Greetings to the many thousands of readers from across Canada and the United States, as well as countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, India, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Romania and the Netherlands.

Total Pageviews

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Head for the blazing fall hills on a bike or hike in Ontario's Lake Country

   One-Tank Trip for Sept. 27/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   It’s time for the “Tour de Fall” as the hills are taking on a vibrant hue of autumn colours across Southern Ontario.
   Just an hour north of Toronto is one of the most picturesque regions for fall touring – Ontario Lake Country on the shores of Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching.
Enjoying a ride in the Copeland Forest at Horseshoe Valley are (from left) Jenna Hunter, Natasha Ilic and guide Sara Archer. (Jim Fox photo)
   It encompasses five distinctive districts: Orillia, Oro-Medonte, Rama, Ramara and Severn.
   “Enjoy the peacefulness away from the busy city life and take in the breathtaking fall colours,” said Jennifer Whitley, country marketing manager.
   A series of “distinctive fall getaways” has been established across the region.
   Newly developed are seven cycling, seven hiking and four driving routes, with many points of interest along the water, including the Trent-Severn Waterway.
   Whether you are looking for a long or short drive, a leisurely stroll or something more involved, an easy trail or an advanced hilly route, there is something for everyone,” Whitley said.

   Head for the hills
   The leaves were just starting to turn colour last week when I joined a mountain bike ride along the scenic and hilly terrain of the Copeland Forest at Horseshoe Valley.
Sara Archer of Ride Guides instructs the group before heading out. (Jim Fox photo)

Fall happenings at Leaping Deer Adventure Farm & Market‏

(News Release)

INGERSOLL, Ontario --The store, bakery, museum and café at Leaping Deer Adventure Farm & Market are open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Leaping Deer gives a ‘HOOT!”  Our corn maze and outdoor adventure farm is open for its 9th season.

Check out our giant ‘OWL’ maze and find out how you can give a HOOT too!!  Maze is during September to November 2 every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

During the month of October come and celebrate during our ‘FALL FUN FESTIVAL’ every Saturday and Sunday. Create your own Creature along with lots of different fall activities for everyone to enjoy.

Get a taste of the fall harvest in the Waterloo Region, including Oktoberfest


WATERLOO REGION, Ont. – Visitors to Waterloo Region can get a delicious taste of the harvest through a variety of culinary events and restaurants that feature local fare.

Located an hour west of Toronto, the Waterloo Region offers a mix of vibrant urban centres and picturesque rural towns surrounded by rich agricultural lands that grow some of the province’s best fresh produce.

“The fall is a fantastic time of year to get out and explore our part of the province,” says Minto Schneider, General Manager of Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation.  “Not only are we blessed with amazing scenery and a rich agricultural tradition, but also we offer all kinds of venues for visitors to enjoy foods produced and harvested right in the region.”

In addition to enjoying the bounty of its agriculture, the harvest season in Waterloo Region is also synonymous with another traditional celebration — Oktoberfest.

The largest festival of its kind in North America, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest runs from October 10-18. The Bavarian-themed festival features 19 “Festhallens” where massive parties take place, a Thanksgiving Day parade and dozens of activities and events for families.

Halloween fun happens at Ontario Parks

(News Release)
Cool Things in Wheatley Provincial Park
One in a light-hearted series of videos on cool things in Ontario Parks. www.OntarioParks.com/coolthings
Added on 12/08/2014

Witches in the woods, skeletons in closets and shivers on the shale. Camper Halloween is back at twelve Ontario Parks this October.
Park staff and the Friends of Ontario Parks are putting the final touches on their spooky night hikes, owl prowls, wolf howls, and more. Many activities are cleverly linked to park and species ecology.
Halloween events have become so popular that campers are encouraged to book their campsites now, if they plan to participate. Below is a sample of this year's events.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Legendary Latin rock band Santana to perform at Seneca Niagara Events Center

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel is excited to announce that Santana will perform at Seneca Niagara Events Center on Saturday, Oct. 11.

The Latin rock band, led by guitar legend Carlos Santana, typically plays at large stadium arenas but will offer fans in Niagara Falls an up-close-and-personal show with just 2,400 seats and views no further than 100 feet from the stage.

Tickets for the show start at $71 at Seneca Casino box offices, Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations or by phone at 800-745-3000. The Seneca Niagara Events Center includes two jumbo-sized high-definition screens on either side of the stage to further add to the excitement.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Doors Open/Culture Days at Fanshawe Pioneer Village

(News Release)

LONDON, ON  -- The Village doors are open and the admission is free from September 27-28 for Doors Open London and Culture Days.

