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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sights, sounds, smells of an authentic German Christmas festival in Kitchener

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 29/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Everything is wunderbar in Kitchener as the Christkindl Market recreates a Christmas tradition dating back 700 years in Germany.
   Since medieval times, towns and cities across Germany come alive with outdoor markets of rustic wooden booths and stalls full of traditional handmade Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers and wooden figurines.
   This scene has been recreated now for 18 years, bringing back “the sights, sounds and smells” of an authentic German Christmas market, said president Astrid Braun.
Christkindl with her two angels and Knecht Ruprect at the Kitchener festival. (Photo: Pirak.com)
    In Kitchener, the oldest and largest German community in Canada, the party takes place outside and inside city hall from Dec. 4 to 7.
   The four-day market is enlivened by a cast of folkloric characters highlighted by Christkindl or “Christ Child, the traditional gift-bringer in Germany” and her two angels.
   There’s also farmhand Knecht Ruprect, a companion of Saint Nicholas, and Klaus Wehrenberg who plays an original hand-cranked street organ accompanied by his friendly (stuffed) monkey.
   Also on Saturday will be an appearance by Haribo Bear (of Gummie Bear fame).
   A candlelight procession “led by Mary, Joseph and their stalwart donkey,” takes place  on the evening of Dec. 4 through Victoria Park and along Gaukel Street to City Hall Square.
   Along the way, the Grand Philharmonic Choir and many carollers are accompanied by the ringing of church bells.
The Christkindl Market takes place at Kitchener City Hall. (Photo: Pirak.com)
    Members of the community re-enact the nativity scene at an outdoor stable that’s part of  the festival.
   Entertainment includes some 27 bands, choirs and dance groups performing on an outdoor stage, ice skating on the city square rink and blacksmiths showing their skills.
   The “cute” wooden huts and indoor booths will have some 70 vendors with traditional handmade Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers, wood carved toys, pyramids, figurines, jewelry and clothing.
   The scene wouldn’t be complete without the aroma of cinnamon, apple fritters, mulled wine and grilled sausages filling the air.
   Vendors are located in huts on the square and inside the rotunda of city hall as well as the second floor.
   Returning is the big "G" Scale Garden Railway display by Jenny and Fred Aldred on the first floor in the Conestoga Room.
Folkloric characters organ grinder Klaus and farmhand Knecht Ruprecht entertain at the Christkindl Market. (Photo: Pirak.com)
    “The traditions of Christkindl are so memorable for each person,” said  publicist Monica Reid.
   “Whether it’s the trains, the apple fritters or the live nativity and hearing all the sounds of Christmas  while enjoying the company of friends and sharing holiday sweets and savories.”

   After party
   New this year is a Christkindl “After Dark” party on Dec. 5 and 6 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
   Presented by the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area, the free event takes place on King Street.
   Organizers say it promises “two nights of awesome” with live music, ice-skating, carolling and hot and cold beverages available at the Schnapps bar.
   There will also be carriage rides visiting some popular spots in the downtown.

   Need to know
   Christkindl Market hours are Dec. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Dec. 6, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. christkindl.ca; (519) 741-2200, Ext. 7387

   Santa on the rails
   All aboard the Port Stanley Terminal Rail’s “Santa Treats” train that chugs through the Elgin County countryside the first three weekends in December.
Santa gets ready to ride the Port Stanley Terminal Rail.
    Enjoy the ride from the warmth of a heated car and “watch the children’s anticipation grow as we near our destination to meet Santa,” said railway president Dan Vernackt.
   The will be live entertainment on some trains and included are treats of hot chocolate, apple cider and mince tarts.
   The train departs and returns to the station in Port Stanley (309 Bridge St.) next to the King George Lift Bridge.
   Fares are $15, adults; $9, children ages two to 14, tax included.
The Santa Treats train chugs through the Elgin County countryside.
   The trips run on Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Riders should allow 20 minutes to park and obtain tickets. pstr.on.ca; 1-877-244-4478


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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mirrorball Champion Alfonso Ribeiro to headline Dancing with the Stars: LIVE! at Caesars Windsor

(News Release)

Season 19 Mirrorball Champion Alfonso Ribeiro To Headline Dancing with the Stars: Live! Tour

Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Emma Slater Join Mark Ballas, Witney Carson, Sasha Farber, Keo Motsepe and Kym Johnson on the 39-City Tour Launching December 27th

Dancing with the Stars, ABC’s leading entertainment show, produced by BBC Worldwide Productions, is bringing a one-of-a-kind touring production to Caesars Windsor for an ALL AGES show at 8 pm on Friday, January 23. It is the first Canadian tour stop to be announced! Tickets start at $25 Canadian and go on sale at noon on Friday, November 14.

Los Angeles, CA (November 26, 2014) – Dancing with the Stars’ newest Mirrorball champion Alfonso Ribeiro announced on last night’s season finale that he will join the upcoming Dancing with the Stars: Live! Tour, joining his partner and pro dancer Witney Carson, who also marked her first win last night.

The exciting finale featured the top three celebrity couples of the season which included previously announced touring dancers Mark Ballas and Valentin Chmerkovskiy and their partners.

Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Emma Slater were also revealed to be joining the North American tour during Monday night’s finals with a dazzling group performance featuring several members of the upcoming Dancing with the Stars: Live! Tour cast including Mark Ballas, Witney Carson, Keo Motsepe and Sasha Farber.

Harbourfront Centre's Natrel Rink is now open in Toronto

 (News Release)

TORONTO, ON -- Harbourfront Centre has opened the Natrel Rink for the 2014/2015 skating season and invites visitors to enjoy free public skating on the city's most scenic rink, now through March 2015.
The Natrel Rink is a unique skating destination, nestled in the heart of Harbourfront Centre's 10-acre site.

Throughout the duration of the winter season, Harbourfront Centre's Natrel Rink will host 11 DJ Skate Nights, a New Year's Eve skating party, the HarbourKIDS Skating Festival and Learn to Skate, which are both generously supported by RBC Learn to Play Project.

Bloor St. Culture Corridor announces new partner: Talisker Players

TORONTO, Canada (November 10, 2014): The Bloor St. Culture Corridor, Toronto's most diverse arts and culture district, is proud to announce a new partner: Talisker Players. 

Talisker Player joins thirteen other partners who together form the Bloor St Culture Corridor. All fourteen of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor partners are world-class arts organizations presenting professional arts and cultural events for the public year-round in destination venues - all located within a block of Bloor, along almost exactly one mile (1.6 kms), between Bathurst and Bay Streets.

The Bloor St. Culture Corridor offers a wide variety of arts genres, from museum experiences to films, art exhibitions to music concerts, and it offers opportunities to experience some of Toronto's cultural diversity, including French, Jewish, Italian, Japanese and Aboriginal arts and culture.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts rings in the holiday season with Cyber Monday sale and instant sweepstakes giveaway

Savings up to 30% at more than 600 participating hotels across The Americas

225 complimentary nights to be awarded in 60 fabulous prize draws during SPG’s 12-hour instant sweepstakes giveaway on Facebook
STAMFORD, Conn. – Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) and its award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) program today announced plans for Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Cyber Monday sale.

The online sale launched November 24th and runs through December 7th featuring discounts up to 30% off regular room rates at more than 600 hotels and resorts throughout North and Latin America giving guests a great opportunity to book holiday stays, winter getaways and spring breaks. Members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program will enjoy an additional 5% savings when booking through the Cyber Monday sale.

SPG’s annual Cyber Monday sale provides exceptional savings for stays between November 24, 2014 and February 1, 2015 at participating hotels and between November 24, 2014 and April 15, 2015 at participating resorts. To browse and book, and for full terms and conditions, please visit www.spg.com/cybermonday starting on November 24th.  

Stratford's all dressed up for the holidays

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 22/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   It’s beginning to look a lot like a “Victorian Christmas” in Stratford.
   The “Festival City” invites visitors for holiday shopping, traditions and fun.
   “As you stroll snow-dusted streets in our heritage downtown, you will be captured by the beauty of cedar-draped shops tied with big bows as lights twinkle in the windows,” Cathy Rehberg of the Stratford Tourism Alliance said, setting the scene.
   The “magic of our Victorian Christmas” includes a wide range of experiences to mark this festive season, she added.
Stratford City Hall takes on a seasonal glow at this time of year.
   It all begins with Santa arriving during the evening Parade of Lights on Sunday (Nov. 23) with his favourite reindeer, Comet.
   The agenda includes carolling at city hall from 4:30 p.m. with free refreshments served by the Optimist Club of Stratford and Tim Hortons.
   The one-hour parade moves along Lakeside Drive with the first float arriving at city hall at 5 p.m.
   Santa and Comet will also be making public appearances on Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and 13 from noon to 4 p.m. at Memorial Gardens, Ontario and Downie streets.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Adopt-an-Animal "Bob the Sloth" holiday package at the Toronto Zoo

This  $100 package features: 

·       A colour portrait of "Bob the Sloth"

·       A beautiful package of four Holiday Note Cards featuring "Bob" enjoying the holiday season
·       An invitation to "Parents" Day, a free day at the Zoo for the animal "parent". (Invitation mailed at a later date).
·       Animal fact sheet and Newsletter
·       Animal "parent's" name on our recognition wall
·       Copy of Collections magazine (sent separately)
·       Partial charitable tax receipt (for the buyer of the gift)
PLUS... and this is the best part-
We will include a coupon entering each animal "parent's" name into our draw for a chance to win a 
Behind-the-scenes Zoo tour, by limousine golf cart, for 4 guests. Tour will feature a one-on-one with
 "Bob" and his zookeeper.
Winner will be notified by e-mail or phone.

Or call at 416-392-9114 to order by phone.

Holiday offer -- VIA Rail travel within Ontario or Québec from just $25

You have until November 23 to take advantage of this offer!

VIA Special Offer
  Travel within Ontario or Québec from just $25!*  
Holiday offer  

This Holiday season, choose VIA. From November 29, 2014, to February 15, 2015, inclusive,* visit family in Ontario or Québec in Economy class starting at only $25 or in Business class starting at only $59.
But hurry—offer ends November 23.

Buy now Share this offer Facebook Twitter
Buy your tickets online or call 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245),
TTY 1 800 268-9503 (hearing impaired).

Enjoy these benefits in the Québec City – Windsor corridor
  *Some conditions apply. Limited number of seats.
†Available on most trains in the Québec City – Windsor corridor. Wi-Fi is also available in the service car of the Ocean train (between Montréal and Halifax).
††In most cases. The Ottawa station is located 6 km away from downtown.


Take the elevator 'home' at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Enjoy unbelievable weekend rates with Fairmont.
Take the Elevator Home
Take the elevator home with Fairmont 
Spice up your weekend with an unforgettable escape this holiday season. Stay at the party a little longer or shop to your heart's content and then relax and take the elevator home.

Call 1 888-270-3350 or make your reservation online.

Weekend rates starting at:
Select a hotel to learn more:
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Fairmont Waterfront
Fairmont Vancouver Airport
Fairmont Pacific Rim

 Brunches, buffets, Holiday Tea and Ice Skating at The Fairmont Empress. It's time to eat, drink and be merry at Fairmont in the Pacific Northwest. Learn More.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Experience Fairmont your way. Enroll into Fairmont President's Club.
Already a member? Sign in to your Fairmont President's Club account.

Stay longer, ski free at Horseshoe Valley Resort; now open for skiing

Horseshoe a Skyline Resort
Best Rate Certificate of Excellence

Call us Toll-Free at: 1-855-923-8072
Night Skiing at Horseshoe Resort  
Stay Longer for Less and Ski for Free

The first fresh snowfall of the season is here and skiiers can finally hit the slopes: opening day is this Saturday, November 22nd! Spend less drive time and more ride time at Horseshoe by staying overnight. Save 50% off your second night and take advantage of the fresh powder with a one day lift ticket for each person staying in your room.

This package includes:
  • Accommodation in a Horseshoe Room
  • Buffet Breakfast
  • One Day Lift Pass per room occupant
From just $159/night for 2. Book this offer for your stay between December 1st - 20th, 2014. Stay longer and experience why you gotta #DoTheShoe!
Family at Horseshoe Horseshoe Room

Recuperate Post-Holidays
Free Ski With Your Stay: Jan. 4th- 8th

Don't let the stress of the holidays catch up with you. Plan to recharge with your family at Horseshoe: home to 29 ski runs, 45 km of cross-country trails, tubing, a Shizen Spa and more.

Stay between January 4th - 8th and receive one free lift ticket per person! From $179/night for 2.
Read More

*Some conditions apply.

$10 for a Mid-Week Stay
When You Buy a 5 Day, 7 Night Pass
The last price break on season passes may have come and gone, but skiing at Horseshoe is now even sweeter with this limited-time ski and stay offer!

Buy your 5 Day, 7 Night season pass by December 12th and receive a voucher for a mid-week room for $10.

Read More
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