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Thursday, November 29, 2012

“First Light” at Sainte-Marie to enchant visitors with 5,000 candles

(News Release)
A “Top 100” Event in Ontario, Sainte-Marie’s spectacular “First Light” returns for its 13th year the evenings of November 29th, 30th, and December 1st. 

The signature feature of First Light is the illumination of the historic site by candlelight.  The First Light event began at Sainte-Marie 13 years ago with 1,000 candles; this year the number of candles has been increased to 5,000 creating a magical ambience. Attendance at First Light has grown from 1,000 visitors since inception to over 6,000 visitors in 2012.

Michael Bolton, Reba, Gloria Gaynor and more to take the stage at Casino Rama

(News Release)
Announcing the February 2013 concert line-up
Reba to perform in April
RAMA, ON The February 2013 concert line-up includes a special Valentine’s weekend concert performance by chart-topping crooner Michael Bolton, disco diva Gloria Gaynor making her Entertainment Centre debut and the return of the Queen of Country, Reba!

The February 2013 concert line-up features:

Cities in the Sand: 38th annual SSEA presents Urban Life in Ancient Egypt at the ROM

(News Release)

Toronto, Ontario – The Friends of Ancient Egypt at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (SSEA) have partnered once again to present Cities In The Sand, the 38th Annual Symposium featuring the latest academic discoveries from Egypt, with a specific focus on urban life in ancient Egypt.

As part of this event, Egyptologists working directly in the field in Egypt along with other academics are presenting papers on life in towns and cities along the Nile from various periods throughout the country’s long history. Cities in the Sand presentations take place Saturday, December 1, 2012 from 9am to 5pm at the ROM’s Signy & Cléophée Eaton Theatre.

Toronto Zoo Adopt-An-Animal holiday package is here

What's new at the Zoo...

Weekly feature

Our fabulous White Lion Adoption Holiday Package makes gift-giving a breeze and includes
 a beautiful portrait of one of our adorable White lion cubs, "Fluff" the sweet plush lion (keep it 
yourself or give it as part of your gift!), an invitation to the Zoo's Annual "Parent's" Day, and more.

  BONUS FOR 2012 - a chance to win a VIP Behind The Scenes Tour (for you and five guests)
 to meet our white lions and their zoo keeper! 

Click here to purchase your package today. 

Barrie resort enjoying an early ski season due to better than expected snowmaking conditions


BARRIE, ONTARIO, November 29, 2012Horseshoe, a Skyline Resort in Barrie, Ontario is kicking off their 50th ski season this weekend with an unexpected early opening this Saturday, December 1. Two ski runs, Ponytail and Steeplechase, will be open along with 15 km of groomed Nordic trails and 10 km of snowshoe trails.

“Mother Nature has been kind and the conditions have been better than expected for snowmaking, so we’re excited to welcome our ski season guests a bit earlier this year at Horseshoe,” says Sean Billing, General Manager. “We have lots in store to commemorate our 50th anniversary and this is an ideal start. We look forward to making this year the best ski season yet!”

Shaw Festival announces 2013 season

(News Release)
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario -- Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell said the Shaw Festival’s 2013 season introduces new and provocative conversations for its 52nd season. In a playbill rich with culture clashes, magical transformations and dazzling ideas, The Shaw continues its theatrical exploration of the mystery and beauty of contemporary life.

Presented on four distinct stages in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Shaw Festival’s 2013 playbill features ten productions including one of Shaw’s most brilliant plays, a newly commissioned rewrite of one of his later pieces, two Tony Award-winning musicals, the Festival’s first Tom Stoppard play and much more.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Metro Detroit offers incentives for Canadians to stay, shop and save

   One-Tank Trip newspaper/web column
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Eat, shop, stay, play – and start over again.
   That sums up our recent visit to the “Motor City,” otherwise known as Metro Detroit.
   The downtown renewal continues with many new restaurants and bars, “pop-up” shops, hotels, three glitzy casinos and the streets decorated for the “festive” season.
   Last weekend it was all about shopping in the midst of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday when Canadians join in with their U.S. neighbours.
Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, a popular Detroit-area shopping spot for Ontarians, has a Venetian carousel in its food court. (Jim Fox photo)
   Stay, shop, save
   There’s a special incentive to visit this season, said Renee Monforton, public relations director at the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
   Ontario residents can book a room at a Metro Detroit hotel before Dec. 31, register online and get a $50 VISA gift card in return.
   Other incentives are that Detroit is nearby with border crossings at Sarnia and Windsor, there’s a stronger Canadian dollar and lower sales tax at 6 per cent in Michigan (8.5 per cent in Buffalo, N.Y.).
   “We believe that once they experience the plentiful shopping options, variety of hotel accommodations and world-class attractions and restaurants greater Detroit has to offer, they’ll return again and again,” said Larry Alexander, bureau president and CEO.
   For the overnight stay, Canadians can return with $200 in duty-free goods and $800 each for 48 hours and longer (but there’s no “official” exemption of duty or taxes on same-day trips).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Things are heating up in Niagara Falls for the "festive" season

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 17/12
   (c) By Jim Fox

   When the weather cools down, things heat up in Niagara Falls.
   Cool festivals celebrate winter in Niagara, highlighted by an abundance of lights and delicious Icewine.
Enchantment of Disney displays depict old and new classics in Niagara Falls. (Winter Festival of Lights photo)
   “Already known worldwide as a great destination for a summer escape, Niagara is also recognized as a fantastic place to celebrate the best of a truly Canadian winter,” says publicist Stephen Murdoch.

Rant Maggie Rant's 4th annual Christmas Tour Frost & Fire: A Celtic Christmas celebration

(News Release)
Concerts in St. Catharines, Sarnia, Hamilton, London & Stratford
 Stratford, ON (November 18, 2012) Rant Maggie Rant, one of Canada's most exciting Celtic fusion ensembles, hits the road again with their fourth annual Frost & Fire: A Celtic Christmas Celebration tour, delivering a sound as lovely as the hushed winter landscape and as rollicking as a team of horses running away with the sleigh. Their successful 2011 tour drew over 2,200 fans with several sold out shows.

The concert repertoire will include traditional Christmas carols, traditional Celtic tunes, with a couple of fun surprises. In particular, two spirit-raising and dance-inducing instrumentals, perfect for the Christmas night kitchen party.

Trade Black Friday mayhem for "heartwarming" holiday cheer in Hamilton Halton Brant

News Release
Hamilton Halton Brant Region, November 19, 2012 - If crowded mall parking lots, long lineups and uninspired gift choices leave you feeling like you’ve somehow ended up on the naughty list, consider dashing off to Hamilton Halton Brant for a holiday getaway this year.

Stroll charming streets for one-of-a-kind finds
Hamilton Halton Brant’s unique shopping districts are a great destination for those looking for truly unique gifts. Fashionistas will love something under the tree from one of Downtown Oakville’s many stylish clothing boutiques. 

Travel Burlington’s Chocolate Trail and stock up on decadent treats for the chocoholics on your shopping list. There are all sorts of vintage treasures waiting to be discovered in Downtown Paris, including restored antique bicycles, furniture and many other funky retro finds. Foodies will love gourmet gifts from any of the specialty food stores in Downtown Dundas.

Ring in the New Year at Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls, Ont.

Special Guest Performers: Dragonette, Hedley and Nelly Furtado

Niagara Falls, ON – The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC), Entertainment Tonight (ET) Canada and Niagara Falls New Year's Eve event partners are pleased to announce an exciting roster of musical talent for Canada’s largest televised live New Year's Eve celebration. This highly anticipated free show begins at 7:30 p.m. in Queen Victoria Park overlooking mighty Niagara Falls.

Electro-pop trio Dragonette will take the stage, followed by a high-energy performance by multiple JUNO Award-winning Vancouver rock group Hedley. Chart-topping GRAMMY® Award winner Nelly Furtado will keep the crowd dancing as the clock ticks down to midnight. The performers, along with the hosts, will gather onstage to countdown to 2013.