The Pioneer Village Café features a Roast Pork buffet with scalloped potatoes, seasonal vegetables and traditional bread pudding for dessert all weekend long.

Presented in partnership with London Heritage Council and London Arts Council.

Visit our new Spriet Family Visitor Center - open year round!
Don’t miss these upcoming Fall events…

ZZ Top concert postponed at Casino Rama

Originally scheduled for October 3rd, 2014 

Rama, ON Casino Rama regrets to announce that the ZZ Top concert originally scheduled for Friday, October 3rd has been postponed by request of the artist.  The band’s bass-guitarist, Dusty Hill, who, earlier this month injured his hip while on his tour bus, requires some time to recuperate but is expected to make a complete recovery.

The Casino and the artist’s management team are currently working on a rescheduled date for the early spring of 2015.   Once the date has been confirmed we will release it.

The Casino & the artist apologize for any inconvenience this postponement may cause and the members of ZZ Top look forward to returning to perform at Casino Rama in 2015.

Fall is here and the event line up continues at Blue Mountain Village

Blue Mountain Village

Trip Advisor
Contact Us

September 27-28th: Fall Colours Weekend 
The colours are rapidly changing at Blue. Spend the weekend touring the region and if you need some help on where to go, and what to do visit our Fall Colours webpage here>>.

October 4th: RUN Collingwood 
Saturday October 4th is the 2nd annual running of the Collingwood Half Marathon and 10K. This fast course is certified with Athletics Canada and produced many personal bests during the inaugural 2013 event. Fall colours and gently rolling countryside views make the race one of the prettiest in Ontario. Race registration link.

October 5th: CIBC Run for the Cure
cibc run for a cure

Paris Fairgrounds announces "amazing" comedy line-up


September 24, 2014 – Paris, ON – The Paris Agricultural Society is very excited to announce that Yuk Yuk’s International Stand Up comedy Tour is coming to Paris on October 18, 2014.

The two-hour performance features Darren Frost from the hit CBC Show Mr. D, accompanied by the savage wit of Jean Paul and one of Canada’s fastest-rising comedy stars Alex Wood.   The fast paced and uplifting show is sure to delight.

Tickets are only $35/person, $60/couple or a table of eight can be reserved for $200.  Tickets are on sale now at the Paris Fair office, call 519-442-2823 or email info@parisfair.com

Bio’s for the three comedians are listed below.

Red Panda Day at the Toronto Zoo and other happenings

Saturday, September 27, 2014
Red Panda Exhibit, Eurasia*
11:00am to 4:00pm
Did you know the red panda is the original panda and was discovered almost 50 years before the giant panda? Learn all about these amazing and endangered creatures and meet our red pandas! Don't miss a special meet-the-keeper talk plus enrichment feeding at 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm and bid on fun prizes in a panda-themed silent auction.
All proceeds support the Red Panda Network, an organization committed to the conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat.
CLICK HERE to watch as our Red panda Cassie enjoys
some tasty treats to celebrate!  
*Eurasia is closed to visitors, but the Red Panda exhibit is exclusively open from 11:00am to 4:00pm for the event.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Run for your life at Bingemans

KITCHENER, Ont. – The zombies of Bingemans’ Running Dead will once again be stealing the souls of countless participants during the park’s third annual haunted run.

Taking place on Sept. 28th, the interactive zombie obstacle course is a 3km run through the treacherous land of the undead. Runners must protect their soul flags from the hundreds of zombies scattered throughout the run. 
“This is an experience that anyone can take part in – from beginners to experienced runners, we’ve designed the route to be enjoyable for everyone,” said Mark Bingeman, President of Bingemans. “Challenging terrain and obstacles make this experience nothing like the typical marathons and fun runs that most runners are used to trekking through. It’s something completely different and, best of all, its incredibly fun.”

Celebrate all things Horse Country with a weekend of signature events

Press Release - 25 September 2014

The Headwaters Horse County initiative has evolved over the past seven years into a collaboration of community stakeholders driven to grow, support and advocate for the equine industry in the Headwaters. With over 23,000 horses, over 2,000 horse farms, hundreds of businesses that support horses and their owners and four internationally recognized event facilities, there is no doubt that the sector is vital to the local economy.

