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Celebrating Canada Day

Visiting Communities across Ontario on Canada Day started, for Judi and me, after we had visited a number of Cobourg’s Canada Day Celebrations. Almost 25 years ago Cobourg incorporated their Canada Day Celebrations with their popular Cobourg Waterfront Festival.

Our first official Canada Day Tour included visiting 3 Northumberland County communities, BrightonCampbellford, and Hastings. Each community presented their Canada Day Celebrations differently. The Brighton Celebrations were held in the local park and included exhibits, food vendors and activities for the kids. Campbellford, which had their Celebrations on the Park that runs alongside the Trent Canal.  The event included speeches from various dignitaries and then presented a giant Canada Day Birthday Cake! Our last stop was in Hastings. The Celebrations took place on the banks of the Trent River. A band was preforming Canada Day music in the town’s park Gazebo.

Our second Canada Day Tour took us to Prince Edward County and the Village of Wellington. Wellington really know how to throw a party and their Canada Day Celebrations were fantastic! The Village streets were lined with people decked out in Canada Day Flags and Red and White clothing. The streets and stores also contained Canada Day fun colourful displays. Both Judi and I were very impressed both by the quality and quantity of the participants of the Parade! After the Parade we made our way to one of the local Churches for their Strawberry Social.

Our third Canada Day Celebration Tour was in Ottawa. We were invited by the Minister of Heritage to attend the Official Ottawa Canada Day ceremonies. They were spectacular to say the least. We welcome you to check out our articles (Daytime LINK) (Evening LINK). See below for our Daytime Canada Day You Tube video to experience these wonderful Celebrations.

Our fourth Canada Day Tour took us to the Village of Bath. This is a community of staunch “Loyalists”. Their celebrations are considered one of the best Loyalist Celebrations in Ontario.

Our fifth Canada Day Tour will be right here in Thornbury. We have discovered that Thornbury and Clarksburg celebrate Canada Day as one community. The morning Canada Day Parade starts in downtown Clarksburg and then heads down to the Thornbury Harbourfront! Believe me, this is quite a lengthy trip! Once the Clarksburg-Thornbury celebrations wind-up (about 2pm), everyone (well a lot of people) head to the Village at Blue Mountain for further celebrations and a fireworks display. We’ll let you know all about it later!

We hope this Canada Day you take the opportunity to visit your community, along with your family, friends, and neighbours and enjoy them as much as we have.  

"Play the 'Oh Canada Eh! Game'!"  


Oh Canada Eh! Game Answers…

Last month we started to play the Oh Canada Eh! Game. Since then 6 Questions about Canada have been asked. The following are the Questions with the Answers.

  1. June 1st, 2015~
    QUESTION: “Which Provincial capital was once known as Wascana – Cree for ‘pile of bones’?” 
    ANSWER: “Regina
  2. June 8th, 2015~
  3. QUESTION: “What’s Canada’s highest mountain and where is it located?
    ANSWER: “Mount Logan, Yukon Territory
  4. June 15th, 2015~
    QUESTION: “Name all 5 Great Lakes and which one is not connected to Canada?
    ANSWER: “Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario. Lake Michigan is not connected to Canada.
  5. June 22nd, 2015~
    QUESTION: “In the 1950’s, what waterway was built to connect the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean?
    ANSWER“St. Lawrence Seaway
  6. June 29th, 2015~
    QUESTION: “Canada has two houses of Parliament. Can you name them?
    ANSWER: “House of Commons and the Senate

To begin the month of July, and to celebrate Canada’s Birthday(July 1st), below is a “Celebrate Canada” BONUS question! I’m sure that you’ll know the answer. I’ll let you know the answer to this question and to all the July 2015 questions in our August 2015 INSIDER Newsletter.

  "Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada."

Festival Nomad’s Report…

Our June travels started out in “style”! Last month you might recall that I took and preliminary trip to the Village of Creemore! It was a fabulous trip! “Lucy”, our GPS Navigator, took me on a 1 ½ trip through up and down beautiful country-side landscape. I had an amazing time and wanted to share my experience with Judi. June 1st was a clear sunny day, so we decided to try replicate my wonderful trip to Creemore. After all, we did have “Lucy”! I was sure that “she” and I could retrace my journey. Everything went well at first. I was able to find the road where we would start our travels. This I knew on my own without “Lucy’s” help. We started off, down the road and its steep hill. That’s when the trouble began! The road was torn up and in full construction! “Lucy” never warned us about this! We wound our way through the construction. Then “Lucy” seemed to become confused (or maybe it was me?). She told us that this was the way we should travel. It didn’t sound quite right or look the same as before, but “Lucy” was the “Boss” and knew what was “right” (I thought)! Judi didn’t know any better (she hadn’t taken the trip before), so she was really enjoying the scenery! Roads twisted and turned, went up and down and was all very pleasant. That is until “she” told us to turn “right” and that we had arrived at our “destination”! “Wait a minute”, I said. “We are in the middle of a dead-end road with a forest in front of us!” There was complete silence from “Lucy”. She had reached her “destination” and had “turned off”! Judi on the other hand was “laughing her head off”! She “smugly” said “This doesn’t look like Creemore!” I quietly said “No it isn’t!” We eventually found our way to the Village and Judi and I had a great in Creemore. “Lucy” on the other hand stayed “locked-up” in the car to think over her mistakes. I am pretty sure that she has now learned her lesson. I’m a nice guy and will give “her” another chance!

