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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hit a homerun with a garden show and baseball in St. Marys, Ontario

   One-Tank Trip for May 28/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   St. Marys is the place to take home the sweet and succulent Bonnie Best or Cosmonaut Volkov while not striking out on a fun visit.
   Bonnie and the Cos are two of some 15 varieties of heirloom tomatoes available at the St. Marys Horticultural Society’s Garden Fair on June 4.
   Other varieties with “diverse and crazy names” are Trophy, Bloody Butcher and Indigo Blue Berries, said the society’s Ann Pedley.
   The town, at the junction of the Thames River and Trout Creek southwest of Stratford, is also home to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum.
   There will be a street festival on June 18 along with the 2016 Induction Ceremony at the hall.
Colourful displays of plants, flowers at the St. Marys Horticultural Society’s Garden Fair. (Ann Pedley photo)
   The 19th annual Garden Fair in the picturesque town is held at Milt Dunnell Field, commonly known as “The Flats,” and is where baseball was played as early as 1860.
   As a major society fund-raiser, the fair has more than 20 vendors “with everything from hanging baskets to birdhouses, lots of unique perennials and shrubs and all kinds of garden decor,” Pedley said.
   Master gardeners will be in attendance to answer questions and coconut coir that’s beneficial to replace peat moss in garden beds is available for sale.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Toooot, toooot! Steamboats mark 150 years on Muskoka lakes

   One-Tank Trip for May 21/16
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Steamboat a-comin.'
   American humorist and social observer Mark Twain said it best when he wrote that famous quotation in the book Life on the Mississippi.
   That cry can still be heard in the Muskoka lakes as steamboats have been plying those blue black waters for 150 years this summer.
   It’s the anniversary of the launching of the first Muskoka steamship, Wenonah, in 1866. 
Cruises on the Segwun and sister steamship Wenonah II leave from Muskoka Wharf, Gravenhurst. (Jim Fox photo)
   “This milestone event paved the way for the early settlement of Muskoka and the beginning of the lucrative tourism industry in the region,” said John Miller, president of the Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre.
   This year’s sailing season starts June 11, with limited cruises available beginning May 27.
   The mid-1800s to the 1920s were the heyday of the Muskoka steamships as a means of transportation to and from resorts and cottages.
   The Muskoka Lakes Navigation Company was formed in 1866 by A. P. Cockburn as a business to run the Wenonah.

Enjoy a long weekend at the Toronto Zoo

What better place to kick off the nice weather this long weekend than at the Zoo.
Grab your troop and head to the wildest adventure in Toronto!

Photo Credit: S. Craig, Education, Toronto Zoo
 The Toronto Zoo would like to announce that Ember, a seven year old female Canada lynx, gave birth to two kittens in the Canada Lynx Habitat.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Learn to Camp at Ontario Parks

(News Release)

Register now to join a guided, overnight camping experience at one of eight participating provincial parks. http://www.ontarioparks.com/learntocamp/  
Staff welcome you to the park and teach how to set up a campsite. (Ontario Parks photo)
Over the past five summers, more than 12,000 people have learned to camp at Ontario Parks. Families are welcome. All equipment is provided. Participants need only bring food, bedding and their own personal items. 

Beginning May 21, a new Learn to Camp exhibit and knowledgeable park staff will travel to festivals and events across the GTA and Southern Ontario to share more on this summer's program.
Visit the Learn to Camp Facebook for details on when and where the exhibit will be, https://www.facebook.com/LearnToCamp/.

For information on all Ontario Parks, please see www.OntarioParks.com.

Warblers and Whimbrels Weekend at Presqu’ile – May 21-22

(News Release)

Parula Warbler singing during its stop at Presqu'ile.
 BRIGHTON, Ontario -- The Friends of Presqu’ile Park are pleased to announce that after a very unusual up and down winter and cool April (I saw snow!) that we are finally rounding into a real spring.

And with Spring comes the return of tens of thousands of songbirds and shorebirds that migrate through Presqu’ile Provincial Park on their way north.