Headwaters Horse Country is hosting a weekend of events in celebration of the equine sector in the Headwaters. The weekend will include the 2nd Annual Evening of Celebration and the 7th Annual Stable Tour in October.

Ross Millar, Chair of the Headwaters Equine Leadership Group, invites visitors to "Join us for a fabulous evening of equine and community celebration in Headwaters. What a perfect way to end the 2014 show season and continue to focus on 2015, the all-important year of the TO2015 Pan Am Games!"
2nd Annual Evening of Celebration, Presented by Gabriele Group
On October 2nd, 2014, Headwaters Horse Country is hosting an evening of entertainment, culinary delights and all things Horse Country. Visitors to Headwaters Horse Country will treated to some of the finest equestrian talent in the province of Ontario and the world.

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo kicks off 20th year in Toronto

(News Release)

TORONTO – The biggest food and drink event in Canada is back for its 20th anniversary.

Sip and savour international cuisine, exotic delicacies, incredible wines, cutting-edge cocktails, stunning craft beers and so much more at this year’s Gourmet Food & Wine Expo taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Nov. 20-23.

“Every year we try to exceed expectations by sourcing out new exhibitors and offering a better experience. This year we’re very excited about what we have planned,” said Jennifer Campbell, Show Manager of the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo.

“For our 20th anniversary we’re bringing Toronto the best in wine, food, cocktails and craft beer. Plans are well underway for makingthis year’s Expo the most appetizing event Canada has ever seen.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A fun-filled afternoon just for kids in Fergus

      Join us for Culture Day at the Wellington Artists’ Gallery and Art Centre

      Fun Free Art Activities for Kids

               Sunday September 28th
                From 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

 Kids age 10 and up can join a free group art lesson,
There will be face painting for the younger kids. The whole family can participate in
an artistic treasure hunt through our sculpture park, enjoy some lemonade and check
out the beautiful paintings, photographs, weaving, ceramics, mosaics and jewelry
in our gallery.

6142 Wellington Rd 29, Fergus, ON N1M 2W5

Haunted Village Hayrides at Fanshawe Pioneer Village this fall

(News Release)
London, Ontario -  There is a monster in the woods of Upper Canada!   It is almost time for Haunted Village Hayrides!  Book your tickets for the annual haunting of Fanshawe Pioneer Village starting October 17th.

Frankenstein in Upper Canada:  A Play by Jason Rip.  Directed by Sheri Munroe.

After the nameless Monster has destroyed his family and his happiness, Victor Frankenstein pursues his creation North, traversing London township on the way. A bout of illness keeps both scientist and experiment in one place for a time. A missing chapter from Mary Shelley's ground-breaking and terrifying novel!

Performances at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 pm on Thursday and Sunday nights and 7:00, 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights.  Book on-line at www.fanshawepioneervillage.ca.  Advance booking is recommended.

Presented in partnership with Mystery Unlimited and Fanshawe College

Casino Rama wraps up concert season with popular holiday show featuring Mannheim Steamroller

(News Release)

RAMA, ON – Casino Rama is pleased to announce the final concerts of the 2014
concert season, including  a popular holiday performance by the renowned
Mannheim Steamroller featuring Chip Davis. Plus we've got the first concert
of the much anticipated 2015 concert year ready to announce with more shows
coming next month.

The additions to the 2014/15 concert line-up at Casino Rama include:

Fausto Leali & Marcella Bella
Sunday, November 16
Tickets are $30/$40/$55
Together on-stage for the first time, these two Italian superstars will perform 
hits like Leali’s “A chi, mi manchi” and Marcella’s “Montagne verdi, nell'aria”.

Niagara Grape & Wine Festival in full swing

(News Release)

St. Catharines, ON – Join the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival for its 63rd Annual Niagara Wine Festival taking place now through Sept. 28.

Niagara is the proud home of Canada’s largest grape and wine industry and we welcome you to join in the festivities.

The Festival Wine Route programming has two new events: The Shaw Festival Speaker Series and Taste of the Harvest. The ever popular harvest installment of the Discovery Pass is your ticket to eight
incredible wine and culinary experiences at participating wineries along the Niagara Wine Route.

On weekends, two and three the celebration continues in historic downtown St. Catharines where Montebello Park presents six days of incredible live entertainment, seminars and family activities like the Mayor’s Grape Stomp, The Pied Piper Parade and Grapeland. Come and meet the newest Grape and Wine industry mascot as he makes his inaugural appearance.

