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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

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Just add water: Vintage boat show, steamships and Royal Canadian Navy frigate



   One-Tank Trip for July 1/17


   (c) By Jim Fox

   For some hot fun in the summertime, just add water.
   Classic wooden boats that plied the blue-black waters of the Muskoka Lakes for decades and even a century will be making waves at the 37th annual Vintage Boat Show.
   It happens next Saturday (July 8) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst.
   To celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial, the Antique and Classic Boat Society-Toronto is offering free admission to its popular show of the sleek and classy watercraft.
Cruises on the Segwun and sister steamship Wenonah II leave from Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst. (Jim Fox photo)
   This year’s theme is “Birch Bark to Fibreglass: 150 Years of Boating in Canada” and will feature more than 100 vintage boats.
   There will be exhibits, activities and ceremonies from the Muskoka Discovery Centre, Canadian Canoe Museum and the Chippewas of Rama First Nation marking National Canoe Day.