Fall in the Blue Mountains


INSIDER Fall 2016 Header
"This video is a compilation of various summer activities that we have visited."
Summer Turns to Fall…
by Gary McWilliams(Festival Nomad)
I can’t believe that the Summer is over and that Fall is upon us once again! I know that the calendar tells us that Summer is over, but so does nature, perhaps in a more profound way! First, daylight is “shrinking”, it’s getting darker in the morning and darker, sooner, in the evening! It’s getting much colder at night! But, the most telling indication, especially in the Blue Mountains, is that the leaves are turning colour! Each day, as I look out my window or take a drive through the country-side, I see the leaves turning from lush “green” to vibrant colours of “red, yellow and orange”. They are turning colour slowly, but I know that as the weather turns colder, the changes will happen more rapidly! I am waiting for the first ‘big blow”. I know that that will change the landscape even more dramatically! The “cavalcade of colours” will quickly change to a “dull” brown! Will I be “sad”? Perhaps for a little while, but I then I consider of what is coming, the “bright” glitter of freshly fallen snow. The Blue Mountains are like that, ever changing to the whims of nature, season upon season, from one glorious image to another! No, never “sad” for long! Welcome to my “paradise”!
Fall 2016 Photo 1
"Fall in the Blue Mountains"
Accommodation Rates…
Kevin Stuart
by Kevin Stuart (Festival Nomad Correspondent)

Deciding to take a vacation, during the summer, seems like joining the crowd of families with a limited window of opportunity for getting away before school beckons once more.  Since I have a son in school and a wife who is a teacher that is especially true for us. Now let’s be clear – I completely understand the concept of supply and demand as it applies to time of year to travel. Nonetheless, I particularly noticed quite a spike when we decided to take a trip to one of central Ontario’s prime tourist attractions.  For us the drive is a few hours away, making overnight accommodation more or less a necessity.

As with many things nowadays, on line is a quick and convenient way to track down and book the place that suits your needs and hopefully budget.  It’s also been touted as the way to save a few dollars as opposed to, say, booking directly through the hotel. If you are looking for accommodation during the months of July and August, you’ll want to try to save as many dollars as you can since you’ll want some for spending at the attraction you plan to visit.

The night in question was a Friday of the weekend prior to the long Labour Day weekend. I had taken a preliminary look about a week ahead through the three booking sites I use most often. In fact they are used by many – Booking.com,Trivago and Expedia. We like to have a nice place without being extravagant as we view a motel or hotel as merely a place to sleep. A check on area accommodations for a party consisting of two adults and two children turned up results starting around $230. These were for your regular name hotel chains as well as some independently owned inns. The next available facility that was cheaper was a considerable drop ($100) as it was a completely no-frills motel a little outside the town. It had been fixed up somewhat but still appeared to be a work in progress. The room was clean but small and lean on amounts of soap or cups provided.  It seemed the same people were working there day and night so you probably get the picture.

Fast forward just a couple of weeks. It is now past Labour Day and my curiosity led me to revisit the accommodation picture via the web. I had expected some difference in price but was taken aback at just how pronounced the difference was. Now those same hotels in town were starting around $100 a night. The inn we stayed at was now down to $55. Yes, you read that number correctly. As Labour Day weekend forms the boundary between peak and off season, this represents a difference of 43% between the peak and off rates.

What does all this mean? Essentially you have two options.  A) Make the trip during the peak season because that’s what fits your schedule best or B) Pick a weekend just outside the peak period where the weather would still  be quite favourable. Naturally this restricts the distance you could travel but if it’s not too far it might be worth considering.

In addition to those options are interesting events that the rest of the year has to offer. Fall and spring are particularly busy times for various activities that can provide an affordable outing. In autumn countless fairs dot the provincial landscape. Many offer a variety of activities to satisfy various interests at an affordable cost.

During the spring it’s easy to partake in one of the most Canadian of rites of passage…Maple Syrup Festivals, in the fall, it could a Fall Fair. These also provide an enjoyable outing for all ages at a very reasonable cost.

The Ontario Festivals Visited website is an excellent source for linking to information about fairsfestivals and other attractions in any area you wish for any time of year.