Trail running at Ontario Parks this fall

(News Release)
Trail running is gaining popularity at Ontario Parks. Softer surfaces minimize the impact on a runner’s joints and back. There are over 1,800 kilometres of park trails to choose from. 
Fall colours are spectacular and many parks offer roofed accommodation. Derrick Spafford runs the trails at Frontenac Provincial Park which has one of the largest trail networks east of the Canadian Rockies.
In this Park Blog, Spafford shares his three favourite Frontenac trails and offers some trail running tips, http://www.parkreports.com/parksblog/?p=6454#more-6454 Five more parks below are located in different Ontario landscapes. Each offers a good selection of trails as well as roofed accommodation. Park trail descriptions are included in "Things to Do" on each park's web page (refer to links below).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Get pampered and spoiled with a truly unique backdrop in Niagara Falls

(News Release)
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Once upon a time … all of your wedding fantasies came true in Canada’s most romantic city.

Every girl dreams of that perfect wedding, where she is pampered and spoiled, as she embarks on a new life. With one of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders providing a unique backdrop, Niagara Falls is the place for a magical wedding that you and your guests won’t soon forget.

Marriott’s wedding specialists will ensure the most important day of your life is absolutely perfect, from preparation through the ceremony and reception and into the honeymoon, the bride and groom will be pampered, refreshed and relaxed on their wedding day.

“Paws awhile” at the 164th Drumbo Fall Fair


Woodstock, ON – Drumbo Fair has something uniquely special for visitors of all ages. On Sunday (Sept. 21) – food lovers can taste “Local Fare at the Fair”. 

This day long popular event features products produced, baked and preserved right here in Oxford County as well as neighbouring townships. Bright Cheese & Butter Mfg Co. Ltd.; Brownsmere Farm – apples; Kingsburgh Apiaries – honey; The Lavender Farm – lavender products; Maple Tap Farm – maple syrup; Prince Greenhouses – “farm produce using organic practices”. 

Products will be available for sampling and sale. Come and learn where your food comes from! Oxford Tourism will be there promoting “Oxfordlicious” – a Farm to Table Celebration.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sending out an SOS from the Grand Lady of the (Muskoka) Lakes

   Out for Sea column for Sept. 20/14

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   They’ve sent out an SOS on behalf of the RMS Segwun, North America’s oldest operating steamship.

   The maritime distress signal is in recognition that the “Grand Lady of the (Muskoka) Lakes” needs some costly tender-loving care.

   The “Royal Mail Ship,” built 127 years ago and the iconic symbol of Muskoka, is in urgent need of remedial work after years at sea.
Passengers wait to board the Segwun for a lunch cruises on Lake Muskoka. (Jim Fox photo)

   As well as routine care, the “immediate need” is to replace the decking under the ship’s wheelhouse, said John Miller of the Muskoka Steamships & Historical Society.

   The membership-based, not-for-profit charity owns the Segwun along with sisters Wenonah II and Wanda III, and operates the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre, all home ported at Gravenhurst Wharf.

   Its beginnings are traced to the Muskoka Lakes Navigation Co. formed in 1866 by A. P. Cockburn that operated the first Muskoka steamship, Wenonah.

   The company had 19 steamers sailing lakes Muskoka, Joseph and Rosseau until 1958 taking people, goods and mail to resorts and cottages.

   Estimated cost of the Segwun project is $125,000 with $50,000 raised so far for the work that must be done before the 2015 sailing season, Miller said.
Funds are being raised to repair the decking under the Segwun’s wheelhouse. (Jim Fox photo)

   Fred Mischler, a master boat builder who has worked on the ship for 35 years, will repair damage to the wheelhouse decking and replace the wood flooring.

   It will ensure Segwun is “preserved in impeccable condition” to continue her popular voyages on the lakes for future generations, Miller said.

Hamilton Comic Con celebrates pop culture and more

(News Release)

Hamilton, ON – Julie Newmar, best-known for her role as Catwoman on the original Batman TV series, will be joined by more than 20 pop culture celebrities when Hamilton Comic Con invades the Hamilton Convention Centre on Saturday, October 4th.

“Our fans spoke, and we listened,” said Chris Dabrowski, Promoter for Hamilton Comic Con.  “Our goal is to create a Comic Con that Hamilton can be proud to call their own.  With doubling the event in size and the list of this year’s star-studded line up, I think we’re well on our way,” he added.

