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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fall colour progression at its peak across Ontario

   One-Tank Trip for Oct. 21/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The vibrant reds and oranges of maple trees are “really popping” now across Ontario as the fall burst of colour reaches its peak.
   Don’t miss the show while taking one-tank trips to pumpkin patches, apple orchards, fall fairs and festivals because it might not last long.
   Ontario Tourism reports the colour change has passed 50 per cent while most areas are reporting leaves falling before they hit their peak colour.
Vibrant colours dot the countryside across Ontario with the fall leaf spectacle. (Barbara Fox photo)
   “Ontario is the premier destination to enjoy the annual spectacle of summer’s lush greenery
transformed into a mosaic of magnificent rich shades of red, orange and yellow,” says the province’s Fall Colour Progression Report.
   Northern regions and centrally in Algonquin Park have a colour change from 60 per cent to 90 per cent now, with the numbers less in the south.

   Falling for fall

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cottage Life: "Are we there yet?" Big fall show tells all

    One-Tank Trip for Oct. 14/17
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Cottage living isn’t just a warm-weather pursuit any longer.
   Those lakeside retreats known as cottages, cabins and vacation homes are increasingly becoming year-round abodes.
   Many have been outfitted with all the comforts of home, including central heating and air-conditioning, for all-year living and as retirement properties.
Cottage retreats are increasingly for all-season use. (Jim Fox photos)
   A survey of 1,100 owners by Cottage Life and the Ontario Real Estate Association found 64 per cent of cottages were used year-round with plans for many more to be converted.
   With that in mind, a popular show for cottage doers and dreamers is a hit not just in the spring but this month, too.
   Returning is the Fall Cottage Life Show from Oct. 20 to 22 at the International Centre (6900 Airport Road) in Mississauga.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pumpkins, cranberries and gourds galore highlight fall festivals

    One-Tank Trip for Oct. 7/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Big orange pumpkins and little red acidic cranberries complement Thanksgiving Day meals and star on their own in festivals at this time of year.
Visitors to the Bala Cranberry Festival can watch berries being harvested at an area marsh.
   Stratford Tourism has expanded its Savour Stratford Pumpkin Trail to include 21 stops in the Festival City and five in St. Marys.
   “The flavour of pumpkin is synonymous with autumn and for many, this is the most anticipated trail,” said Cathy Rehberg of Stratford Tourism.
   Now in its third year, there are 26 offers presented by culinary artisans and shopkeepers on this self-guided trail with participants selecting any six.
   These range from savoury offers of Thai pumpkin curry soup and fries in a spicy pumpkin dip to decadent pumpkin cupcakes, creamy pumpkin fudge and pumpkin pie spice brittle made by local artisans, Rehberg said.
Junction 56 Distillery offers its Pumpkin Spice Liqueur along the Savour Stratford Pumpkin Trail.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Custom Kool Haus brew for this year’s Oktoberfest in Kitchener (2017)

(News Release)

 KITCHENER, Ont. — The grandest Bavarian festival outside of Munich deserves a special brew to call its own.

Bingemans and Waterloo Brewing are proud to present a custom Munich-style beer brewed especially for Kool Haus and the 2017 festing season.

Waterloo Festbier is crafted in the traditional Bavarian Marzenbier style with a rich toastiness and dark copper colour that will knock your knee-high socks off.

“We’re gearing up for the greatest, most versatile Oktoberfest Kool Haus yet,” says Mark Bingeman, President of Bingemans.

“Along with the Waterloo Festbier, patrons will also get a taste of Hacker-Pschorr and Paulaner, two authentic German brews produced by Waterloo Brewing.”
Beer and Oktoberfest is "wunderbar" Jim Fox photo
Beer lovers can get a special preview of the Waterloo Festbier at Boston Pizza/Kingpin Bowlounge and Taste at the Tannery.

Tasty carnival food sensations to bite into at the Norfolk County Fair

    One-Tank Trip for Sept. 30/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Hurry, hurry, step right up and get your carnival food.
   Country fairs are the rage for big veggie contests, horse and animal shows, midways, demolition derbies, music and as purveyors of quintessential carny food.

   There’s all the deep-fried, unusual food-on-a-stick creations you won’t find anywhere else.
   This open-air dining akin to the popularity of food trucks now takes the cake – so to speak – and no one does it better than the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show in Simcoe (172 South Drive), south of Brantford.
   The fair, which runs from Oct. 3 to 9, is a “culinary carnival,” says Noah Cappe, host of the TV show Carnival Eats.

   He knows his deep fried, roasted, broasted and toasted discoveries as his Food Network Canada show did an episode featuring the Norfolk fair.
   Cappe raved about the Thanksgiving Bowl that he called a “cornucopia of flavours with fresh fall veggies, succulent turkey and cranberry cornbread.”
   Digging into some fusion fare with Indo-Canadian inspired butter bacon poutine and a cheeseburger eggroll, he washed it down with ale and apple fritters.
  Scott Dennis of CoCo Concessions offers deep fried chicken feet on a stick at the fair in Simcoe.
   As Ontario’s oldest agricultural fair, Norfolk has been doing it right for the past 177 years, keeping up with the evolution of taste treats.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The 10th annual Horse Country Stable Tour takes place in Headwaters

(News Release)

The 10th annual  Headwaters Horse Country Stable Tour, takes place on Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st, and will see equine facilities from Caledon, Dufferin, Erin and King open their doors to the public.
This annual event allows visitors and residents and opportunity to experience the gamut of equine activity with a rare "behind the scenes" perspective.
The tour is self-guided and admission is free (some locations may offer items for sale).
Please see below for details. Locations and hours vary by date and are subject to change. Visit  HeadwatersStableTour for the latest maps and information.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

String Bone Presents! Third season kicks-off with panache in Stratford


JUNO Award nominees Jeremy Fisher & NQ Arbuckle team up for double bill solo performances October 6th at Stratford’s Revival House
Stratford, ON (September 26, 2017) – String Bone Presents! a fantastic double bill concert October 6, 2017, featuring JUNO Award nominees Jeremy Fisher and NQ Arbuckle (Neville Quinlan). The spotlight will shine on each musician during solo sets in the intimate confines of Stratford’s Revival House. The concert starts at 8:00 pm.

Canadian singer-songwriter Jeremy Fisher has been regaling audiences with his folk-influenced music and powerful solo performances ever since he came on the music scene in 2001. The Hamilton-born musician has a flair for killer lines and lyrics, along with a wicked sense of humour.

Somewhat of a chameleon, Jeremy Fisher’s sound has evolved over the years, from “honest and heartfelt” lounge ballads to incorporating touchstones of popular culture into his songs. Although the palette is different, the songs are as thoughtful and interesting as ever, and he plays songs from his entire catalogue whenever he performs live. He has toured the world, as well as North America, opening for The Proclaimers; shared the stage with Sarah Slean; recorded with Hawksley Workman; and traded-off lines with Serena Rider. His last two shows in Stratford sold out.

A Different Booklist Cultural Centre joins the Bloor St. Culture Corridor in Toronto

(News Release)
The Bloor St. Culture Corridor, Toronto's most diverse arts and culture district, is delighted to announce that A Different Booklist Cultural Centre: The People's Residence is now part of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor. 
The Bloor St. Culture Corridor offers the public a wide variety of arts and culture: museums, film screenings, art exhibitions, music concerts, culture talks, theatre, architecture, and more. It also offers opportunities to experience some of Toronto's most accessible cultural diversity, including Aboriginal, French, Jewish, Italian, Japanese, Estonian, and now African and Caribbean arts and culture.
The Bloor St. Culture Corridor is a true creative cluster, an arts and culture destination, and a collaboration between some of Toronto's most dynamic arts and culture organizations.

Let Culture Days guide you across Ontario from Sept. 29-Oct.1 (2017)

Hundreds of Culture Days activities and events are scheduled to take place in communities wide across the Province of Ontario 
Toronto, ON, September 20, 2017 – With an exceptional number of FREE activities and events scheduled to take place in hundreds of communities across Ontario – what better reason could there be for heading out on a road trip?
The annual Culture Days weekend, from September 29th-October 1st, provides an excellent opportunity to explore so much of what Ontario has to offer culturally. Whether you choose to investigate what is happening in your own local city or town or hop in a car, catch a bus or train to explore the natural beauty of the landscapes while investigating the cultural offerings of each region, Culture Days can be a great resource to help plan your travels.
Sioned Watkins and the Kingston Symphony. Gyrokinesis workshop, Isabel Bader 
Centre of Performing Arts, Kingston. Photo credit: Agilo Arts.
You’ve never been to Napanee but have heard about the gorgeous scenery? Do you have family in Kingston that is long overdue for a visit?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tapping into Oktoberfest fun in Kitchener-Waterloo and area

   One-Tank Trip for Sept. 23/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is certainly “wunderbar.”
   They’re about to roll out the barrels (of beer) for Canada’s great Bavarian festival from Oct. 6 to 14, the biggest outside of Munich, Germany.
Prime Minster Justin Trudeau taps the first keg of beer to launch last year’s Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. (Sylvia Pond Photography from K-W Oktoberfest)
   Everyone is willkommen (welcome) and a visitor’s guide to this annual beer bash (not forgetting the cultural activities, too) should list Ein Prosit as its anthem.
   The rallying call for this Bavarian drinking song anthem is usually preceded by the unusual but familiar chant of “zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi.”
   Loosely translated, it means “down the hatch,” as revellers chug their beer and finish it off with a round of polkas before roaring into another rousing chorus.
Ein Prosit! (Writer Jim Fox) Photo by Barbara Fox
   As well, leading the revellers in the chicken dance oom-pah song (doing the polka while imitating chickens) is Onkel Hans, a huge orange-costumed mascot wearing a Prosit hat.
   Among the 700,000 annual celebrants for last year bash was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
   He tapped the keg to open the 48th annual event and was joined by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, local and regional politicians and event dignitaries including Miss Oktoberfest.
Bottoms up at K-W Oktoberfest. (Jim Fox photo)
   “During this nine-day celebration, you will have a chance to experience the rich German heritage of our founders in our increasingly vibrant, energetic city (originally called Berlin),” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.

   Festhall party central
   Join the fun at 13 German-Canadian clubs, called festhallen, featuring music, food and culture that are at the heart of this festival.
   Expect to see men in lederhosen (leather shorts), suspenders and felt hats adorned with pins and huge feathers while women are smartly dressed in dirndls – dresses with flowing skirts.
   Along with pilsners to wash down traditional German cuisine, there’s some culture, too, with more than 40 family and cultural events.
Dancers show their stuff at a festhall. (K-W Oktoberfest photo)
   “Children can experience Cook like Oma as they learn to prepare and bake their own pretzels,” said Margo Jones, Oktoberfest president.
   “Have your picture taken with Miss Oktoberfest, Onkel Hans, Tante Frieda and the Steiner brothers, Ziggy unt Zaggy.

   Tasty treats
   “Tempt your taste buds with various Bavarian culinary specialities throughout the festhallen including apple strudel, sauerkraut, schnitzel, rollbraten and, of course, Oktoberfest sausage,” she added.
   In the spirit of Gemutlichkeit (good times), on Oct. 6 at 11 a.m., outside Kitchener City Hall will be pomp and ceremony, music and dancing, and the enthusiasm of thousands of revellers eager to kick-off the 2017 fest.
Oktoberfest mascot Onkel Hans revs up the crowd at the Thanksgiving Day Parade (K-W Oktoberfest photo).
   The Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade on Oct. 9, starting at 8:30 a.m., will feature 120 floats, bands and costumed characters making their way from Weber and Frederick streets in Kitchener.
   About 150,000 people line a five-kilometre route through the Twin Cities for the parade.
   Popular events on closing day, Oct. 14, are a beer barrel race, food truck feast and a car show.
   The origins of Oktoberfest celebrations began with festivities to celebrate a wedding in Bavaria 207 year ago of King Ludwig and Therese von Sachsen-Hildenburghausen.
   Miss Oktoberfest contestants are ready to party in their dirndls. (K-W Oktoberfest photo)
   In 1969, the founding fathers of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest recreated this Bavarian tradition and now about $1.5 million is raised annually to assist not-for-profit organizations.
   For more information, go to: oktoberfest.ca or call 1-888-294-HANS

   Bottoms up
   Bingemans is offering a custom Munich-style beer brewed especially for it Kool Haus festhall.
   Created by Waterloo Brewing, Waterloo Festbier is crafted in the traditional Bavarian Marzenbier style with a rich toastiness and dark copper colour “that will knock your knee-high socks off,” said president Mark Bingeman.
   Also available are the tastes of Hacker-Pschorr and Paulaner, two authentic German brews produced by Waterloo Brewing. bingemans.com


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

Monday, September 18, 2017

Let the fall colour show begin

   One-Tank Trip for Sept. 16/17
   (c) By Jim Fox

   The hills are about to come alive with a kaleidoscope of autumn colors and they’re going to be spectacular.
   While many people lament a summer that wasn’t exactly to their liking, the fall foliage show will be “glorious,” says Dave Phillips, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist.
   “I think it’s going to be the most spectacular, colour-change season in history,” he added, noting the trees have enjoyed the wet and not-so-hot summer.
   In anticipation of the season, Ontario Parks and Ontario Tourism have launched their fall colour reports, predicting great things to come soon.
The hills are about to turn vibrant at Bass Lake Provincial Park near Orillia. (Jim Fox photo)
   “Ontario is the premier destination for those wishing to see summer’s lush greenery transformed into a mosaic of magnificent rich shades of red, orange and yellow,” says Kevin Forget of the Ontario Travel Information Centre in Barrie.
   The first of the weekly “Fall Colour Progression Reports,” running online until mid-October, is designed to “enrich” your day-tripping experiences.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Doors Open: I hear you knockin' and you can come in!

