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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

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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

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

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Out for a spin along the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail



   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 26/17


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Happy trails to you!
   It started in 1995 as a trail spanning 275 kilometres along Lake Ontario between Hamilton and Trenton.
   Today, the multi-use Great Lakes Waterfront Trail stretches 2,100 kilometres and continues to grow to the delight of bikers and hikers.
   What’s more, it has just been recognized as a “Trail of Distinction” by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Enjoying a trail ride are writer Jim Fox, Jenna Hunter and Natasha Ilic. (Barbara Fox photo)
    An expansion last year connected Lambton County and Kettle and Stony Point First Nation to the trail.
   This year it added 380 kilometres along the Lake Huron North Channel between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, so the trail now meets Lake Superior.
   Next year, another 650 kilometres will be added by expanding into Manitoulin Island, Huron,
Bruce and Grey counties.
   This will close the gap between the North Channel and Southern Ontario and result in a continuous signed route from Sault Ste. Marie to the Quebec Border.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A howling good time to be had at Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary's festival

   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 19/17

   (c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media newspapers/websites 

   (c) By Jim Fox

   People from around the world consider Canada a safe haven.
   Dogs and horses, too, are finding it to be a sanctuary for many that have suffered abuse or neglect.
   It’s truly been a “dog’s life” for the 100 or so dogs now fortunate enough to be at Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary in King City awaiting their “forever homes.”
   This world-renowned dog rescue and horse sanctuary has matched hundreds and hundreds of canines with devoted families in its three years in business.
Maggie, a Neapolitan mastiff, relaxes on a divan in her lavish kennel at Dog Tales. (Jim Fox photo)
   For day-trippers, it’s a perfect Sunday drive in the scenic countryside to visit the critters and enjoy the lush sanctuary grounds in the rolling green hills of “horse country,” north of Toronto.
   It’s only open to visitors on Sundays but holds a special annual event – the Dog Tales Festival on Aug. 26 and 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
   In true Dog Tales’ fashion, the festival will be heavily decorated and filled with surprises, treating guests to a festival experience like no other, so be sure to bring your camera,” organizers say.
   Visitors are encouraged to bring their dogs as “friends and families of all ages celebrate rescue animals with a fun weekend.”
Dog Tales and Horse Haven are located on 20 hectares of lush rolling hills north of Toronto. (Vivian Fox photo)
   This is “no ordinary festival,” just as Dog Tales is no ordinary animal shelter.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tim Hicks coming to the Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show

(News Release)
August 8, 2017 Simcoe, Ontario - the Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show, is thrilled to announce the second concert performance at the Grandstand for this year’s fair.

On Friday, October 6thth at 8:00 pm, CCMA Nominated Male Artist of the Year, Canadian Country superstar Tim Hicks will take the stage.

Hot off headlining his “Shake These Walls Tour,” Hicks has continued to do what he does best: connect with audiences from coast to coast and beyond.

With a resume of a veteran that includes   seven Top 10 singles on Canadian country radio, #1 country album for 5:01, multiple CCMA and SOCAN wins and JUNO nods he has earned coveted spots on prestigious festival stages nationwide.  His 2017 Shake These Walls tour charted a path that is completely new and shoots straight for the country music stratosphere.

Indigenous Life Festival at Blue Mountain Village

(News Release)
From Friday, August 18th to Sunday, August 20th, enjoy three days of free events, entertainment and activities celebrating the history, science and culture of First Peoples of Canada in a brand new festival at Blue Mountain Village. From live music and comedy, to Native films and traditional games and ceremonies, there’s a lot to see, a lot to do, and a lot to learn at this one-of-a-kind event. View Schedule >>
 

Steely Dan to perform at Casino Rama Resort

RAMA, ON (Monday, August 14th, 2017) – As one of Ontario’s premier entertainment destinations, Casino Rama Resort has earned a reputation for presenting year-round world-class concerts and events in our award-winning Entertainment Centre.  We are thrilled to add this much anticipated performance to our previously announced fall 2017 concert line-up:

Steely Dan
Thursday, October 19
SHOWTIME: 8 PM, DOORS OPEN: 7 PM
Tickets are $85/$95/$120
“Do It Again”, “Reelin’ In the Years” & “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number”.

Fans are invited to visit the Casino Rama Resort Facebook page to gain access to an exclusive pre-sale code.

Exclusive advanced ticket purchase for Facebook Fans & Players Passport™ Club Members begins on Thursday, August 17th at 12 noon on www.ticketmaster.ca or by calling toll free 1-877-599-RAMA (7262). A special code is required for the advance purchase period which can be found on the Casino Rama Resort Facebook page.