Legends of Wrestling Reunion, “an event within an event”, will also be a part of the second annual Hamilton Comic Con, which drew more than 5,000 people to the convention centre last year.  Wrestling Legends confirmed for the reunion are: Trish Stratus, The Honky Tonk Man, Mean Gene Okerlund and George “The Animal” Steele, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Bushwhacker Luke, Tug boat and more.

Get a taste of the fall harvest in Waterloo Region

(News Release)

WATERLOO REGION, Ont. – As southern Ontario’s summer growing season draws to a close, visitors to Waterloo Region will beable to get a delicious taste of the harvest through a variety of culinary events and restaurants that feature local fare.

Located an hour west of Toronto, the Waterloo Region offers a mix of vibrant urban centres and picturesque rural towns surrounded by rich agricultural lands that grow some of the province’s best fresh produce.

“The fall is a fantastic time of year to get out and explore our part of the province,” says Minto Schneider, General Manager of Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation.  “Not only are we blessed with amazing scenery and a rich agricultural tradition, but also we offer all kinds of venues for visitors to enjoy foods produced and harvested right in the region.”

Friday, September 19, 2014

A country party at the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo

   One-Tank Trip for Sept. 13/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

    Swing your partners as the “square dancing tractor” team and the Canadian Cowgirls show off their precision riding.
   Then our provincial politicians get down and dirty driving farm tractors.
   It’s a whole lot of country when the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo comes to town.
Plowing in various forms highlights the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo.
   The 101st annual show returns to Simcoe County to tiny Ivy, southwest of Barrie, from next Tuesday through Saturday (Sept. 16 to 20).
   The tractor roundup during the opening ceremonies features Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne on a red machine, a blue one suits Progressive Conservative interim leader Jim Wilson while New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath opts for orange.
   This expo is the Olympics of farming, with this year’s theme Good Old Days and Modern New Ways.
   It provides an opportunity for city dwellers to learn more about their rural counterparts and their way of life, organizers say.
   As one of the largest outdoor shows in the country, it features country folk, horses, tractors and exhibitors, “country” music and a “tented city” with some 100,000 visitors expected to attend the five-day show.
   The Ontario Plowmen's Association is hosting the event on Barry and Ivan DeGeer’s farm in partnership with the Essa and District Agricultural Society and its adjacent Agriplex.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New developments in The D as Detroit is on the comeback trail big time

News of new restaurants, hotels, retail and other new developments in Detroit are being announced all the time. From the Riverfront and the Convention Center to Foxtown and Midtown, Detroit is bustling with new activity.

World-Class, Mixed-Use Sports and Entertainment District Coming to Detroit
Olympia Development of Michigan recently announced plans for a sweeping transformation of dozens of underutilized blocks between downtown and midtown Detroit into a world-class Sports and Entertainment District. The District will encompass dozens of blocks along and near Woodward Avenue. Development in the District will be integrated with existing sports and entertainment venues in or adjacent to the space, including the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, MotorCity Casino Hotel, Ford Field, the Detroit Opera House, the Fillmore Detroit and more. The Ilitch organization has expanded its planned investment in the District to now include tens of millions of dollars in new neighborhood public infrastructure improvements such as lighting, sidewalks, green spaces and streets. These investments will occur concurrently with the development of the new District neighborhoods and arena. Groundbreaking is slated for fall of 2014. The project will spur at least $1.8 billion in economic impact for the city, region and state.

The new $450 million, world-class arena built concurrently with the District will be a model of innovation for such a facility in a downtown setting. It will serve not only as a powerful, continual generator of activity, but also as a good urban neighbor. The revolutionary design will focus the arena on its most fundamental elements, while concurrently building and integrating a new, mixed-use neighborhood surrounding it. As the design is scaled and planned to fit with both new and existing development, it will also offer a dynamic urban environment that is uniquely Detroit. The expected completion date is summer 2017.

Culture Days' 5th anniversary weekend kicks off with the TSO and Conduct Us!


TORONTO -- Who hasn’t found themselves dramatically waving their arms in the air while enjoying a classical music recording?

Now for the first time ever in Canada, Culture Days and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) are presenting Conduct Us, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring that musical fantasy to life!

On September 26th, as part of the official Culture Days 5th Anniversary national kick-off, members of the public of all ages will be offered a thrilling chance to step onstage, pick up a baton and chose from one of three scores.

Then, they will each conduct the full orchestra for two minutes alongside Peter Oundjian, esteemed Conductor and TSO Music Director.  The conductors will be randomly chosen on the day of the event at Roy Thomson Hall.