Legendary Grammy winner “Tony Bennett” and Juno award-winning singer “Paul Anka” – live at the Colosseum this February

(News Release)

Caesars Windsor is proud to present the legendary Tony Bennett, live on the Colosseum Stage on Saturday, February 9, at 9pm.

Winner of 17 Grammy Awards and 2 Emmy Awards, Bennett is best known for his pop landmark “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and other timeless classics such as “The Best Is Yet To Come” and “Because of You.”

In addition to his North American touring, Bennett continues to record his popular “Duets” series with today’s hottest music stars. Tickets start at $45 Canadian and go on sale at noon on Saturday, December 1, 2012.

Also this February, Caesars Windsor is proud to present famed singer and songwriter Paul Anka, performing live on Saturday, February 16 at 9pm.

One of the most popular teen idols of the late ‘50s and an accomplished Juno award-winning singer, Anka is known for his hit songs “Diana”, “Lonely Boy”, “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” and “Having my Baby”.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Don't get left out in the cold at Ontario Parks this winter; stay in a yurt or heated cabin

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 10/12
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Consider booking a yurt or heated cabin getaway now or face being left out in the cold this winter at Ontario Parks.
   For those hearty souls looking for a winter escape that doesn’t involve hibernating or migrating, the parks’ roofed accommodation could be the answer.
Wintertime camping is cozy in a heated yurt at Ontario Parks. (Ontario Parks photo)
    “We're seeing more young families who camp in summer at Ontario Parks book winter yurt or cabin adventures especially at parks that have skating, snow tubing and tobogganing,” said Lori Waldbrook, senior marketing specialist.
   This makes it easy for families, couples and groups of friends to visit Ontario’s signature landscapes this winter, she added.

   Get your yurt on
   Traditional yurts originating in the 13th century were portable, bent wood-framed dwellings used by nomads in Central Asia.
   The tent-like structures have been adapted in Canada and the U.S. at ski resorts and campgrounds and are semi-permanent, canvas-covered structures mounted on a wooden deck above ground.
Winter tent-like camping means staying warm and dry inside a heated yurt. (Ontario Parks photo)
   At Ontario Parks, they are ideal in the winter as they have electric or propane heating and lighting, bunk beds, tables, chairs and plywood floors.
   All winter yurts and cabin rentals have heat and electricity and most are accessible by cars.
   Yurts sleep six while cabins accommodate five or more to provide warm, dry winter digs.

   Let the snow fly
   Ontario Parks provides details about three of the seven “dramatically different” provincial parks with winter activities and roofed accommodation.
   First of all is the Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron that has a new camp cabin and deluxe yurt this season.
   These are the latest accommodations to be added at the park west of London, Waldbrook said.
   The park has 12 furnished campsites, each of which has an eight-sided yurt, at the Riverside campground located beside the picturesque Ausable River.
   The yurts are attached to a wheelchair-accessible platform and have bunks for sleeping, table and chairs, electric lighting and a heater. As well, a gas barbecue and picnic shelter is supplied with each facility.
   Pinery’s visitor centre is open most days and guided nature hikes on trails are held on select dates throughout the winter.
   There are 38 kilometres of cross-country ski trails that form a series of loops and in the centre of the park is a heated chalet and toboggan hill.
   Expect to see flocks of black-capped chickadees, red and white breasted nuthatches and the tufted titmouse at Picnic Area 9. Owls also breed in the park in the winter.
   On Family Day Weekend in February, an Owl Prowl is planned while snowshoes and cross-country skis are available for rent and the tobogganing hill is lighted at night.  www.ontarioparks.com/english/pine.html; or www.pinerypark.on.ca
Among the winter activities offered at Ontario Parks is tubing on snow-covered hills. (Ontario Parks photo)
    It’s a howl at Killarney
   Hear the wolves howl at Killarney Provincial Park on the north shore of Georgian Bay.
   “Don’t be surprised if you hear one of the park wolf packs howl at night,” said park superintendent Chuck Miller.
   The forested park in Killarney offers a “ski-in yurt adventure” with sleds available to carry gear to the accommodation located about a half-kilometre from the park gate in the George Lake Campground.
   There are 30 kilometres of groomed classic ski trails in a backcountry wilderness setting and summer portage routes become winter snowshoe trails.
   Some winter activities include the Christmas Bird Count and Activity Day on the Family Day Weekend. www.parkreports.com/parksblog/?p=3065