The month remained fairly quiet until we visited the Village at Blue Mountain for the Salsa at Blue Festival. We arrived early so that we could find a good parking spot. The Village becomes quite crowded in the summer on weekends. All went well, a perfect parking spot; a relaxing morning, soaking up the warmth of the sun, while sitting peacefully by the Village’s pond and a tasty breakfast at the Sunset Grill. Then we went back to our car to gather up our cameras. Judi pulled out our new Sony Action Camera and tried to test it. It wouldn’t work. It had worked fine at home, but not now! We tried to find the problem but nothing worked! Our plan to “super” cover the Festival was “shot down”! Being “festival troopers”, we decided to continue the old fashion way, using only one camera! In the end, it all worked out well. We had a great time listening to the music and watch everyone having a great time dancing to the Salsa rhythms. Fortunately we were able to get some great photos and videos. Once we were back home, we (Judi) was able correct the problem (mine) and we were once again ready to travel.

That occurred a few days later, with a trip to the Midland area. We had visited both Midland and Penetanguishene, but not the other areas close by. Our first stop was Victoria Harbour. This is a quaint Village located on Georgian Bay. We next traveled to Port McNicoll, also located on Georgian Bay. As we passed through the town we come upon the SS Keewatin. The SS Keewatin is a passenger liner that once sailed between Port Arthur / Fort William (now Thunder Bay) on Lake Superior and Port McNicoll on Georgian Bay (Lake Huron) in Ontario, Canada. The Keewatin is now moored in Port McNicoll and attracts visitors from all over. Honey Harbour was our next stop. This is a busy little port community that acts as a gateway to over 30,000 Georgian Bay islands. Our final stop of the day was Port Severn. Port Severn’s Lock 45 is the last lock on the Trent-Severn Waterway before boats enter Georgian Bay. We were fortunate to be there when a good sized trawler passed through the lock. We were able to take some great videos! This July (2015) is Lock 45’s 100th anniversary.

With June over, Judi and I look forward to a busy July. We have several trips planned for the month. We’ll let you know all about them in the August 2015 INSIDER newsletter.

Port Severn Lock 45
"Passing through Lock 45 Port Severn on the Trent-Severn Waterway."

Memories of Summers Past ~ Water

Life By the Water!

By Gary McWilliams

Whenever I think of the summer, I think of water. I know that that might sound strange, but summer and water have always seemed to play a big part of my life.

My first serious encounter with water came when I was a baby (about 1 year old). It happened in Southampton where my parents had their cottage. My mother charged my older sister and brother to look after me. They took me to the beach where they met their friends. To keep me occupied and quiet, they put me in the water. I guess that I must have traveled a little too far and then fell. My brother and sister were too busy with their friends to notice that I was in trouble! Fortunately a neighbour saw my plight and rescued me from my first “swimming lesson”! I don’t think that my mother was very amused!

A few years later, we moved to Thorncrest Village in Etobicoke (now in the western part of Toronto). A new pool and club house were available to Villagers, so my parents signed me up for “real” swimming lessons. This is where I learned how to swim. During those first summers, I became “water baby” as I spent most of my time at or in the pool. At the end of each summer, the Village held an “end of the summer” water sports meet. All of the kids in the Village participated in different water sports. My favourite was water polo but my best events were the swim races. Over the years I was able to win a number of trophies.

I think that my parents tired of driving the long distance (back them) and decided to take the family to a month long vacation at the Matabanick Inn located on Boshkung Lake (Algonquin Highlands). We ended up vacationing there for the next 8 years. During that time I swam like a fish and learned to operate a motor boat. I can remember taking long lone boat rides around Lake Boshkung, exploring the shore and inlets and singing at the top of my voice. I felt the freedom that only happiness can bring!

Eventually my mother and father decided that they wanted to own their own cottage. After much searching, they decided to buy a wonderful cottage on the Lake of Bays. The cottage was located on a beautiful bay near the Village of Baysville (Muskoka). My mother and I would stay there for the whole summer. Once again I was able to boat and swim to my heart’s content. In addition to boating and swimming, I learned how to waterski. Back then I was fearless and loved to slalom ski (made by me). A neighbour had set up a "Slalom Course" and I loved to a weave my way through the series of buoys. I even tried trick “Banana Skis”, but wasn't great at it!