 Fall 2016 Photo 2

"Meaford's Scarecrow Invasion takes place in mid-September to mid-October"


Festival Nomad’s Report…

It’s hard to believe that a whole 3 months have passed since my last report. So much has happened since then. We’ve traveled across southern Ontario to more than 25 communities and events. There were the events we visited ~

  • The FireFit Championships in Wasaga Beach
  • The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Prescott
  • Canal Days in Port Colborne
  • The Buckhorn Fine Art Festival in Buckhorn
  • The Salt Festival in Goderich
  • ARTZscape by the Bay in Sarnia
  • Cruising Lake Rosseau
  • The Rocklyn Fair in Rocklyn
  • The Georgian Bay Apple Trail in The Blue Mountains

And then there were the communities we visited to video our Oh Canada Eh! Games~

  • Almonte
  • Wasaga Beach
  • Tobermory
  • Lions Head
  • Sarnia
  • Gravenhurst
  • Grand Bend
  • Flesherton
  • Durham
  • Hanover
  • Walkerton
  • Mildmay
  • Teeswater
  • Paisley

Yes, we visited a lot of communities and met so many get people. Judi’s (“Scoop” McWilliams) article about the hospitality we experienced follows my report. As I mention above, summer is really over, but there is much more to enjoy this Fall! So, haul out your “warm sweater and long pants” and get ready to visit the cool fresh air that surrounds Fall’s great events… Happy FallHappy Halloween!


"Following the Georgian Bay Apple Trail."




by Judi "Scoop" McWilliams


“New acquaintances, new friendships, new communities, new adventures!”

While we were familiar with some of the venues and communities we visited, many were brand new to us this Past Summer Season.

After many years of writing about, interviewing and talking with “Volunteers” and “Organizers” of the great festivals, events, and actives across the Province, this year proved to be an overwhelming exceptional experience.

It seemed everywhere we traveled, we felt not just “welcomed”, but “at home”! In the City of Port Colborne, for example, the organizers and volunteers went out of their way to accommodate Gary and me. A quick “golf cart drive” to the amazing Canal Marine Heritage Days venue to watch the “Kite Flying” demonstrations and activities and then to a refreshing break at City Hall to “recharge our batteries” (both electronic and ourselves)!

It wasn’t just the organizers and volunteers in Port Colborne, but the residents who waved and welcomed us as we strolled the streets. #PORTicipate really does exist in the City of Port Colborne!

At the Lang Pioneer Village MuseumsDominion Day” Celebrations, it was “just like home” with warm welcomes from our friends and long-time acquaintances. Most refreshing were the families who played our “Oh Canada Eh! Game”! It was great to see families “get excited about Canadian and local History”!

While visiting the Buckhorn Fine Art Festival at the Buckhorn Community Centre, volunteers really went out of their way to make us feel welcome. The most interesting stories were shared in the “volunteer rest station”. The “history” and long-time generations of the Volunteers in Buckhorn truly evokes its fabulous “community spirit”.

At ARTZscape by the Bay in Sarnia, the entire community welcomed us. From the moment we “parked our car”, to the amazing impromptu interview (stay tuned to THE INSIDE SCOOP for upcoming YouTube Video article) with Pathways Health Centre for Children Executive Directory, Jenny Greensmith, to the Waterscape Scenic Boat Tour with volunteer and organizer Sandi Grimshaw’s husband and team member Bob and their Sarnia Marina friends, Bob and Heather. The generosity of this experience did not end after our amazing Boat ride …we were also treated to dinner in-the-park at the Volunteer & Artist Appreciation Dinner. Here we mingled with artists and artisans and enjoyed a great “home cooked” meal. 

Many of the “warm welcomes” came from the Residents and Merchants of the communities we visited. It was an extremely refreshing experience!

These are just a few of the many extraordinary “encounters” we experienced across the Province this summer. We felt privileged to hear their “stories”, share the Volunteers’ “experiences” and now share this with you, our Visitors.

Fall is another time to share, experience, discover and explore! We hope to see you out there!


Fall 2016 Photo 5

"On the left, I am standing with Michelle Cuthbert and Port Colborne Mayor, John Maloney and on the right photo, I am with Jenny Greensmith and Tracy Drysdale."




In 2007 Judi and I began our journey, visiting communities and their events, across Ontario. To date we have visited 100’s of communities, festivals, events, fairs, attractions, museums and “living history” pioneer villages. Our “adventures” are exclusive to Ontario Visited websites. As a result of these “visits”, we have been able to post articles, photos and videos on our Ontario Visited websites. These allow “Visitors” to our websites a unique opportunity to learn more about communities and events they are interested in visiting. Visiting and writing about Ontario communities and their events was just the first unique feature of our websites. Since that first year and the nine that have followed, we have tried to provide more innovated ideas for our web visitors. Here are some of the special features we have created ~

  • Ontario Event News
  • Oh Canada Eh! Game
  • Ontario Visited websites (Festivals, Fairs, Communities, Heritage, Attractions, War of 1812 Celebrations)
  • Video Adventures
  • Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Instagram)
  • Ontario Visited INSIDER e-Newsletter
  • The Inside Scoop Blog
  • Ontario Event Directory

We have been enjoyed sharing our “adventures” with you and look forward to posting many more! We are very proud to be able to offer our unique "Visitor Experiences" to the “hundreds of thousand of festival and event visitors” who have discovered us each year. We hope that you and your family and friends “Catch the Buzz” (#CatchTheBuzz)... PASS IT ON!


"#CatchTheBuzz! PASS IT ON!"

The Adventures of the Festival Nomad…

A number of years ago I created a Blog entitled "The Adventures of the Festival Nomad". The following is one of articles I wrote. We had just visited an exciting War of 1812 Re-enactment.

“Bury All Your Horses…”

When I was a kid, traveling distances with my family, we use to play all sorts of games to pass time. These days the kids play with video games, watch DVD’s or listen to their iPod, but back in my day we only had each other for entertainment! My Mom and Dad had a number of games they used to use to keep us occupied and make the journey seem shorter! Some of the games we played included: “I spy with my little eye something that begins with…”,I packed my bag and in it I put…” and “Name that tune…”. Perhaps my favourite was “Bury all your horses…”. This is a game where you find and count all the horses you see on your side of the car. The object is to see who has counted the most horses at the end of the game! One catch! If a cemetery is passed on your side and the other players see it and call out “Bury all your horses!!” you lose the count and have to start all over again. A tricky game, but a lot of fun. Judi and I play variation where you can only lose 10 horses at a time! Speaking of Judi and games, she tells me that when she and her sisters where kids they use to play board games to reduce the monotony of long drives. One game in particular that they use to play was “Clue”. It seems incredible that Judi was able to win (or lose) at will!! I told how great that was until she told me that she use to mark the Clue cards and knew right from the start of the game who the murderer was, what room and with what weapon!! I don’t think her sisters or parents knew until later in life! With all the long distances we drive today, we still use games to pass the time! However, I refuse to play, with Judi, anything involving cards!

UPDATE (2016)…

Recently my daughter and granddaughter visited us in the Blue Mountains. While they were here we decided to take a drive in the country. As the drive progressed, my daughter and granddaughter decided to “teach” us a new “car driving” game! What a mistake! I’ll tell you why shortly. The object of the game is to spot specific types of cars and then yell out something about them. Here are some examples… If you spot a “Jeep”, you’ve got to call our “JEEP…JEEP”. If you spot a “Yellow” car, you yell out “YELLOW-BELLY”. For “VW Beetles”, it’s something like “BEACH BUGGIES”. There’s more, but I think you get the picture. So here’s the BAD part! Now, every time Judi and I go for a drive (and it’s lot), the game begins with “GAME ON”! I don’t mind playing, but Judi is VERY competitive and likes to make up new “RULES” as we go along. Believe me, it can become very confusing! Judi probably won’t agree, but right now I think we are about even about with the spottings!!

It’s no longer “Bury all your horse, but… GAME ON!”  


Fall 2016 Photo 6

"Horses are more FUN!"