Tickets go on-sale to the general public on Saturday, August 12th at 12 noon and will be available in-person at the Casino Rama Resort Box Office, at all TicketMaster locations, by calling toll free 1-877-599-RAMA (7262) and online at www.casinorama.com. Ticket prices are inclusive of taxes and exclude any applicable service fees.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Stargazers showered with meteor shows at Ontario Parks; Are we wet yet on Niagara Whirlpool boats?



   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 12/17

(c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media newspapers/websites

   (c) By Jim Fox

   There’s plenty of summer left, so get out and enjoy it.
   Watch the Perseid meteor shower shows at Ontario Parks where admission is free next Wednesday (Aug. 16).
   Camper families love stargazing especially from mid-July to late August during the shower period.
   Peak time is this weekend and if the skies are clear, you can see up to 50 to 100 meteors an hour.
   There will also be a solar eclipse on Aug. 21 starting at 1:08 p.m. when the moon begins moving in front of the sun and continues to 3:48 p.m.
Watching meteor showers is a popular summertime adventure at Ontario Parks.
   Star parties are held in the parks every summer, especially in Northern Ontario where there’s less light pollution.
   Killarney Provincial Park on Georgian Bay invites visitors to “come out to learn and look at the night sky through our telescope.”
   Guest astronomer Bill Gardner will be there on August 15, 22 and 29 at 9:30 p.m. while this weekend has astronomers-in-residence Bill and Vicki Sherwood.

Monday, August 7, 2017

"Och aye the noo" for the Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games

(c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media newspapers/websites
 

   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 5/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Attention lads and lassies, “och aye the noo,” which in overt Scotticism translates to “Oh yes, just now.”
   We’re speaking about the Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games that will pipe its way into town from Aug. 11 to 13.
   In its 72nd year, it’s the oldest three-day Scottish Festival in North America and attracts some 30,000 visitors.
   In celebration of local Scottish heritage and culture – and this year Canada 150, too – there’s something for everyone, a Scot or not (nae), said Lee Puddephatt, marketing co-chair.
   Bring the clan for Celtic music, crafts for the kids and heavy events (including tossing cabers the size of telephone poles) huge stones and tugs-of-war.
A competitor gets ready to launch a caber in the Highland Games heavy events.
   There are bagpipes, drums, bands, Highland dancing, storytelling, singing, genealogy and heritage, beer tents, artisans, authors and vendors galore.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Shiver me timbers, the pirates are invading Guelph


   (c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media Newspapers/Websites

    One-Tank Trip for July 29/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Arrr, the pirates are planning to invade Guelph as their latest target for fun and frivolity.
   Shiver me timbers, the pirates have sailed back to Marden Park and renamed it Dry Bluffs for the Civic Holiday weekend, Aug. 5 to 7 daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
   There’s something for everyone at the 11th annual Pirate Festival, from powder monkeys in training to old salty dogs and from gentlefolk to the scurviest bilge rats.
Kids can learn to sword fight with a pirate at the Guelph event.
   The area will be populated with a cast of colourful characters – a mixture of pirates and villagers that is sure to entertain.
   Landlubbers needn’t worry and can head out with the kids to have their picture taken with the motley crew and hop aboard an inflatable bouncy pirate ship.
   Antonio DeCoppi of Keelhaul Productions says come be a pirate for a day and “get caught up in the adventures of our colourful cast as they work around the scheming minds of those that would imprison them.”

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Get your motor running to Detroit and area's classy chassis vintage auto shows



   (c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media Newspapers/Websites

    One-Tank Trip for July 22/17

   (AUTOS)

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Pull over Corvettes, classic 1955-1957 Chevys, Mustangs and others to make way for the stars of the show in Ypsilanti, Mich.
   Long-overlooked DeSotos, Franklins, Hudsons, Parkards, Plymouths, Studebakers and Willys get some respect at the “Orphan Car Show” on Sept. 17.
   “Orphan brands do not die – they live on with this annual reunion of vehicles,” organizers say in this community 30 minutes west of Detroit, the “Motor City.”
An antique vehicle is seen reflected in a hubcap at the Concours d’Elegance in Plymouth, Mich. (Barbara Fox photo)
   In what has been called one of the best car shows in America, this gathering at Riverside Park will feature the “orphans” of Ford- Mercury, Edsel and the Continental Mark II.
   As an auto aficionado, I enjoy attending the big shows in Detroit and environs but was unaware until now of the “orphan” show.
   These really big events include the annual North American International Auto Show in January, Concours d’Elegance this month, Woodward Dream Cruise in August and the Old Car Festival in September.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Stephen Leacock feted at his Orillia estate; Hamilton celebrates Canada 150



