery Centre; step aside kids, dad wants to play

   One-Tank Trip for March 7/20
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Those little interlocking plastic bricks aren’t just for kids to play with anymore.
   LEGO – the legacy of Ole Kirk Christiansen from his Danish carpentry workshop in 1932 – continues as a world-wide sensation.
   These construction toys and related products and services have spawned a massive presence.
   This includes LEGO the TV show, stores, board and video games, films and even Discovery Centres, including one in Toronto, and theme parks around the world.
Nathan Fox, 9, meets some favourite LEGO characters. (Jeff Fox photo)
     The still-growing popularity of LEGO includes adults and some of the centres have special nights just for them to play without kids and master builder classes.
   Keeping up with the trend is the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Everything's coming up roses and more at Canada Blooms; Disney On Ice puts on a frosty show

   One-Tank Trip for Feb.29/20

   (c) By Jim Fox
    Postmedia Network/Sun Media

   There will be many “green thumbs” filling Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto for a taste of spring at Canada Blooms.
  Canada Blooms Flower of the Year is the Sincerity dahlia.
    The expansive annual garden gala from March 13 to 22 has been “inspiring visitors with its creative floral designs, unique seminars, breathtaking gardens and expert advice” for 24 years, publicist Courtney De Caire said.
    Canada Blooms was founded by Landscape Ontario and the Garden Club of Toronto and transforms the Enercare Centre into a colourful, idyllic space for guests to explore, she added.
   This year, designers and landscapers are taking their creations to “new heights,” working within the theme Birds of a Feather.
   “We thought that it would be fun to let our designers get creative and ‘spread their wings’ with this year’s theme,” said Terry Caddo, Canada Blooms executive director.
Inspiring displays and spring aromas fill Canada Blooms.
    As thousands of people flock to the show, they will experience lush gardens and beautiful floral designs.
   Co-located with the National Home Show, it has the largest feature garden in the show’s history.
   It’s the Bienenstock natural playground, a “full sensory experience” with nature and accessible to everyone.

Monday, February 24, 2020

March Break will be magical with Disney On Ice presenting Worlds of Enchantment in Hamilton, Ontario

News Release
Toy Story fun on ice
 HAMILTON, ON – Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favourite Disney stories when Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment comes to your hometown. This March Break, this one-of-a-kind production visits Hamilton from March 18-22/20 for 10 performances at FirstOntario Centre.

Get ready to enter a dazzling world of Disney magic, live on ice where Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney and Pixar Cars perform high-speed stunts and race across the ice like you’ve never seen before.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Vintage clothing popularity is "deja vu all over again" at Toronto show and Cambridge museum

   One-Tank Trip for Feb.22/20

   (c) By Jim Fox
    Postmedia Network/Sun Media web and newspapers

   It could be called a case of “deja vu all over again” as vintage clothing is the latest rage in fashion.
   Everything is groovy with the most popular attire being jeans from the 1960s, with the Levi 502 selling for $100 and a denim jacket for $90 on eBay.
Sunglasses are a favourite vintage accessory and can be found at the sale.
    Riding this wave of nostalgia is the Toronto Vintage Clothing Sale at the Queen Elizabeth Building, Exhibition Place (180 Princes Blvd.), on March 7 and 8.
   There’s also the Fashion History Museum (74 Queen St. E.) in Cambridge with a collection that spans from the 1660s with 12,000 items.
A TWA stewardess uniform, 1968-1971.

   The Toronto event features clothing from the 1920s to 1980s along with accessories, handbags, jewelry and designer vintage, with “great stuff for guys, too.”
   Show hours are March 7, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and March 8, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
   Admission is $12, cash only, and includes entrance to the Toronto Antique and Vintage Market that runs in conjunction with the show. torontovintageclothingshow.ca
   The market offers “fresh finds” and that “eye-catching antique or vintage element for your house, cottage or condo.
   These include mid-century modern furnishings, farmhouse chic, vintage advertising, groovy vinyl records, retro barware, cottage/lodge furniture, silver accents and fine jewelry.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Get your motor running to auto shows in Toronto and Detroit

   One-Tank Trip for Feb.15/20

   (c) By Jim Fox
    Postmedia Network/Sun Media

   It’s show time as that new car smell permeates auto shows in Toronto and Detroit.
   For big kids and auto aficionados, there’s the “world’s most-exclusive and expensive Bugatti –
La Voiture Noire.
   It makes its debut at the Canadian International AutoShow on now through Feb. 23 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
   For little ones, the show has Disney and Pixar vehicles, along with one of the largest indoor remote-controlled car test tracks.