   Spot a Canada lynx
   A perfect place to spot and photograph the elusive Canadian lynx in the wild is Quetico Provincial Park, west of Thunder Bay.
   That’s because the park’s Dawson Trail Campground is close to an area in the park populated by snowshoe hare, a winter food source for lynx.
   Accommodation is available in one of the campground’s heated yurts easily accessed from Highway 11.
   Skiing and snowshoeing are available on 25 kilometres of groomed trails from the cozy yurt. www.ontarioparks.com/english/quet.html

   Here’s where to order
   Reservations for winter roofed accommodations are now being accepted for stays at seven provincial parks at www.ontarioparks.com/english/reservations.html
   In addition to Pinery, Killarney and Quetico, the parks are Algonquin, MacGregor Point, Silent Lake and Windy Lake.
   Details on the parks with winter activities and fees for yurts ($91.50 a night plus the reservation fee of $9.50 online or $11.25, call centre) and cabins are at www.OntarioParks.com
   There is also a parks locator at www.ontarioparks.com/english/locator.html
   The Ontario Parks’ ski report will be updated as soon as the snow flies at www.parkreports.com/skireport

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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Meet Xenoceratops: Canada’s newest horned dinosaur at the ROM

Ottawa, Canada (November 8, 2012) – Scientists have named a new species of horned dinosaur (ceratopsian) from Alberta, Canada. Xenoceratops foremostensis (Zee‐NO‐Sare‐ah‐tops) was identified from fossils originally collected in 1958.

Approximately 20 feet long and weighing more than 2 tons, the newly identified plant‐eating dinosaur represents the oldest known large‐bodied horned dinosaur from Canada. Research describing the new species is published in the October 2012 issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.

Sheraton Centre Toronto and the Westin Harbour Castle offer Frida and Diego packages


Official Hotel Packages with VIP access “skip the line” tickets!

TORONTO — This fall, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) presents a major survey of masterworks by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, two renowned and prolific early 20th-century painters whose work continues to resonate with viewers around the world.

Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting features more than 80 works on paper and paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and more than 60 photographs of the couple, whose shared passion for each other and Mexico's revolutionary culture during the 1920s and 1930s have made them Mexico's most famous artists.

Starwood hotels in downtown Toronto - the Sheraton Centre Toronto and The Westin Harbour Castle – are two of the official hotel partners of the exhibition. The hotels offer weekday and weekend packages that include two VIP access, ‘skip the line’ exhibition tickets.

Tickets go on sale for 2013 Stratford Festival season

New app lets people purchase directly through Facebook

November 8, 2012… The Stratford Festival’s box office opens to Members on Monday, November 12, at 9 a.m., putting them first in line to purchase tickets for the 2013 season. A special advance online sale to Members will be offered on Sunday, November 11, beginning at noon. Sales to the general public begin January 5, with online advance sales beginning January 4.

This season, the first under Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, features 12 productions and a new initiative to enhance the play-going experience, The Forum, a series of extraordinary events planned around a cluster of themes that run through the playbill. These themes explore the idea of communities, particularly communities divided, and the role of the outsider in society, through such plays as Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Fiddler on the Roof, Othello, Mary Stuart and Tommy. The themes will be explored through interactive discussions, comedy events, music and film.

Christmas and tax-free shopping coming to Woodstock

Woodstock, ON – Finalize your wish list, for on November 17th, Santa is coming to town.

Arriving at the Fairgrounds at 6pm, Santa will take his sleigh along Dundas Street to Vansittart Ave., arriving downtown Woodstock by 7pm. He’s excited about Christmas and he knows you are too.

The jolly man insists that you “dress warmly and bring your festive cheer”.

As well, enjoy tax free shopping downtown Woodstock starting Friday, November 16th with the event “Ding Dong the Tax is Gone”.