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Monday, September 26, 2011

'A-mazing' events taking place in cornfields across southwestern Ontario

   One-Tank Trip published Sept. 24-25/11

   (c) By Jim Fox

   You will be “a-mazed” by all the fun fall activities cropping up in area cornfields.
   How about a Toyota RAV 4 maze or a rural farm scene etched out in another?
Get lost in the labyrinth of the Toyota RAV 4-themed Norwich Optimist corn maze.
   And, watch out for Billy Bob and Coz Charlie firing up their high-powered cannon that blasts pumpkins across the field.

   This maze will drive you
   Visitors can “spin their wheels” racing around the latest model of the Norwich Optimist club’s corn maze southeast of Woodstock.
   The maze is cut into the shape of Toyota’s RAV 4 compact crossover SUV and “looks amazing,” said the club’s Doug Ellis. Toyota has a nearby plant and is a supporter of the club’s event.
   It covers 10 acres (four hectares) on the Rettie Farm and is open weekends through Oct. 30 (Saturdays, noon to 9 p.m.; Sundays and Thanksgiving Monday, noon to 5 p.m.).
   Haunted Corn Maze Nights on Oct. 22and 29 are for “those brave enough to enter as you never know what might be around the next corner.”
   Trick or Treat Day on Oct. 29 has tours and collecting candy and treats, costume judging and other activities while family movie nights are outdoors on Saturdays this month at dusk.
   There are also duck races, a mini maze, snack shack, playground, corn box and pumpkin bowling.
   Jed, the mini horse, Pete, the pot-bellied pig, sheep Ruby and Snowflake and “all of their friends” are at the petting zoo.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweet! Nectar of the gods' harvest calls for a Niagara celebration

    One-Tank Trip published by Quebecor (Sun Media Newspapers) on Sept. 17/18, 2011

   (c) By Jim Fox

   It’s time to raise a glass to celebrate the vintage harvest of the "nectar of the gods" in Ontario wine country.
   The province has four “viticultural” or wine regions -- the Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore, Pelee Island and Prince Edward County -- but Niagara draws the crowds at this time of year.
Visitors try their hand at harvesting grapes at Chateau des Charmes winery at Niagara-on-the-Lake.  (Jim Fox photo)
   That’s when about 200,000 people gather in this picturesque area to join in a 10-day celebration of the grape in this 60th-anniversary year of the Niagara Wine Festival on now through Sept. 25.
   It appears the weather “gods” have come through, providing what is needed for what looks to be a banner year and outstanding vintage, said Kimberly Hundertmark, festival executive director.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Doors Open events invite visitors to explore power, environmental issues

   One-Tank Trip published Sept. 10/11, 2011

   (c) By Jim Fox

  Ever wondered about those wind turbines swirling along the shores of Lake Erie or what goes on inside a nuclear generating station?
The Erie Shores Wind Farm is a featured stop for Doors Open East Elgin.

  Doors Open Ontario provides an insight into power that’s blowing in the wind at the East Elgin event on Sept. 24 and the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station on Oct. 1.
   Environmentalists can check out a house renovated for “sustainable living” in Kitchener and see the operation of a hazardous waste, recyclable materials and reusable goods centre in Mississauga.
   Doors Open is the Ontario Heritage Trust program giving people to take a peek behind often-closed doors to “discover the province's hidden heritage treasures,” said publicist Liane Nowosielski.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ontario day trips to wind up summer; culinary adventures for fall

   One-Tank Trip published on Sept. 3/4 2011

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Looking for that last-minute, day trip on the last long weekend of the summer?
   Then check out these suggestions just in from Ontario Tourism along with some culinary getaways for later.

   Happening now
   - Canada’s Largest Ribfest – Burlington, through Monday from 11 a.m., with tasty ribs, entertainment and fun for the family.
“Canada’s Largest Ribfest” in Burlington will attract 140,000 people through Monday for a lip-smacking time at Spencer Smith Park on Lake Ontario.
   This event is huge, attracting about 140,000 people, and lip-smacking good as it marks its 16th year at Spencer Smith Park on Lake Ontario. Last year’s “People’s Choice” winner was the Boss Hogs from London.
Ribfest draws the crowds.
   - 87th Annual Homecoming Celebration – North Buxton, through Monday. This Underground Railroad settlement in Chatham-Kent celebrates its heritage with a dance, car show, food and lots of children’s activities.
   - Bayfest – Port Rowan/Long Point, through Sunday, is a family festival on the Lake Erie shoreline with a midway, fireworks, live entertainment and lots of fun.