There’s lots of glitter and glitz in Detroit at the Charity Preview. (Jim Fox)
   Over in Detroit, the wheels are in motion as the North American International Auto Show said goodbye to the dead of winter and launches as an early summer show from June 13 to 20.
   In these times of evolutionary change in the auto industry, Toronto’s show features1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs, concepts, exotics, classics, muscle cars, fully electric and autonomous vehicles.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Celebrate Family Day (2020) with Ontario Parks

(News Release from Ontario Parks)
Family Day weekend Feb. 15 to 17, 2020 activities around the province

Family Day is a great opportunity for outdoor adventures. Provincial parks across Ontario will host events all weekend long to help families make great memories.

  • Algonquin Provincial Park’s Winter in the Wild will feature indoor and outdoor events at various locations along the Highway 60 corridor. Events include guided bird walks, guest speakers, guided snowshoe excursions, skating, winter camping demos, marshmallow roasting, and a special evening program.
  • The Visitor Centre at Rondeau Provincial Park will be open from Saturday to Monday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. On Saturday, visitors can meet local artists, experience traditional dancing and storytelling, enjoy a light lunch and treats, and roast marshmallows around a campfire.

A full list of events from February 15-17 is available on the Ontario Parks website.

Romantic Valentine’s Day getaways still available

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Three Princess Cruises' Love Boats host renewal of vows at sea

Full feature is on our companion site, Out to Sea


Three Princess Cruises' Love Boats host renewal of vows at sea for Valentine's, Guiness World Record bid 

 Out to Sea for Feb. 8/20

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox
   Postmedia Network/Sun Media newspapers and websites
   For those hopelessly romantic, the cruise line famous for the “love boats” has just the thing this Valentine’s.
   There will be a mass renewal of vows in ceremonies taking place simultaneously on the top deck of three Princess cruise ships.
   They’ll try to set a Guinness World Record for the largest multi-location vow renewal.
Vow renewals will take place for Valentine’s on three Princess ships.
    “The overall goal to break the record on all three ships is 1,202 or more,” said publicist Gabby McNamara.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Think outside the box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day

Make a real connection with your partner with these unique date night ideas

(News Release)

Valentine's Day is a time for couples who are looking for a little something different for the big day.

“For those who want to focus on the connection with their partner, Naan & Kabob has put together a list of great options for Torontonians to check out this year,” said publicist Kaley Steward of Enterprise Canada.

TORONTO, ON (February 2020) - Whether it’s the first date or the 50th, couples are always on the hunt for something different to try on date night — especially on the most romantic day of the year.

Date night should be more than grabbing a drink or watching the latest movie. While those are great options – especially during our cold winters in Ontario –an afternoon or night out where you’re really able to connect with your date is a must, whether it’s with a long-term squeeze or a new partner.

“Making time to spend with your partner is so important for a happy, healthy relationship,” says Fahim Ahmadi, Director of Operations for Naan & Kabob. “Exploring new locations or attractions is a great way to spend some quality time together while discovering hidden gems throughout the city!”

Come out and play at the 2020 Canadian International AutoShow

(News Release)

TORONTO, Ont. — The Canadian International AutoShow is always a family affair.

Besides the multitude of family vehicles found across the show floors in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, recent years have seen special exhibits and presentations geared specifically towards families with young children.

This year, the young ones can see some of their favourite Disney and Pixar vehicles in person, along with one of the largest indoor remote-controlled car demonstration test tracks and one of Canada’s leading toy retailers.

“Families are a vitally important segment for the automotive industry, and the AutoShow takes pride in creating a show that caters to car enthusiasts of all ages,” says Jason Campbell, General Manager of the AutoShow. “We have had great response to our family features in recent years, and this year’s program will be sure to delight the little ones.”

The best winter activities are a short drive from the Greater Toronto Area

Explore Elora’s cool winter activities

People who want to shake off cabin fever as Ontario’s deep freeze hits its mid-season stride can embrace some one-of-a-kind winter experiences just a short drive from the Greater Toronto Area in picturesque Elora.

“The historic village perched on a scenic gorge overlooking the Grand River offers a variety of activities and attractions that help visitors celebrate all that’s fun and exciting about Canada in winter,” said publicist Stephen Murdoch.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Ice climbing in the Elora Gorge
Adventurous types looking to get outdoors and make the most of the season before the warmer weather arrives can scale a wall of sheer ice on the face of the famous Elora Gorge. The 20-metre high, man-made ice wall is open to experienced climbers and beginners, who can learn the ropes of ice climbing from experts with tour operator One Axe Pursuits. One Axe staff provide lessons on the basics of ice climbing – including how to use axes and crampons to dig into the ice for traction – before climbers tackle the ice wall. The length of the season depends on the weather, but it typically last at least until the end of March.