     (c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media Newspapers/Websites

    One-Tank Trip for July 15/17

   By Jim Fox

   Canada’s beloved humorist and author Stephen Leacock would be pleased to know the annual celebration of his life includes a “Feast of Thrones.”
  In fact, it will include “cosplay, food, drink and feats of strength” at his lakeside retreat on Old Brewery Bay in Orillia.
   For the unknowing, cosplay is a “contraction of the words costume play and is a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character (thanks Wikipedia).”
The Leacock Summer Festival is on the property where the author wrote Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town 105 years ago. (Photo by Jim Fox)
   Along with medieval activities and entertainment, it takes place on July 22 at 4 p.m. as part of the Leacock Summer Festival, July 20 to 23, at the Leacock House (Museum) at 50 Museum Drive.
   This is where the world-renowned author and celebrated academic spent his most creative time in what he coined as Lake Simcoe Country.
     He built the house in 1928 on the scenic bay by the “Narrows,” where Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching meet.
   The building, designed by Wright & Noxon of Toronto, reflected Leacock’s success and prestige and is now an historic site.
   The festival includes readings, book signings, dinners and exhibits, starting on July 20 with a Mariposa Exposed book celebration including a “Canadian-themed” barbecue from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
   Mariposa was the name Leacock used when writing Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town about the people and comings and goings in what was said to be Orillia at the time.
An early photo shows a relaxed Stephen Leacock. (Leacock Museum)
   Leacock’s tales came from his lakeside retreat with most of the engaging cast of characters based on local townspeople (names changed to protect the guilty).
   Editors Dennis Rizzo and Ross Greenwood have completed the first volume of Mariposa Exposed and contributing authors and writers will tell the tales.
   On July 21, the history of the Mariposa Folk Festival is featured with Mike Hill and musical guests at 1 p.m.
   Later that day is a humour showcase and dinner with Leacock Medal for Humour winner Terry Fallis showcasing his latest novel, One Brother Shy.
   Also featured are shortlisted 2017 medal finalists Drew Hayden Taylor and Amy Jones at 5 p.m.
   A Writer’s Workshop and lunch with Janet Matthews is on July 22 starting at 10 a.m. followed by the Feast of Thrones that afternoon.
   It winds up with the Annual K. Valerie Connor Poetry Celebration with dinner on July 23 at 4 p.m.
This is the recreated writing studio/boathouse on Old Brewery Bay where Stephen Leacock got inspiration for his many books. (Jim Fox photo)
   Also on the spacious and manicured property is the Leacock Cafe, operated by Cornucopia Catering, called “Orillia’s Favourite Lakeside Restaurant.”
   During Canada’s sesquicentennial, admission to this National Historic Site is by donation with a “suggested minimum” of $5. For more information and tickets: leacockmuseum.com; (705) 329-1908

   Hamilton’s Signature Events
   Hamilton is among the cities across the country celebrating Canada’s 150th year as a nation with a series of “Signature Events.”
   The latest is a quilt Peace by Piece: Stitching Together Canadian Stories and continues until Aug. 16 at the Cotton Factory (270 Sherman Ave. N.), Hamilton’s creative arts centre.
The Quilt of Belonging is a Canada 150 “Signature Event” in Hamilton.
   This textile art project is comprised of 263 blocks, each created to recognize Canada’s diversity, said Brenda Branch of Hamilton Tourism and Culture.
   “It celebrates our common humanity and promotes compassion among people,” she added.
   Museums, artists, crafts people and musicians from across Hamilton Halton Brant are offering workshops, talks, concerts and demonstrations to engage our Canadian spirit and imagination.
   There’s also the Great Hamilton Scavenger Hunt app that’s a “passport to all of the exciting events, festivals, activities and quintessential Hamilton experiences happening throughout the city this summer.”
   It also allows users to earn points, win prizes and explore the city like never before.
   Throughout the summer, there are garden tours at Dundurn National Historic Site (610 York Blvd.).
   There’s also Our Hamilton: Through Their Eyes about the lives of soldiers at the Hamilton Military Museum at Dundurn and the Women of War, July 29 and 30 at HMCS Haida.
   For details on all the events: hamilton.ca/canada150; (905) 546-2489

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