One-Tank Trip for Jan. 6-18
(c) By Jim Fox
Escape the cold, wintry weather with a trip to the “tropics” not far from home.
Head for the Toronto International Boat Show that organizers say “marks the unofficial kick-off to summer.”
Another option is the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory where the heat and humidity are cranked up to suit the critters’ needs.
|The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is a tranquil place with waterfalls, streams, flora and fauna. (Jim Fox photo)|
In fact, it’s being called a “cheap trip to the tropics” by the conservatory’s Doug Wilson.
You can “get your feet wet” at the Toronto International Boat Show that marks its 60th year from Jan. 12 to 21 at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, (100 Princes’ Blvd.).
“This is North America’s largest indoor boat show, with recreational boating consistently ranking at the top of the list for Canadians as a favourite pastime,” said show publicist Tran Nguyen.
Lots of toys
|Boat show goers have fun on the “world’s largest indoor lake.”|
There are lots of grown-up water toys and is where the “world’s largest indoor lake” has been created.
The boat count so far is 1,200 vessels and watercraft of all sizes on display and 550 exhibitors.
“There’s something for everyone from wakeboarding lessons, canoe and kayaking boat rides to fishing demos, seminars and even a live trout pond for kids to get hooked on fishing,” Nguyen said.
New are stand-up paddleboard polo demos and the World Championship Indoor Sea Flea Races (single-person DIY hydroplane boats) that zip across the lake.
|Baywatch star Brenda Lowe will be demonstrating paddle boarding at the show.|
Celebrity guests include Baywatch and Survivor reality star Brenda Lowe, who will be demonstrating paddle boarding.
Doctors, nurses and volunteer crew from Mercy Ships Canada, an international charity that operates the world’s largest, volunteer-run floating hospital ship, will be there to discuss their humanitarian work in the developing world.
Summer lake activities
Get into the swim of things with free activities from pedal boat, kayak and canoe rides to lessons for fun on the water.
“Pro-wakeboarders and water-skiers put on a spectacular show, wowing spectators with their gravity defying stunts and amped-up production.”
|Twiggy, the water skiing squirrel, is making waves at the Toronto boat show.|
Twiggy, the water skiing squirrel, is back to take spins around the lake to promote water safety and the importance of wearing life jackets.
For anyone new to boating, there’s a welcome centre to learn all about it.
It’s also the place to check out new products among thousands of marine accessories at the Mariners Marketplace and decor at Cottage Country.
Boating experts gather at the Boathouse for workshops and there are 250 free seminars.
Show hours are Saturdays (Jan. 13 & 20), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays (Jan. 14 & 21), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; weekdays (Jan. 15-19), 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Preview Day, Jan. 12, is 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For details and ticket prices (including a new $5 admission ticket and free parking on weekday evenings after 4 p.m.): TorontoBoatShow.com; (905) 951-0009
Come out of the cold at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory where things are hot, hot, hot.
|Thousands of rice paper butterflies are featured through this month at the conservatory. (Jim Fox photo)|
They keep it that way and it’s a great spot to spend a few hours with some 2,000 free-flying butterflies in an inviting enclave that’s warm and humid with cascading waterfalls, flora and fauna.
It’s a jungle in there as the lush tropical indoor conservatory has 75 species of plants along with birds, bugs and Cheecho, a fun-loving, green-cheeked parrot native to South America.
Among the flora and fauna are tropical finches, quail and red-eared slider turtles where the temperature ranges from 24C to 28C with high humidity. There’s also a cafe and gift store along with bug collections to view.
It’s at 2500 Kossuth Rd., Cambridge and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Details: cambridgebutterfly.com; (519) 653-1234
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca