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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Niagara sparkles; Hornblower trips delayed and Ontario Parks' dogs

   One-Tank Trip for March 21/20
   (c) By Jim Fox

  They’re hoping to “add a bit of sparkle to the early days of spring” with a rescheduled “festival of fizz” touring event in Niagara wine country.
   Plans for the first Spring Sparkles Festival were all set to go this weekend – before the coronavirus outbreak reared its ugly head. 
   “The Niagara Grape & Wine Festival has been closely monitoring the evolving progress of the coronavirus COVID-19,” said Dorian Anderson, executive director.
  Enjoying the fizz in Niagara.

   It “remains a low-risk event (according to Health Canada assessment tools),” and organizers decided to postpone it until April 18-19 and April 25-26, she said.
   “We will continue to monitor the situation and consult with Niagara Public Health, Health Canada and other event experts daily, and will inform if further postponement or cancellation is required by April 10.”
   The event is similar to its popular Discovery Pass program and celebrates Ontario VQA sparkling wines in the traditional or charmat method of any varietal or style.
   The latter is a sparkling wine-making process that traps bubbles in wine via carbonation in large steel tanks.
   Discovery Passes (costing $45; designated Driver’s Pass, $35) entitle visitors to eight wine and culinary experiences designed by winemakers and chefs to celebrate the flavours of Niagara, Anderson said.
     They are redeemable at 34 participating wineries across Twenty Valley and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Ontario Parks' events continue during March Break

    One-Tank Trip for March 14/20
   By Jim Fox
   With so many events being cancelled over the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, there are some spring things still on at Ontario Parks during March Break.
   “At the current time, the events are still going on,” Connor Oke, marketing intern at Ontario Parks, said at press time on Friday.
   “March Break is a great chance for families to spend time together in nature,” said Jeff Brown of Ontario Parks.
   The provincial parks are hosting events throughout the week “to take advantage of the last bit of winter,” he added.
It will soon be time to get back on the lakes in Ontario Parks. (Jim Fox photo)
    There’s the Maple Syrup Festival at Bronte Creek Provincial Park in Oakville through the break and weekends this month.
   Staff members dress in historical attire and immerse visitors in the history and culture of maple syrup.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

LEGO fascination reflected at Toronto Discovery Centre; step aside kids, dad wants to play

   One-Tank Trip for March 7/20
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Those little interlocking plastic bricks aren’t just for kids to play with anymore.
   LEGO – the legacy of Ole Kirk Christiansen from his Danish carpentry workshop in 1932 – continues as a world-wide sensation.
   These construction toys and related products and services have spawned a massive presence.
   This includes LEGO the TV show, stores, board and video games, films and even Discovery Centres, including one in Toronto, and theme parks around the world.
Nathan Fox, 9, meets some favourite LEGO characters. (Jeff Fox photo)
     The still-growing popularity of LEGO includes adults and some of the centres have special nights just for them to play without kids and master builder classes.
   Keeping up with the trend is the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Everything's coming up roses and more at Canada Blooms; Disney On Ice puts on a frosty show

   One-Tank Trip for Feb.29/20

   (c) By Jim Fox
    Postmedia Network/Sun Media

   There will be many “green thumbs” filling Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto for a taste of spring at Canada Blooms.
  Canada Blooms Flower of the Year is the Sincerity dahlia.
    The expansive annual garden gala from March 13 to 22 has been “inspiring visitors with its creative floral designs, unique seminars, breathtaking gardens and expert advice” for 24 years, publicist Courtney De Caire said.
    Canada Blooms was founded by Landscape Ontario and the Garden Club of Toronto and transforms the Enercare Centre into a colourful, idyllic space for guests to explore, she added.
   This year, designers and landscapers are taking their creations to “new heights,” working within the theme Birds of a Feather.
   “We thought that it would be fun to let our designers get creative and ‘spread their wings’ with this year’s theme,” said Terry Caddo, Canada Blooms executive director.
Inspiring displays and spring aromas fill Canada Blooms.
    As thousands of people flock to the show, they will experience lush gardens and beautiful floral designs.
   Co-located with the National Home Show, it has the largest feature garden in the show’s history.
   It’s the Bienenstock natural playground, a “full sensory experience” with nature and accessible to everyone.