   One-Tank Trip for Sept. 2/17

   By Jim Fox

   Knock, knock who’s there?
   It’s just us getting a peak at Ontario cultural treasures that are often closed to the public.
   Doors Open, a program of the Ontario Heritage Trust, swings into its final month for this season that highlights cultural and heritage spots across the province.
   Things kick off this month on Sept. 9 and 10 in Kawartha Lakes highlighting “150 years of cultural and religious diversity.”
   They wind up on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 as Halton invites visitors to “share its rich heritage, cultural diversity and stunning natural beauty.”
Doors Open visitors can climb to the top of Port Burwell’s historic lighthouse.
   This free event started 15 years ago and has counted about seven-million visits to “thousands of unique buildings and spaces.”
   Here’s a look at some of the special things to see and do with variable hours, often 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

   Shine your light
   Climb to the top of Port Burwell’s historical lighthouse for a view of Lake Erie, the harbour and surrounding village.
   During Doors Open East Elgin on Sept. 16 Aylmer and Bayham have also partnered to offer  sites.
   The 1840’s wooden lighthouse, restored in 1986, played a vital role in guiding Lake Erie ships to safety.
Aficionados can find historic items from three centuries at the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge.
   The marine museum has collections of historical and marine artifacts, period photographs, lighthouse lenses and a model of the railway car ferry Ashtabula.
   Also in Port Burwell is the 181-year-old Trinity Anglican Church, constructed entirely of wood with original stained-glass windows and bell.
   Waterloo Region goes all out on Sept. 16 highlighting “Identity + Innovation” with 50 participating sites “selected for their architecture, heritage or the interesting things going on inside.”
   This includes the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a think-tank on global issues, at the historic Seagram Distillery site.
A picture-perfect spot is the Otterville Mill built in 1845 on the Otter River.
   The Detweiler Meetinghouse in Roseville is Ontario’s only surviving stone Mennonite building of its kind with an 1855 appearance, Georgian hand-blown windows and original pine floors.
   The Fashion History Museum in Cambridge is where the Hespeler Post Office operated from 1929 and has 12,000 items from the past 300 years.

   Would you believe?
   London’s Doors Open, Sept. 16 and 17, is called “Unconventional. Unbelievable. Unforgettable.
   With 40 locations, sites include the Banting House National Historic Site, HMCS Prevost and the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory on the Saturday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., with stargazing starting at 7 p.m.
   Doors Open Oxford-Norwich, Sept. 23, invites visitors to discover its Quaker history, early Black settlement and agricultural heritage.
   Locations include the 1856 African Methodist Episcopal Church site and Cemetery in Otterville where early settlers were escaped slaves and free immigrants.
   The picturesque Otterville Mill was built in 1845 and is run by water power supplied by a dam on the Otter River.
   There’s also Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese and Ross Butler Agricultural Art Gallery, both at RR 4, Woodstock, the Norwich District Museum and the 1875-era Norwich United Church.
   St. Marys, known as “Stonetown,” invites visitors on Sept. 30 to see the town “filled with architecture featuring locally quarried limestone.”
   One such building is the St. Marys Town Hall built in 1892 of the local stone “with contrasting sandstone accents.”
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Marys can be toured during Doors Open. (Jim Fox photo)
   Visitors can tour the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in its 1860s limestone building on a picturesque site overlooking the locally famous quarry swimming hole.
   Built of stone in 1867 is the Westover Inn, known as a “charming Victorian mansion,” that was a Roman Catholic seminary in the 1930s.
   Other Doors Open events are in Belleville and Quinte West, Sept. 16; Carleton Place, Minden Hills and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Sept. 16-17; Grimsby, King Township, Mississauga and Wellington North, on Sept 23.
   The season winds up with Brampton, Burlington, Markham, Orillia, Oshawa, Timmins, all on Sept. 30, and Halton Region, Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
   For more details: doorsopenontario.on.ca


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca