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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Homes for the holidays showing off seasonal finery to visitors

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 14/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Get inspired with seasonal decorating ideas at “holiday house tours” that have become a popular tradition across southern Ontario.
   Homeowners, decorators and volunteers are putting on the glitz by decking their halls for the season and inviting visitors to come have a look.
   Among the upcoming places to join the fun are Niagara-on-the-Lake, Amherstburg, Collingwood, Mississauga, Creemore, Leaside (Toronto), Newmarket, Aurora and Stouffville.
Locust Grove, an 1820 Georgian Colonial property, is featured in the Holiday House Tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
   Often referred to as the “prettiest town in Ontario,” Niagara-on-the-Lake is steeped in history and heritage homes.
   The community’s Rotary Club is hosting its 17th annual house tour Dec. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring interesting properties and a couple of wineries.
   Historic and contemporary properties have been decorated by professional designers and volunteers “in keeping with the holiday season,” said Martin Quick, Rotary president.

   These include Locust Grove, built in 1820 in Georgian Colonial style, that’s said to be the oldest estate in Ontario and is now a bed and breakfast.
   Of similar style is the Fahlman House built in 2001, while also open for tours is the Coyne House in Garrison Village; Berti House that’s a blend of old and new; Retzik House in the arts-and-crafts’ style; and Burke House in the centre of historic old town Niagara-on-the-Lake.
   McFarland House, an historic Georgian manor, was used by British and American forces as a hospital in the War of 1812. It is owned now by the Niagara Parks Commission and portrays early 19th-century life in Upper Canada.
   The RiverBrink Art Museum in Queenston includes paintings by many of Canada’s most significant artists, including Tom Thomson, Homer Watson, Cornelius Krieghoff, Emily Carr and members of the Group of Seven.
A stocking is hung with care at one of the house tours hosted by Bleu Venue Events.
   Lunch is available at the 1804-era St. Mark’s, the oldest Anglican Church in continuous use in Ontario, as well as a lunch buffet at tour headquarters, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club.
   There’s hot apple cider and a gift shop at the Niagara Historical Museum, built in 1907, while Artful Treasures, a show and sale of holiday gifts by Niagara artists and artisans, is at the Niagara Pumphouse Visual Art Centre, circa 1891.
   Complimentary tastings are being poured at Peller Estates Winery, Trius Winery and Wine Country Vintners.
   Tour tickets good for both days are $25. niagaraonthelakerotary.ca; (905) 351-3807

   Decking the halls
   - Amherstburg’s Holiday House Tour on Nov. 28 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and Nov. 29 (1 p.m. to 6 p.m.) is part of the River Lights Winter Festival.
This huge house on Crystal Bay Drive is featured in Amherstburg’s Holiday House Tour.

    There are seven “beautifully and professionally decorated homes and sites,” organizers said.
   With a wide assortment of decorative styles, some are “very modern, some whimsical and some very richly historic.”
   The $20 tour ticket, good for both days, includes free trolley service from the Gingerbread Warming House at Toddy Jones Park, tea and cookies, wine tasting and a craft sale at the Freedom Museum. http://www.riverlights.ca; (519) 736-4642
   - Bleu Venue Events is hosting house tours in Collingwood, Mississauga, Creemore and Leaside (Toronto) to raise money for local charities.
   The Collingwood/Blue Mountains’ tour is today (Nov. 14) and features “seven outstanding homes in the Southern Georgian Bay Area.
   Mississauga’s  tour is Nov. 21 with six houses that are “beautiful and uniquely decorated” and range in size and style.
A tastefully decorated home on view during the Bleu Venue Events house tour.
    There are also six houses to tour in Creemore and in Leaside, both on Nov. 28, that have been decorated for the holiday season by local designers and decorators.
   The tours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with tickets costing $30 and include holiday seminars, a marketplace and silent auction. bleuvenue.com; (705) 888-2860
   - Pickering College’s self-directed Holiday Home Tour on Nov. 20 and 21 features six “festively decorated homes” in Newmarket, Aurora and Stouffville.
   Each house is decorated in “holiday splendor” with a special theme chosen by York Region designers, decorators and florists.
   There is also a Seasonal Boutique and Cafe on Nov. 21 at the college with more than 40 vendors and lunch is available.
   Tour tickets are $40. pickeringcollege.on.ca; (905-895-1700


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

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