As the year’s passed, Judi and I moved to the Peterborough (Kawarthas) area and purchased a house on the shores of Upper Chemong Lake. Living by the lake, Judi and bought a “speed” boat. Even though I hadn’t slalom skied in years, I decided to try skiing behind my new boat. I even had my old skis. You remember, the ones that I had made when we had our cottage on the Lake of Bays. My friend, Tom McTaggart, was visiting us and offered to drive the boat. After a couple of attempts, I managed to “get up” on one ski. What a feeling of triumph! In time I started to feel “comfortable” on the one ski and started to weave back and forth across the wake of the boat. I was starting to tire, so I decided that I would give Tom and Judi a show! I swung away to the left of the boat and then “dug-in” and swung back across the wake at full speed. I hit the outside wave and flew through the air! Unfortunately I started to lose my balance and ended up “flying” sideways! When I hit the water, I bounced and skipped across the water like a flat stone! Fortunately I was wearing a life belt and Tom and Judi were able to come back to me and haul me out of the water. You would think that they would be quite concerned, but the only thing I heard was a great amount of laughter. To make a long story short, the only thing that I suffered was a few broken ribs and a loss of dignity!

Since then we have always lived near water ~ Port Perry (Lake Scugog), Cobourg (Lake Ontario and Rice Lake) and now, Thornbury (Lake Huron – Georgian Bay). At one time we even stayed own our boat for 7 months. I don’t think that I will ever lose my love for Ontario lakes. Fortunately we have an abundance of them, so our search to experience more will never end!

One my favourite water adventures was our cruise of Lake Muskoka on the Peerless II. Captain Randy Potts, owner of Sunset Cruises, knows the Muskoka Lakes as well as anyone. Taking a cruise with him is like taking a trip through time. Several years ago, when Randy was re-building the Peerless II, I published a Special Ontario Festivals Visited Newsletter ~ “The River Rat – Captain Randy Potts” Click HERE to read this Special Newsletter. 

"Summer Memeories ~ Water"

Judi’s Summer Favourites…

By Judi “Scoop” McWilliams

Water and summer go hand and hand … for many Ontario residents and visitors alike.

My fond summer memories start “at home” with our house being “grand central” for all the neighborhood kids. We ran through the hose for hours on end. We might have been the “popular house” because our mother was a great hostess and supplied all the kids with many glasses of lemonade, cookies and ice-cream treats. As we got older, we “borrowed flowers” from our next door neighbors garden and present her with a beautiful bouquet … this led to many invitations to her huge pool where we spent many hours as well.

Later we ventured to the Port Credit River where a massive willow tree became the favourite place to climb up to the “Tarzan rope”, up the slippery slanted base to the tire and swing out onto the river and “jump in”. We also canoed all the way up to the Mississauga Golf Club and spent many hours collecting lost golf balls and selling them back to the players at 10 cents apiece. That was until one fateful season I saw a massive eel … you have never seem a kid jump so fast back into a canoe! We used to swim the length of the Port Credit River, exhausting but fun. Never too old to learn, we took additional “swimming lessons” to ensure we had the proper skills and some lifesaving skills too.

My “rowing club” attempt lasted only one day … a fateful day when the “expensive” craft smashed into the train track trestle, my coordination wasn’t my best suit. We then took to sailing! Our family had a sailboat that we sailed out of the Port Credit Yacht Harbor for about 10 years. My favourite pass-time was 2 person laser sailing. I loved being so close to the water, embracing the waves, the rolling water, the wind and sun!

There was the year that my sister and I and a friend “borrowed” the family sailboat (at 16 years old) and sailed all the way to Toronto Harbour. Sailing back, the winds stopped. We didn’t know how to read “charts” and somehow got our massive haul 25 foot sailboat “grounded” on the shores at Marie Curtis Park, just down the waterway from our destination. Panic set in, but finally a boat motoring by towed us out and we were able to sail home. We docked the sailboat, ran the length of the marina, out the gate, just in time for our father to drive in the gate entrance … none the ware that we “borrowed” the sailboat for the entire day. I don’t know if our parents ever found out about our “frightening adventure”. I wasn’t going to “tell”. (NOTE: NOT recommended, by any means, for anyone to do that risky adventure, ever!!!).

As teenagers we were fortunate to camp and cottage up at Ahmic Lake near Parry Sound. We spent countless hours fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, camp fires and so much more.

We too were “water babies” our entire lives. Any chance we had, we were in the water!

My final “summer job” as a teenager were cutting grass and looking after our condominium pool. Again, almost the entire summer was spent in the pool, from organizing fundraising “swim-a-thons”, to just hanging out.

There is nothing like water, the wind, the sun, the sound of waves gently coming to shore, or pounding with gushing force. From the small streams and winding rivers, to ponds, open bodies of water, there usually is something for everyone to enjoy. SAFTY FIRST!!! Then fun!



"Judi at work during her summer job?""