These are some of the most beautiful and sought after birds for birdwatchers and we host this special weekend with activities designed to introduce visitors to these birds and the fine art of bird watching.

On both Saturday May 21st and Sunday May 22nd we will start out with an ultra-early bird walk for the ultra-keen at 6:30am from the lighthouse. Want to sleep a bit longer?

From 8am to 10am, knowledgeable staff and volunteers will be available in the lighthouse area, a prime warbler haunt, to point out and discuss these and other migrating birds. Then at 10am a second walk will head out to see what new birds may be moving through.

Beasley Bear to host free Teddy Bear Picnic this weekend on the Toronto islands

Centreville’s the place to be for kids and families this May long weekend

TORONTO, ON – Beasley Bear invites kids, their families and favourite stuffed toys to join him at his annual Teddy Bear Picnic, May 21st-23rd from 11 am-4 pm at Centreville Theme Park on Centre Island!

Kids can meet Beasley Bear and the animals from Far Enough Farm, be thrilled by comedy, music and magic and express their creativity through arts and crafts. 

Doc McStuffins will open her clinic in the park this weekend, so we remind kids to bring their favourite stuffed friends for a checkup and a photo! Elmo and Peppa Pig, as well as Frozen’s Elsa will also be on hand to entertain and delight little visitors and their families.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Feel the warmth at Canadian Appreciation Days in Port Huron and St. Clair County, Michigan

   One-Tank Trip for May 14-16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   It’s nice to be appreciated and Canadians will feel some love on the Victoria Day Weekend across the border in Port Huron and St. Clair County, Mich.
   The businesses and neighbours in the U.S. adjoining Sarnia are rolling out the red, white and blue carpet for visitors during Canadian Appreciation Days.
A lake freighter passes by bicycle art at the Palmer Park Recreation Center in Port Huron.
   The fourth-annual event runs from May 21 to 23 and is ideal for a one-day visit or a weekend getaway.
   “This is a celebration honoring our border friendly neighbours and a thank you for their significant contribution and impact on our local economy,” said David Haynes, Port Huron’s director of planning and community development.
   Canadian visitors contribute $60 million US annually to the local economy, “helping our existing retailers and restaurants to thrive and boosting our ability to attract new business to the region.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

SpringWorks in Stratford presents an indie theatre and arts fest

   One-Tank Trip for May 7/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

  Spring has sprung in the “Festival City” as the curtain rises on not just the Stratford Festival but also SpringWorks, an indie theatre and arts fest.
   The fest, from May 12 to 22 with more than 100 performances and events, will also see an invasion of puppets.
Sarah Argue with the puppets in Animal Adventures.
   Also on May 15 is a “spectacular fantasy fashion show” on Tom Patterson Island, said Cathy Rehberg of the Stratford Tourism Alliance.
    The theatre and arts festival in its sixth season has a line-up of more than 40 artists and companies.
   It features an eclectic mix of theatre, music, dance, poetry and visual art with the Puppet Festival returning on the Victoria Day weekend.
   “I think this will be a very exciting season for our family audiences,” said Eileen Smith, artistic producer.
   SpringWorks also coincides with the opening of Gallery Stratford with programs that include a new poetry slam hosted by playwright Donna-Michelle St. Bernard.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Showing mom some 'love' on Mother's Day

   One-Tank Trip for April 30/16
   (c) By Jim Fox

   The time is fast approaching when it’s incumbent to show mom some special love.
   Mother’s Day is May 8, so “get your game on,” says Helen Lovekin of Ontario Tourism.
   This celebration of mothers everywhere is said to be first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
   In the world according to Wikipedia, Mother’s Day in Canada “typically involves small celebrations and gift-giving to one’s mother, grandmother or other important female figures in one’s family.
   Celebratory practices are similar to those of other western nations while a Quebec tradition is for men to offer roses or other flowers to the women.”
Traditional afternoon teas, such as this Bermuda-style in the Heritage Court at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, are popular with moms. (Jim Fox photo)
    Don’t do as the late Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock suggested and let mother not only stay home to prepare the meal but let her clean up and wash the dishes afterwards – just because she insists and “we wanted just for once to humour her.”